Verification is a review process in which the Office of Student Financial Assistance determines the accuracy of various data elements reported by the student/parent on the student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education selects approximately 30% of all aid applicants for verification. The Catholic University of America selects an additional percentage of first-time undergraduate students for federal and institutional verification. During the verification process the student and parent will be required to submit documentation for the amounts listed (or not listed) on the financial aid application. The verification process ensures that eligible students receive all the financial aid they are entitled to receive and prevents ineligible students from receiving aid they are not entitled to receive.
Typically, students can expect to receive notification that they have been selected for verification within 10-to-14 business days after the Office of Student Financial Assistance receives the student’s FAFSA results from the federal processors. (Note: CUA will not start requesting FAFSA information from the federal processor until February 1st) The Office of Student Financial Assistance will send Missing Information Letters (MIL) to those students who have been selected for verification. The MIL will direct the student to submit several required documents to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Since academic aid years overlap calendar years, please refer to your MIL or online account for the year appropriate forms and documentation needed. They should be completed in their entirety, signed and mailed to our office within 30 days of your notification. You should not submit verification materials unless you receive a request.
Important: Please submit all requested forms and supporting documentation together at the same time. No processing can take place until all documentation is received.
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 or institutional need-based financial aid and the parents of dependent student will not be eligible to receive a PLUS loan.
Students selected for verification will not be packaged for financial aid until the Office of Student Financial Assistance has received all requested required documentation and the verification process has been completed. Depending on the time of year, the verification review process can take up to 20 business days from the time the Office of Student Financial Assistance receives all requested required documents. The process can take longer if additional nonstandard documentation is required. 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 here). It is recommended that federal income tax returns be filed as soon as possible if selected for verification, since no aid or estimates of aid will be offered until the verification process is completed. The following is a list of standard verification documents
NOTE: If you used the IRS Data Retrieval process when completing your FAFSA and if you did not make any changes to that data, then you do not need to submit an IRS Transcript or W2’s, you only need to complete, sign and submit the Verification Worksheet. Please review the Missing Information Letter (MIL) for information specific to your status.Please send all required documentation at the same time as we will not start the verification process until we receive all documentation.
How to Obtain a Free Tax Return Transcript from the IRS
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 can no longer be accepted.
There are two ways to request your Tax Return Transcript: online, or by mail.
Please make sure you request a Tax Return Transcript.
To order online:
· Under the Tools section select "Get Transcript of Your Tax Records"
· Select if you want to receive the transcript online (instant) or by mail (5 to 10 calendar days)
· Provide the requested information (those who request an instant online transcript will be required to create an account)
A tax return transcript can be ordered by mail:
· Complete Form 4506-T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return)
· 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 or parents 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.
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:
1. 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 2014 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 2014.
2. A signed statement by a self-employed individual certifying the amount of the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and taxes paid for tax year 2014.
For an individual who has requested a transcript that lists tax account information for tax year 2014 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.
1. A copy of the letter from the IRS, indicated that you have filed but they are unable to provide a tax return transcript
2. Copy of the return filed (translated into English if a foreign return)*
3. A signed statement certifying the amount of AGI and taxes paid for tax year 2014.
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.
1. A signed statement certifying that you have not filed and are not required to file an income tax return for tax year 2014.
2. The sources of income earned from work as reported on the FAFSA and amounts of income from each source for tax year 2014 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.
Important Deadlines for Submitting Verification Information to receive Federal Loans
January 1, 2015-- FAFSA is available as of January 1 every year. You should complete the FAFSA and submit your results to the Central Processor as quickly as you can to prevent delays in your aid.
November 25, 2015 -- Last day to turn in verification documents for Fall 2015 only loans.
May 1, 2016 -- Last day to turn in verification documents for Fall 2015-Spring 2016 loans or Spring 2016 only loans.
July 17, 2017 -- Last day to turn in verification documents for Fall 2016-Spring 2017-Summer 2017 loans or Spring 2017-Summer 2017 loans or Summer 2017 only loans.