Verification is a review process in which the Financial Aid Office determines the accuracy of various data elements reported by the student on the student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education selects applicants for verification, however The Catholic University of America (CUA) may select additional applications verification. During the verification process the student will be required to submit documentation for the amounts listed (or not listed) on FAFSA. The verification process establishes a student's eligibility for Federal Perkins Loans and Federal-Work Study. The FAFSA information does not determine the amount of Direct Unsubsidized Loans and PLUS Loans for Graduate Students (GradPLUS). The information may be used to determine the amount of need-based scholarships offered by CUA.
Typically, students can expect to Financial Aid Office receives the student's FAFSA results from the federal processor. (Note: CUA will not start requesting FAFSA information from the federal processor until February 1st)
The Financial Aid Office will identify the documents needed for the verification process. These documents should be delivered to the Financial Aid Office within 30 days of notification or two weeks after the start of classes, whichever is later.
Participation in the verification process is not optional. If the student does not submit the requested documentation, the student will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid.
Students selected for verification will not officially be packaged for financial aid until the verification process has been completed. However the Financial Aid Office will be happy to provide an estimate of financial aid based on current information. Unless the student provides requested verification documents more than two weeks after the start of school, the student will not be penalized by the delay in delivery of federal student aid funds.
The verification review process can take up to 10 business days from the time the Financial Aid Office receives all requested required documents. The process can take longer if additional nonstandard documentation is required. This eventuality is very rare. Individuals who have filed extensions or are self-employed and file their taxes later in the year are not excused from the verification process (more information available below). It is recommended that federal income tax returns be filed as soon as possible if selected for verification.
The following is a list of standard verification documents:
- 2014-2015 Federal Verification Worksheet.
- IRS Tax Return Transcript for student and spouse, if the applicant has not used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) or has made changes to the FAFSA income and tax information.
- All W-2's for student and spouse only if the IRS Tax Return Transcript is used. Use of the IRS DRT precludes the need to provide W-2's unless changes have been made to income and tax information.
How to Obtain a Free Tax Return Transcript from the IRS (if needed)
If your FAFSA is selected for verification, and you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval option or you changed the IRS data, you will be required to request a tax return transcript from IRS and submit it to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Personal copies of tax returns are not permitted.
Three ways to request your Tax Return Transcript: by phone, online, or by mail.
Please make sure you request a Tax Return Transcript.
To order by phone:
- Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946, then select the following prompts:
- Option 2 (Personal Income Taxes)
- Option 1 (Tax History)
- Option 2 (Tax Return Transcript)
- Enter and verify Social Security number (if joint return both SSN's required)
- Enter and verify number of street address
- Press 2 for Tax Return Transcript and indicate which year (i.e. 2013)
To order online:
- Go to www.irs.gov, then select the following:
- Click Order a Tax Return or Account Transcript located in the left-hand column
- Click Order a Transcript under Step 3
- Enter your SSN, Date of Birth, Street Address, and Zip Code
- Click Continue
- Select Transcript for Tax Year (i.e. 2013)
- Click Continue
A tax return transcript can be ordered by mail:
- Complete Form 4506-T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return)
- Form 4506-T is available online at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf.
- Mail to the address indicated on the form Your transcript(s) will be mailed within 5 to 10 days from the IRS.
Filing an Amended Return
Students who file an amended return cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval process. Instead, they must request a tax return transcript, but because that document only contains the information on the original return, they must also request a tax account transcript, which contains only the data that was altered. Both documents together can then be used to complete verification. If the tax filer chooses to order them on paper, she must use IRS Form 4506-T rather than Form 4506T-EZ.
Income Information for Tax Filers with Special Circumstances
For an individual who is required to file a U.S. income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), we will need:
- A copy of IRS Form 4868, "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return" that the individual filed with the IRS for tax year 2012 or a copy of the IRS's approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time for tax year 2013.
- A signed statement by a self-employed individual certifying the amount of the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and taxes paid for tax year 2013.
For an individual who has requested a transcript that lists tax account information for tax year 2013 and the IRS, a government of a U.S. territory or commonwealth or a foreign central government cannot provide or locate a transcript that lists tax account information.
- A copy of the letter from the IRS, indicated that you have filed but they are unable to provide a tax return transcript
- Copy of the return filed (translated into English if a foreign return)*
- A signed statement certifying the amount of AGI and taxes paid for tax year 2013.
For an individual who has not filed and, under IRS rules or other applicable government agency rules, is not required to file an income tax return.
- A signed statement certifying that you have not filed and are not required to file an income tax return for tax year 2013.
- The sources of income earned from work as reported on the FAFSA and amounts of income from each source for tax year 2013 that is not reported on IRS Form W-2.
*A tax filer who filed an income tax return other that an IRS form, such as a foreign or Puerto Rican tax form, must use the income information (converted to U.S. dollars) from the lines of the relevant income tax return that corresponds most closely to the income information reported on a U.S. income tax return.
Theadline for Submitting Verification Information to receive Federal Loans is September 30, 2014 - (Unless an extension is granted by the Financial Aid Office).