FAFSA Verification

Verification is a quality-assurance measure used by the U.S. Department of Education to verify the accuracy of information submitted by students and families on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All schools that disburse federal Title IV funds (federal student aid) are required to participate in the verification process. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, the Financial Aid Office will provide you with detailed instructions regarding any information that is needed to verify the results of your application for aid.

Why were you selected for verification?

Most often a FAFSA is selected for verification because it contains inconsistent information or the Dept. of Education has identified errors that must be corrected; however, files can also be selected for review at random. Schools may also choose to verify a file if they are presented with conflicting information. Regardless of why a FAFSA is selected, schools are required to verify the accuracy of the information before any financial aid is paid to the student.

Most students selected for verification must provide the following:

  • A Verification Worksheet (see below)
  • Confirmed Federal Income Tax Data (see instructions below)
  • W-2 Earnings Statements (only required for students/parents who are not required to file a tax return)

However, some students will be selected for verification based on specific data elements and may only be asked to provide documentation of:

  • Child support paid
  • SNAP benefits received during the current or previous academic year
  • Receipt of a high school diploma
  • The student's identity and a statement of educational purpose

Students can review any outstanding requirements on MURPHY Online. Financial aid cannot be processed until a student's verification file is complete. To receive maximum consideration for federal and state aid programs such as grants and loans, students must complete verification (if selected) before April 1st.

Verification Forms

2014-2015 Verification Worksheet for Dependent Students
This worksheet should be completed by dependent students who have been selected for the verification process. Dependent students are those who are required to provide parental information when filing their FAFSA.

2014-2015 Verification Worksheet for Independent Students
This worksheet should be completed by independent students who have been selected for the verification process. Independent students are those who are required to provide only student (and spouse, if applicable) information on their FAFSA.

How to Provide Confirmed Tax Data to the Financial Aid Office

The Dept. of Education does not allow schools to use copies of tax returns to verify FAFSA information. In order to verify the tax information reported on the FAFSA, schools must collect tax data that has been confirmed by the IRS. This requirement is waived if the student and/or parent(s) used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when filing the FAFSA on the Web as long as the parent/student did not alter any of the transferred tax data before the FAFSA was submitted.

IRS Data Retrieval (preferred method):

If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you did not use IRS Data Retrieval initially, you may still update the student and/or parent financial information reported on the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Using IRS Data Retrieval will get your confirmed tax data to UST much faster than requesting a tax transcript, but not every taxpayer will be able to use this method.

Taxpayers will not be able to use IRS Data Retrieval if:

  • They owe tax and must "pay in" to the IRS
  • They are married but their filing status is Head of Household
  • Their tax filing status is Married Filing Separately
  • They file a foreign tax return
  • They amended their federal tax return

Requesting a Tax Return Transcript:

If the student and/or parent(s) are not able to use the IRS data retrieval tool to update the FAFSA, they may request a federal income tax return transcript online at www.irs.gov or by calling (800)908-9946. Tax transcripts are not available for 2-3 weeks after a tax return has been filed. If you create an account online you may be able to access your tax transcript immediately and print a copy for your records. Otherwise, it will take approximately 5-10 days from the time the request is made for the transcript to be mailed to you. Once you receive your transcript, either by mail or online, please provide a copy to the Financial Aid Office.