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What is Verification?

Verification is the process of checking the accuracy of information students provide when they apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

Since the effectiveness of the federal student financial aid programs depends on the accuracy of the data students report, schools must verify information provided by students and parents on the FAFSA. The verification of selected applicants applies to the following federal programs: Pell Grant, subsidized Stafford and unsubsidized Stafford loans, Perkins loan, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), College Work Study programs, and all state of Colorado programs.

What If I Have Been Selected?

The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects students who must be verified. At least 30% of all students who apply for financial aid will be selected for the verification process.

Remember - We cannot disburse federal financial aid until the verification process is completed.

Approximately 2-3 weeks, after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). If you completed the paper FAFSA application, it will take approximately 4-5 weeks. The SAR will reflect the information you provided on the FAFSA. Your SAR may also tell you that you have been selected for verification.

If you are selected, you will need to submit certain financial documents to the Financial Aid Office, as well as a Verification Worksheet that we will provide. The documents will vary, depending on your status as an independent or dependent student.

All completed, required and accurate verification documentation must be submitted by the priority deadline of June 1st to guarantee completion of verification prior to the start of the fall semester. Any incomplete documentation submitted by the priority deadline may prevent verification from being completed prior to the start of the fall semester. Any documentation submitted after June 1st will still be processed but verification may not be completed prior to the start of the fall semester. Thus, the student's account will be liable for any and all fees accrued.

The required documents are listed in your PAWS account. You can find the corresponding documents on the Forms sections of the Financial Aid website.

We consider the SAR to be your notification of verification.

We consider the SAR to be your notification of verification. We also send out a notification from our office. This will detail the required documents and include the Verification Worksheet.

Is My Information Correct?

After reviewing your documents, if we find no errors on your SAR, there will be no changes to the award letter you have received.

What If Corrections Need To Be Made?

After reviewing your documents, if we find errors your SAR is electronically sent to the federal processor for corrections. The federal processor will then electronically return your corrected information to our financial aid office.

You will receive a corrected SAR electronically or in the mail, and if there are no further changes, the verification process is finished. Your award letter may be adjusted due to the changes on your FAFSA that reflect your corrected eligibility.

What Happens if Verification is not Completed?

If you do not submit the required documents for verification, you are not eligible to receive financial aid. Remember when you are selected for verification, the federal government requires you to submit requested documentation to the financial aid office.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool/ Tax Return Transcripts

Financial Aid will only accept tax return information directly from the Internal Revenue Service. We CANNOT accept individual taxpayer copies of Federal Tax Returns or that of a paid tax preparer. The instructions below apply to each parent/stepparent included in the household listed on the student's FAFSA. There are two ways to submit tax information to Colorado State University-Pueblo:

IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) available on the student FAFSA under the tax information section.

Students/parent(s/) stepparent who have filed their current year taxes will be given the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the financial information portion of their student's FAFSA application. This option is available approximately 2-3 weeks after electronically filing Federal Income Tax returns and 8 weeks after mailing Federal Income Tax returns.

  • Must have a valid FSA ID when completing the FAFSA.
  • Must have valid Social Security Number(s).
  • Must have filed a current year Federal Income Tax Return electronically 2-3 weeks prior to filling out the FAFSA or 8-11 weeks if Federal Income Tax Returns were mailed, prior to filling out the FAFSA.
  • Must have an unchanged marital status as of December 31, of the previous year.

Official Tax Return Transcripts.

If student/ parent(s)/stepparent did not or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer Federal Tax Return information to the student FAFSA, they will need to obtain an official Federal Income Tax Return Transcript from the IRS and submit it to our office.

Tax filers can request Federal Tax Return Transcript information free of charge by:

  • Logging onto the IRS website service Get Transcript. Click on the "Get Transcript by Mail"
  • Telephone request by calling 1-800-908-9946
  • Completing a paper request form using IRS Form 4506

Note on Tax Extensions: If the student or parent(s)/stepparent filed a Federal Tax Return extension:

  • A copy of parent(s)/stepparent current year IRS Form 4868, "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns". It must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service, and,
  • Copies of parent(s)/stepparent current tax year IRS W-2 forms from each place of employment. If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of each individual's approximate earnings for the current tax year.
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