​Verification of FAFSA

Login and print your verification worksheet

View this video for assistance with IRS Data Retrieval provided by UC Santa Barbara>
 
Verification is a process used to review information submitted through the FAFSA to ensure that it was completed accurately. Some students are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education while others are selected by the school.  
 

Why was your FAFSA selected to be verified? 

 
There are several possibilities for your FAFSA being selected for verification.  Keep in mind that other possibilities exist, but the following are the most common reasons: 
 
  • When completing your FAFSA you were not eligible, did not use the IRS-Data Retrieval Tool process, or you did but then subsequently changed the data
  • Your FAFSA has incomplete data
  • Your FAFSA includes estimated information
  • Random selection 
 
The verification process ensures that the FAFSA is complete and accurate and allows those students who are eligible to receive the aid for which they are entitled.  Because there are certain deadlines, it is important that the verification process be completed in a timely manner.  Failure to complete verification of your FAFSA will prevent you from receiving a financial aid award. 
 

What needs to be done after your FAFSA has been selected for verification?

 
Upon notification that your FAFSA has been selected for verification, simply download and print the verification worksheet that was sent to you via email.  Students that are unable to access this form online may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid by email (finaid@uwsp.edu) or by telephone at 715-346-4771 for options that may better meet their needs.  Next, students will need to collect copies of documents requested by our office.  These documents may include federal tax return transcripts and/or the Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement(s). The type of documents required will vary from student to student and not all students whose FAFSA is selected for verification will have to submit the same documents.  Please make every attempt to complete this process in a timely manner to ensure that you receive the best possible financial aid package based on your eligibility.
 

Since most financial aid applicants can readily access IRS data through the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Tool process, the federal government no longer considers it reasonable to accept anything less reliable than direct IRS-supplied evidence for verification of income data. Therefore, an applicant selected for verification that did not successfully transfer their information from the IRS, or who transferred the data but then changed it, must provide an official IRS federal tax return transcript.

What happens if there are discrepancies between the FAFSA application and the requested documentation?

After you submit all required documents, our financial aid office will compare them with your Student Aid Report (SAR).  If errors are found, corrections will be made by our office based on the documentation you provided to us.  If the errors result in a change in the amount of financial aid that you were awarded, our office will notify you with a revised award showing the changes made. 

What if I did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option when I completed my FAFSA or I did but then changed the data?

You may go back to the online FAFSA and utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option to satisfy the federal tax document requirement;
 
  -OR- 

Get Transcript of Your Tax Records online free of charge or by calling 800-908-9946 and following the prompts in the recorded message, or by completing and mailing an IRS form requesting a transcript.
  
IRS forms that can be used to order federal tax return transcript(s) or federal tax account transcripts:
 
Form 4506-T : Use Form 4506-T to order a tax return transcript free of charge.
 
Form 4506:   Use Form 4506 to order a complete copy of your federal tax forms.  A $57 fee is associated with a request for each tax return requested. 
 
 
We will need a federal tax return transcript to complete the verification process. If you filed an amended federal tax return, please contact our office; additional forms are required for this.  

Where do I need to sign?

Please include all required signatures where requested.  Failure to sign where required will delay processing of your financial aid award.  If you are a dependent student, make sure your parent also signs where requested. 

What happens after all my documentation and signatures are submitted?

Once you have successfully submitted all required documentation and signatures, the data you provided will be verified for accuracy.  This process can take up to three weeks but possibly longer if reviewed during periods of high volume.  Should any discrepancies exist, corrections will be made and your financial aid award will be based upon this corrected information. 
 

Tips for Completing the FAFSA & Verification Process

 
Please read each question on the FAFSA carefully and answer accurately.  After completing the FAFSA and each subsequent correction to the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Federal Processor.  READ every SAR entirely, especially the comments section.  The SAR will notify you if your application has been selected for Verification.  If selected, please submit all documents as soon as possible to the UW-Stevens Point Office of Student Financial Aid.  Any discrepancy must be verified by our office per federal guidelines.  This will slow down the processing of your application for financial aid.  The verification process can take up to several weeks for completion.  Your patience is appreciated.  Below are some tips and information that can be helpful through the process of completing the FAFSA and the verification process (if selected).
 
Information & Tips 
 
Applicants that are selected for verification include a very high percentage that have not filled out the FAFSA correctly. Due to this, when completing your FAFSA, be sure to follow the instructions given and review your information for accuracy before submitting it. 
   
You must use the name printed on your current Social Security Card on the FAFSA. 
  
Read each line item on the FAFSA carefully, especially when answering questions concerning household size, number in college, asset information, and marital status.  It is strongly encouraged to have applicants and if applicable, their parents, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option when completing the FAFSA. 
 

When submitting verification documents to our office, be sure all documents requiring a signature are signed, all worksheets are fully completed (include numerical value or if zero, write zero, do not leave answers blank), and student’s name and ID # are on every document.  Submit copies, and keep originals for your own personal records.
  
 
Initial Verification Documentation:
  
  • Verification Worksheet:
    • Complete entire worksheet.
    • Please read Household Information instructions very carefully.  The most common mistakes on the FAFSA and Verification Worksheets are made when determining and reporting household size and number in college.
    • Dependent Verification Worksheet (DVF) should be completed and signed by the student and parent.
    • Independent Verification Worksheet (IVF) should be completed and signed by the student.
  •  Federal Tax Returns:
    • Since most financial aid applicants can readily access IRS data through the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Tool process, the federal government no longer considers it reasonable to accept anything less reliable than direct IRS-supplied evidence for verification of income.  Therefore, an applicant selected for verification that did not successfully transfer their information from the IRS, or who transferred the information but then changed it, must provide official IRS transcript(s) of their Federal income tax information. 
    • You may obtain a free transcript on the IRS.gov website (www.irs.gov) by clicking on ORDER A TRANSCRIPT under the Online Services Option, or by calling 800-908-9946 and following the prompts in the recorded message, or by completing and mailing a request for a transcript. Incorrectly filed tax transcripts may result in the need for amending them and submitting a Tax "Account" Transcript in addition to a Tax "Return" Transcript.

 

If you and/or your parent(s) will not file a federal income tax return, you will be asked to verify this on the applicable Verification Worksheet. Get Transcript


Many times the documentation we receive is not complete.  Once reviewed, it may be determined that additional information is required to complete verification.  If this is requested of you, please provide it as soon as possible as we process all paperwork in date of receipt order which would delay your aid.
  

 

Tips for Determining Household Size When Completing the FAFSA

 
Independent Students:
 
  • Only include you, your spouse (if legally married), your legal dependents, and others for whom you provide MORE than 50% of their support.
  • If you are separated or divorced, DO NOT include your spouse or any of their information (wages/income, tax paid, etc.).
   
Dependent Students:
 
  • If your parents are divorced, use the household information for the parent with whom you lived with the most.  If that is 50/50, then use the household information of the parent who provides MORE than 50% of your support when filling out the FAFSA.  The parent who claims you as a dependent on their taxes has absolutely nothing to do with which household you report.
  • If you live with both parents equally and they provide equal financial support, then it is the parent who provides your health insurance whose household information you must report.
  • If the parent whose household you report is remarried, you must include the step-parent and their tax information as well.  If the parent lives with a boyfriend/girlfriend, that person cannot be included in the household since they are not legally married.   

Will being selected for verification prevent my aid from disbursing?

Your financial aid cannot be disbursed to your university account until you have submitted all requested documents and the information has been verified by the Office of Student Financial Aid, and the Department of Education has received and accepted any changes to the original FAFSA information. 
 

How can I be considered to receive the maximum amount of aid each year?

Financial aid packages are based upon many factors, including financial need, available funding, federal and state regulations, and UWSP policies.  However, there are ways you can help yourself get access to the most aid possible.
   
In order to maximize your financial aid:
Complete your taxes as quickly as possible.
  • File your FAFSA each year before our March 15 priority date and utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if eligible to do so.
  • Upon notification of your selection for verification, immediately submit all requested documentation to our office for review.
  • Be sure all documents you submit to our office are signed.
  • Be sure your name and Student ID number are on all documents you submit.
  • Keep legible photocopies of all information you submit.
  • Submit documents by fax to 715-346-3526 or through regular mail to: 2100 Main Street, Student Services Center Room 106, Stevens Point, WI, 54481
  • If you need copies of your IRS tax return transcripts, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 or ORDER A TRANSCRIPT free of charge.
  • For returning students, regularly check your UWSP email account.  All requests for information and changes to your financial aid package will be communicated via UWSP email.
  • For new students, regularly check the permanent email account you reported on your FAFSA.  Information regarding your financial aid will be sent to you via that address until you are assigned a UWSP email account.  Upon receiving your UWSP email account, notifications will be sent there. 
  • Regularly check your financial aid status at your UWSP myPoint account. 
 
Avoid these common mistakes:       
  • Forgetting to complete your FAFSA by the priority date of March 15.
  • Assuming you’ve submitted your FAFSA without double-checking is risky.  Be sure to sign the online form with your PIN (parents too if applicable!).  Ensure that your FAFSA has been submitted successfully via the confirmation page.  Once you receive the link to your Student Aid Report (SAR), verify that the information is correct and check your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • Delays in submitting verification documents can be costly, because many forms of aid have limited funding and are awarded on a first come, first served basis.  By the time your verification is completed, our office may have run out of some types of aid.
  • If you submit incomplete or illegible documents, you will be asked to submit acceptable forms.  This will cause delays in processing your aid.
  • Sending copies of income tax forms with information covered up by another form will result in a delay.  You will be asked to submit a legible form.
  • Submitting documentation not requested by the Office of Student Financial Aid may result in delays in processing your application for aid.
  • Failing to sign your required forms will also result in delays.