FAFSA Verification

All students who file a FAFSA are sent a Student Aid Report (SAR) which will indicate if their FAFSA was selected for verification. The Financial Aid Office will also contact the student to make sure they are aware of any outstanding requirements. Need-based financial aid cannot be processed until verification is complete. To receive maximum consideration for federal and state aid programs such as grants and loans, students must complete verification (if selected) before classes begin.

What is verification?

Verification is a quality-assurance measure used by the U.S. Dept. of Education to verify the accuracy of information reported 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 was I 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 due to:

  1. Incomplete information (fields left blank)
  2. Estimated information
  3. Severe changes in data elements from year to year
  4. Selected at random

Schools may also choose to verify a file if presented with conflicting information. Making unnecessary adjustments to FAFSA data after initial submission may increase the likelihood of being selected for verification.

Regardless of why a FAFSA is selected, no need-based financial aid can be paid to the student until the verification process is complete.

How do I complete verification?

Verification requirements will vary depending on the information identified as inaccurate or inconsistent. However, most applicants selected for verification must provide the following:

  1. A complete and signed verification worksheet; and
  2. Confirmed federal income tax data (tax filers only)

However, some applicants will be selected based on specific data elements and may only need to submit documentation of:

  • Identity
  • Receipt of high school diploma or equivalent

Students can review their specific verification requirements on Murphy Online. To review requirements, students must log in to Murphy Online and:

  1. Select Financial Aid
  2. Select View My Student Requirements
  3. Select the appropriate aid year from the drop-down menu

Where can I find verification worksheets or other forms?

Required verification forms can be accessed through Murphy Online.

Verification worksheets can also be downloaded from our Publications and Forms page.

Students who are required to verify the following must bring applicable documentation to the Financial Aid Office or contact a financial aid staff member if they are not able to present the documentation in-person:

  • Identity and educational purpose
  • Receipt of a high school diploma or equivalent

How do I submit confirmed tax data?

IRS Data Retrieval of tax information through the FAFSA is not available for the foreseeable future. Please use the following method to provide confirmed tax data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

1. Submit a signed photocopy of your 2015 federal tax return:

Students and parents/spouses may submit a photocopy of their filed 2015 federal tax return (i.e. IRS Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) to verify data reported on the 2017-2018 FAFSA. Tax forms submitted for verification must be signed by at least one taxpayer. Electronic signatures are not acceptable. Please photocopy your federal tax return, physically sign it, and send it to our office by mail or fax.

The U.S. Dept. of Education is temporarily allowing schools to accept photocopies of tax forms because the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is currently unavailable. This option may not be available during future academic years.

2. Request a 2015 Tax Return Transcript from the IRS:

A tax return transcript is an official record of the information on your filed federal tax return and is acceptable for verification purposes. Transcripts can be requested online at www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript or by calling 1-800-908-9946.

Tax transcripts must be requested using the name, date of birth, and Social Security Number of the primary taxpayer. The primary taxpayer is the taxpayer whose name is listed first on the federal tax return.

Taxpayers may be able to access a transcript immediately if they set up an online account with the IRS to confirm their identity. Otherwise, transcripts must be mailed and will take at least 10 days to reach the taxpayer's address.

What if I filed an amended tax return?

Taxpayers who filed an amended tax return (Form 1040X) are not eligible to use IRS Data Retrieval to transfer confirmed tax data onto the FAFSA.

To complete the verification process, the student and/or parent who amended their tax return must provide:

  1. A photocopy of the filed amended federal tax return (Form 1040X); and
  2. A copy of their tax return transcript which shows the tax data initially filed with the IRS before any amendment was made.

Any taxpayer may request a tax transcript online or by calling 1-800-908-9946.

I am a victim of identity theft. How can I provide required tax data?

Victims of federal tax-related identity theft must provide a statement signed and dated by the tax filer, which confirms he or she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS is aware of the tax-related identity theft. They must also provide a Tax Return Database View (TRDBV) transcript which is obtained by contacting the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 1-800-908-4490.