Federal Verification

Federal Verification is a review process required by the U.S. Department of Education, which mandates that St. Mary’s confirm the accuracy and completeness of the information  provided on a FAFSA and confirms your eligibility to receive financial assistance.

Each year, about one in three students will be selected to complete the verification process.

There are several reasons why people are selected for Federal Verification:

  • there are inconsistencies and/or potential errors on the FAFSA,
  • they are randomly selected, or
  • the school finds conflicting information on the FAFSA.

Information That is Verified

Schools are required to verify the following information:

  • Household size (number of people in your household)
  • Number enrolled in college (number of household members attending a post-secondary institution at least half-time)
  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) or income earned from work if income is below the minimum required for income tax filing
  • U.S. income tax paid for the base year
  • Child support paid for the base year
  • Receipt of food stamps/SNAP benefits for base year
  • Certain untaxed income and benefits for base year such as; child support received, interest on tax free bonds, and/or other untaxed income from the U.S. income tax return (excluding schedules)
  • High school completion status
  • Identity and Statement of Educational Purpose

What To Do If You Are Selected

If selected for Federal Verification, you are required to complete the requested information from our office.  If we must verify you and/or your parent’s federal tax information, this will be completed by using the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) process.

To submit and transfer your completed tax information to the FAFSA form, we recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT); again this process is accessed through your FAFSA form on www.fafsa.gov. Using this tool will reduce processing delays.

You will be unable to use IRS Data Retrieval Tool if:

  • Your marital status changed after December 31, 2013
  • You filed an amended return (See Tax Transcript below)
  • You filed married filing separately
  • You filed a tax return using a Tax ID Number (TIN)
  • You filed a foreign tax return – Submit a signed copy of your return to the financial aid office
  • The home address on the FAFSA does not match the address on the tax return

Tax information electronically filed within the last two weeks or submitted by mail within the last eight weeks may not be available.

If you cannot update your FAFSA using the IRS DRT, you are required to submit an official IRS Tax Return Transcript, (not an Account Transcript) to the Office of Financial Assistance for yourself and your parent(s), if applicable.

You may request a tax return transcript online at www.irs.gov, by phone 800-908-9946 or complete FORM 4506T-EZ and submit to the IRS by mail.

Our office cannot accept a copy of the actual tax return.  It must be the tax return transcript which you request through the IRS if you are unable to complete the IRS DRT process through the FAFSA.

If you filed an amended return:

  • Submit both an IRS Tax Return Transcript and an IRS Tax Account Transcript, OR
  • Submit the Record of Account, (using IRS Form 4506-T), which could take 30 days

Remember to include your student ID number on your tax transcript before you submit it to our office.

How You Know If You Are Selected

If you are required to complete the Federal Verification process, your Student Aid Report (SAR) will indicate you have been selected.  Our office will also send a letter to your permanent mailing address on file. If you are still unsure of your status, please check the Financial Aid Requirements section on Gateway, the student portal.

If you are selected for Federal Verification, you MUST complete this process in order for St. Mary’s to process your FAFSA.

For more information about the Federal Verification process, visit www.fafsa.gov.

Verification Deadline

For the 2014-2015 academic year, you are strongly encouraged to submit all requested documentation by June 1, 2014 in order to receive a timely award with all possible funding.

The verification review process can range from two to six weeks. Submit copies of the requested documentation within 14 days of the request.

The last date to submit verification documents is the last day of the term or your last day of enrollment in the academic year, whichever is earlier.

  • Federal Pell Grant Recipients: The deadline for is 120 days from your last date of enrollment or August 31, whichever comes first. This includes making any necessary corrections to the FAFSA, submitting those corrections to the federal processor, and receiving confirmation in return.
  • Federal Loan Applicants: St. Mary’s requires verification to occur before determining eligibility for student loans. A federal loan application cannot be originated for a period of enrollment that has already passed.
  • Failure to submit all requested documentation will result in the forfeiture of your financial aid eligibility.

After Verification is Complete

If the data reported on your FAFSA is confirmed, the Financial Assistance Office can determine your eligibility for financial aid.

If we find differences between the data reported on your FAFSA and the information that you submitted, we must submit corrections to the Central Processing System (CPS) which will generate a new FAFSA transaction. You can monitor your FAFSA verification status on Gateway.

You will be notified when your award is ready for review on Gateway.