Federal Verification of FAFSA Information
Frequently Asked Questions
What is federal verification?
When students submit a FAFSA, the Central Processing System selects some applications to be verified. Institutions are required to confirm the information reported and may choose additional applications to verify.
How will I know if my FAFSA has been selected for verification?
Students who provide an e-mail address when completing the FAFSA electronically, will receive an e-mail from the processor with an online link to their Student Aid Report (SAR) which will indicate they have been selected. In addition, we will notify students via their Colby e-mail address.
When will I hear from Colby that my FAFSA was selected?
Currently enrolled students can expect to hear from Student Financial Services by May 30th if they were selected by April 30th for the upcoming academic year. Students selected May 1st or later will typically hear from us within 30 business days after we are notified. Students who have been accepted for enrollment in the upcoming year will work with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid until June 30th to complete the verification process. At that time, their files will be transferred to Student Financial Services to resolve any remaining requirements.
What do I have to do to meet this requirement?
This will vary from student to student. We will send instructions to the Colby e-mail address if more information is required; some students may be required to submit additional forms. To verify income, taxfilers must use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA or submit an IRS Tax Transcript. Other documents may also be required in order to verify information.
Is there a deadline for submitting any requested information?
The verification worksheet and/or any additional required information must be submitted within 14 days of our request. If unable to comply, Student Financial Services must be contacted. If the requested information is not received within two weeks, eligibility for federal funds may be lost and will not be replaced by Colby. If a returning student is selected for federal verification prior to the first aid award, we will not calculate the aid eligibility until verification is complete. No financial aid will be disbursed if a student is selected and has not completed the federal verification process. If verification isn’t completed by the student’s last day of classes due to withdrawal or the end of the semester, financial aid may be forfeited.
Do signed copies of the student’s and/or parents’ tax returns and W-2’s need to be submitted to Colby?
Yes. Signed copies of the federal tax returns and W-2’s, along with all other forms and schedules related to the returns, must be submitted to Colby even when the Data Retrieval Tool is used or an IRS Tax Transcript is submitted.
If the IRS DRT wasn’t used when the FAFSA was completed, can it be utilized later?
Yes. Go to studentaid.gov, log in to the student’s FAFSA record, and select “Make FAFSA corrections.” From there, navigate to the Financial Information section of the form and follow instructions to determine if you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. It may take up to two weeks for IRS information to be available for the DRT for electronic filers, and eight weeks for paper filers. After using the tool, do not make corrections to the FAFSA. E-mail [email protected] with the new information.
How do I request an IRS Tax Transcript if I’m not eligible to use the DRT or have difficulty utilizing it?
If students cannot or will not use the IRS Data Retrieva Tool, either at initial FAFSA filing or through the FAFSA on the Web correction process, they must document adjusted gross income, taxes paid, and untaxed income by providing an IRS Tax Return Transcript for the student and spouse or parents, as applicable. Ways to request the IRS transcript are listed below.
- Go to www.irs.gov/transcript for instructions on how to order the IRS Tax Return Transcript, either online or by mail.
- By mailing or faxing the paper Form 4506T-EZ to the IRS, which can be printed from the IRS website.
What if the student and/or parents file an amended tax return?
Students or parents who have filed an amended tax return must notify Colby that they have done so. In addition to a copy of the original tax return required by Colby of all aid applicants, a signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X filed with the IRS must also be submitted to our office to complete federal verification.
If there are any errors, how will the FAFSA be corrected?
When corrections are necessary, Colby will send them to the processor electronically. If there is a change to the expected family contribution and federal aid eligibility, notification will be sent to the student’s Colby e-mail address. An online link will be provided in order to view the Statement of Financial Aid (award letter).
What if someone misreports information or alters documents to fraudulently obtain federal funds?
According to federal regulations, if it is suspected that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain federal funds, those suspicions along with any evidence should be reported to the Office of Inspector General. If this occurs, we will contact one of the regional offices or the National Hotline. Click here for a list of those contacts.