Verification is the process by which the Financial Aid Office validates the accuracy of information reported on a student's FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). During the verification process, Financial Aid staff may request specific documentation to support or clarify information the student and/or parent has reported on the FAFSA.
Selection for verification does not always indicate that information reported on the FAFSA is inconsistent or incorrect. The Department of Education flags some applications for verification. In addition, the school is required to review a certain percentage of student files.
The use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing the FAFSA can reduce the chance that a student's file will be selected for verification.
The FATV video below explains the verification selection process.
If a student is selected for verification, the Financial Aid Office will mail the student a tracking letter requesting documentation of the information reported on the FAFSA. The tracking letter will include a request for specific documents.
A document that is commonly requested during verification is the IRS tax transcript. Effective January 9, 2019, students and parents can submit signed copies of tax return forms (1040's) for verification purposes. Also, students and parents can submit signed statements in place of non-filing letters.
Students who receive a verification tracking letter should submit requested documents as soon as possible to ensure timely processing of their award. Verification forms can be found on the Financial Aid Forms page.
The FATV video below explains what students can expect during the verification process.
Should fraud or abuse be detected or suspected, it will be reported to the Director of Financial Aid. The Director will forward the information to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Education for review and possible investigation.
All credible information indicating that an applicant for federal student aid may have engaged in fraud or other criminal conduct will be provided to the Department of Education. Fraud is an intent to deceive as opposed to a mistake or miscalculation.