On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, the Department of Education (ED) announced that it would be making changes to the verification process for the 2021-2022 award year. These changes are a means to providing relief to students financially challenged by the pandemic and aimed to reduce barriers to enrollment.
Effective July 13, 3021 and the remainder of the 2021-2022 FAFSA processing cycle, ED is waiving the verification requirements for most FAFSA submissions selected for verification. If you have been identified as a student who was selected for verification and have not completed the requirements, you will not have to complete verification and your award for the 2021-2022 year will be updated. If your FAFSA was received in our office by the priority deadline of March 1, 2021 you will be considered on time for awarding purposes. Institutions can still require verification of FAFSA information if needed.
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.
Reasons 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.
What to do if you are selected
If selected for Federal Verification, you are required to submit the Verification Worksheet and your and/or your parents’ federal tax information for the appropriate year. For the 2020-2021 academic year, submit 2018 tax documents. For the 2021-2022 academic year, submit 2019 tax documents.
The following can be submitted as tax documentation:
- IRS Data Retrieval Tool within your FAFSA
- Signed copy of your and/or your parents’ Federal Tax returns and Schedule 1, Schedule 2, and Schedule 3 (if applicable)
- Federal Tax Return Transcript
- Signed foreign tax return
- If you and/or your parents did not file, but did earn income, you will need to submit W2s
- Parents of dependent students and independent students who did not file, must also submit a verification of non-filing from the IRS
If an amended tax return was completed, both the original signed tax return AND the amended return will need to be submitted.
How you know 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 the Federal Student Aid website.
For the 2021-2022 academic year, the deadline to submit all required documentation to receive a timely award with all possible funding is June 1, 2021.
After verification is complete
If the data reported on your FAFSA is confirmed, the Office of Financial Assistance 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 the Department of Education which will provide us with a new FAFSA transaction, extending the verification process by a few days. You can monitor your FAFSA verification status on Gateway. You will be notified when your award is ready for review on Gateway.