About one out of ten students who submit a FAFSA are selected by the U.S. Department of Education for a process called Federal Verification. If you’re selected, we’re here to help.
You may be curious why you were selected. It could be due to incomplete or conflicting information on your FAFSA. Or your FAFSA could have been randomly selected.
Regardless of the reason, the Financial Aid Office must compare FAFSA data with verification information received from students (and parents). We must complete verification before we can process Federal Direct Loans, any federal grants, Federal Work-Study, or private alternative loans. That means no federal aid or private loans will be applied toward your eBill until verification is finalized.
If your FAFSA is selected for Federal Verification, the Financial Aid Office will mail you a detailed letter and Verification Form that explains what you (and your parents) need to do. The verification process is somewhat ‘customized,’ so not all students and parents are required to provide the same information. However, everyone needs to complete and return the Verification Form we mail.
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)
Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on your FAFSA will help simplify the verification process. Students and parents who use the DRT and did not change any of the transferred items will, with very few exceptions, not have to provide us with any financial documents for verification.
IRS Tax Return Documentation
Taxpayers who were unable to use the DRT will, in most cases, need to provide us with signed copies of IRS Tax Return Transcripts ordered directly from the IRS. Learn how to request a Tax Return Transcript.
Wage earners who don’t need to submit IRS tax returns will need to provide us with
- copies of all of their W-2 Forms for the calendar year stated on their Verification Form, and
- a Verification of Non-filing Letter, which you must request from the IRS (not needed for 'dependent' students who are required to have parental information on their FAFSA)
Once we have everything we need from you (and your parents), we’ll compare your FAFSA data with verification information received. If needed, we will adjust your FAFSA information. In some cases, we may require additional information. Please respond quickly to prevent delays in processing your financial aid.
If your FAFSA is chosen for verification, promptly providing us with all of the information we request and, if eligible, using the DRT, will allow us to complete your verification more quickly. Note that students accepted for Fall semester can check on their verification status by late November by accessing their applicant dashboard. Returning students view their FAFSA status using the 'View Financial Aid Information' section of SIS.
PHEAA has a similar, but separate review for Pennsylvania State Grant recipients called Validation. If you receive an email or letter from PHEAA describing the Validation process, you will need to submit to PHEAA the financial documents it requests, even if you have previously sent us documents for Federal Verification.