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Your application may be selected for review in a process called “verification.” In this process, we will be comparing information you and/or your parent(s) provided on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy. If you have been selected for verification, you may be wondering why and what you should do next. Most importantly, don’t be upset because you were selected for verification. This process is required by the federal government, and we often identify errors that actually result in an increase to your eligibility for federal aid.
What is Verification?
Federal regulations require colleges/schools to check the accuracy of the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This process is referred to as "verification". If selected, the verification process must be completed before financial aid can be awarded or disbursed. Please do not submit any documentation unless requested by the Financial Aid Office.
Why is my file being verified?
Files are selected for verification for a number of reasons including:
- You did not use (or are not eligible to use) the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA.
- You used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool but changed some of the data on the FAFSA.
- You were selected randomly by the Federal Government
- The submitted FAFSA application has estimated, incomplete or contradictory data.
- You have requested reconsideration of your FAFSA based on significant recent changes to your financial situation.
What do I need to do now?
If you have been selected for verification, we will require you to provide certain documentation as soon as possible. Freshmen students will receive a letter from Marywood University’s Financial Aid Office with specific instructions on the documentation we will need. Returning students will receive an email with instructions.
Documents could possibly include the following:
- a verification worksheet, signed by both parent and student
- a Federal Tax Return Transcript from the IRS for both student and parent (if both filed taxes)
OR confirmation that you completed the IRS Data Retrieval when completing the FAFSA
- other information regarding citizenship, marital status, income verification, household size, etc.
To allow our staff time to review information efficiently, please avoid calling to confirm receipt of faxes or other information. You may confirm our receipt of your documents by checking the Communications tab in your MarywoodYou Student Portal. Verifications are typically processed within 15 business days of the date that all required documentation is received.
What if there are discrepancies between my original FAFSA and the verification documents?
You may be asked to provide additional forms or documentation. You will receive either an email or a letter from the Financial Aid Office if additional documentation is needed. After all required documents have been received and compared to your FAFSA, we will make any corrections necessary.
Because verification must be completed before financial aid can be awarded or disbursed to you, it is vital to send accurate and complete information as quickly as possible.
Tax Transcript or IRS Data Retrieval?
We highly recommend you use the IRS Data Retrieval option on the FAFSA if you are eligible. Obtaining a Federal Tax Transcript from the IRS can cause significant delays. Instructions for obtaining a tax return transcript are below.
Federal guidelines allow us to substitute the IRS Data Retrieval process for a tax transcript in many cases. Data Retrieval will simplify the verification process by reducing the number of documents you need to submit to our office and will speed up the verification of your FAFSA. However, students who use the IRS Data Retrieval and subsequently make changes to the data on the FAFSA must still submit a tax transcript. If you use the IRS Data Retrieval, you should not change any of the data which is pulled from the IRS and input on your aid application.
How Do I Use IRS Data Retrieval?
If you were selected for verification, your first step should be to log back into your FAFSA and use the IRS Data Retrieval option if you are eligible. Then you should submit your verification worksheet and any other items which we have requested from you. If you are not eligible or choose not to use IRS data retrieval, then you will be required to submit a Tax Transcript.
If you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval tool when completing the FAFSA, we encourage you to do so now to speed the verification process:
- Log into www.fafsa.gov
- Select Make FAFSA Corrections and navigate to the financial data section
- Follow the instructions to determine if you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval
- Link to IRS website and transfer financial data to your FAFSA
- Make sure to submit corrections made by clicking the sign and submit button
When Will Data Be Available From the IRS?
- Electronic Tax Filers - Data will be available within 2 weeks of filing
- Paper Tax Filers - Data will be available within 6-8 weeks of filing
Please note that if a tax payment is due to the IRS when an individual files their 2014 tax return and has not paid in full; the IRS will not process the return until May. A Tax Return Transcript or IRS DRT will not available until 2-3 weeks after the return has been processed in May.
If I am not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, how do I obtain a tax transcript from the IRS?
Do not request to have your transcripts sent directly to our office - they must be sent to you. When you receive the tax transcript, please include the student’s Marywood University ID number and name before sending to our office. There are a number of ways to obtain a copy of your Federal Tax Transcript from the IRS, but there may be significant delays involved so please plan ahead.
There are limited circumstances of when an individual is unable to obtain a Tax Return Transcript or use IRS DRT. Cases when an individual can submit other documentation in lieu of a Tax Return Transcript or IRS DRT.