Verification Process

Selected for Verification? Read this for help!

If you are selected for verification, you are not alone! About 30% of all FAFSA filers are selected for the verification process, which requires the school to collect documentation to check the accuracy of the FAFSA information.

The best action you can take to help finish verification is to use the IRS data retrieval process to automatically populate your and your parents' tax information directly from the IRS into your FAFSA!

Once you have filed taxes, you and your parents (if you are a dependent student) should log into your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and make an update to use the IRS data retrieval. This will allow you to link to the IRS from the FAFSA and retrieve the tax information to populate the FAFSA tax questions. When you use the IRS data retrieval, the tax information is considered to be already verified so you will not have to submit any documentation, like tax transcripts, to our office. Much simpler for you! If your AppalNet account shows that we are requesting tax transcripts, this will be removed about 1 to 3 weeks after you correct the FAFSA to use the IRS data retrieval.

There may be other documents that we are requesting (like a Verification Worksheet) that you will still need to complete and submit. Check your AppalNet account to determine if there are other verification documents that are needed.

Some students and/or parents will be ineligible or will choose not to use the IRS data retrieval. In these cases, only the tax return transcript will be accepted as documentation to verify tax information. The tax return transcript must be requested directly from the IRS by calling 1-800-908-9946 or visiting the IRS website. Be sure to request the tax return transcript, and not the tax account transcript. We cannot accept a 1040 form to verify tax information.

Verification Forms

What is Verification?

About 30% of all FAFSA filers are selected for verification, which requires schools to collect documentation to check the accuracy of the FAFSA information. If selected, the verification process must be completed before financial aid can be awarded.

If your FAFSA is selected for verification after you have been awarded, you have 45 days to complete verification. If the process is not complete within the 45 day window, your aid must be cancelled which may result in a balance owed to the university.

When selected for verification the student will be notified by ASU e-mail. The student will be directed to the AppalNet Account to review a list of the documents that must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid before financial aid can be awarded.

The Office of Student Financial Aid may be required to verify the following data elements on your FAFSA:

  • Adjusted Gross Income (parent and student, if the student is dependent)
  • Taxes Paid (parent and student, if the student is dependent)
  • Income Earned from Work (for non-tax filers)
  • Certain Untaxed Income Items (parent and student, if the student is dependent)
  • Household Size
  • Number in College (excluding parents for a dependent student)
  • Receipt of Food Stamps/SNAP Benefit
  • Child Support Paid
  • Any other inconsistent or conflicting information

To verify these elements, we may ask for the following documents; however, this is not a complete list. Specific documents requested will be based on a family's individual case. 

  • The prior year tax transcripts for both parent and student, if the student is dependent OR preferably, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool from your FAFSA
  • A Verification Worksheet (downloadable from this web site)
  • W-2s showing wages (parent and student if the student is dependent)
  • Statement of child support paid
  • Verification of Net Worth
  • Documentation of Food Stamps/SNAP Benefit 

Once verification begins, we may need to ask for additional documentation based on the tax transcript.

Important Note about Verifying Tax Information

Be sure that you have used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which allows you to link to the IRS from the FAFSA and retrieve tax information directly from the IRS to populate the FAFSA tax return questions. Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool simplifies the FAFSA filing and may result in quicker processing of your verification. The documents that we can now accept to verify your tax information have changed based on policy changes from the U.S. Department of Education. Either a tax transcript from the IRS or your FAFSA filed using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool are now the only two ways to verify tax data. If you do not, or cannot, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will be required to obtain a tax transcript from the IRS. If you have filed your taxes with the IRS, you should log into your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and make a correction to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your tax information. If you do this, you will not be required to submit a tax transcript.

To request a tax transcript from the IRS, click here (Link to IRS Tax Return Transcript Process) or call 1-800-908-9946.

Submitting your FAFSA early and completing verification is required before aid can be awarded.

Beginning in mid-February, the Office of Student Financial Aid begins loading new FAFSA's for the upcoming year. During peak processing times, please allow extra time for processing your verification documents. To expedite your financial aid, file your FAFSA as early as possible and send all required documents together at one time. During the verification process, when your file is thoroughly reviewed, it may become necessary to request additional documentation. You will be made aware of these requests through your AppalNet account.

Failure to meet the verification deadlines may result in certain types of aid not being offered. In addition, delays in sending documentation may result in the student not having aid by the time their bills are due each semester. In this case, the student is obligated to pay the account balance on the student account, or their classes could be canceled.

Once verification has been completed students will be notified of an original financial aid award package or changes to a financial aid award package by e-mail. The student will be sent instructions to log into their AppalNet Account to review the original or revised financial aid award package and take any appropriate action as instructed.

Important Tips for Completing the Verification Process

  • Complete all requested forms in full: Do not leave any questions blank. All questions must have an answer even if it is a "0". Be sure all required signatures have been provided.
  • Be sure that you have used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which allows you to link to the IRS from the FAFSA and retrieve tax information directly from the IRS to populate the FAFSA tax return questions. If you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will not have to submit tax transcripts from the IRS. You can log into your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and make a correction to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your tax information.
  • If you do not, or cannot, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you must submit the tax transcript from the IRS. To request a tax transcript from the IRS, click here (link to IRS Tax Return Transcript Process) or call 1-800-908-9946.
  • If you will not and are not required to file taxes, be sure to submit all W-2's to document earnings from work.

Once verification begins, you may be asked to submit additional documentation. If this occurs, an email will be sent to the student's ASU email account and all requested documents can be viewed on the student's AppalNet account.