Verification is a federal regulation that requires the Office of College Aid to collect documents which confirm the accuracy of the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Starting with the 2013-14 academic year, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) has implemented a customized approach to verification. This means that you may only be required to provide documentation for specific data elements. Therefore, the documentation required may vary from student to student. Here are some commonly asked questions about verification.
I am a recently admitted student. How do I know if I have been selected for verification and what information will I be expected to provide?
The Office of College Aid will contact you via email after May 1st with detailed instructions on the specific documentation you will be required to provide. Because required documentation may vary from student to student, the Office of College Aid will provide you with a customized verification worksheet depending on the data fields the Department has selected to be reviewed. You will complete your worksheets through the Financial Portal of your myUChicago account.
Note: Please submit your documentation in a timely fashion because the Office of College Aid cannot begin processing your financial aid application, including Summer Work/Study and Summer Aid applications, until all required verification documents are received.
Why was I selected for verification?
Students are selected randomly by the Department; however, there are other reasons that make some students more prone to being selected. For example, there is conflicting information within your FAFSA or the FAFSA is incomplete. The purpose of verification is not to penalize students but to ensure that accurate information is reported and errors are corrected so that federal aid is awarded appropriately.
Note: If you have previously been selected for verification, you may find that you will be required to submit the same information as in prior years.
I am an independent student and my FAFSA record was selected for verification. The worksheets provided on this website are only for dependent students. Where can I find the appropriate worksheet for me?
The Office of College Aid will send you an email message which will provide you with instructions and your verification worksheet. If you have trouble locating this email, please contact the office at 773-702-8666 or 773-702-8655. You may also stop by the office to pick up a copy located in Walker 309.
What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)?
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is an easy way for parents and students to auto-fill the FAFSA with their officially filed tax information. If you and/or your parents have already submitted the 2016 federal income tax return(s) when you first file the FAFSA, you will be given the option to retrieve the IRS data using the DRT. If you have not submitted the tax return(s), you will be prompted to check your eligibility for future use. If you indicate that you have filed a federal income tax return when you complete or make corrections to the FAFSA, you will be given a checklist that assesses eligibility to use the DRT. If eligible, you will be prompted to enter your PIN and click the ‘LINK TO IRS‘ button. Similarly, if your parent is eligible to use the DRT, he /she will need his/her PIN to complete the process described above.
I am not and/or my parents are not eligible to use the DRT. How do I request tax return transcripts?
If you do not meet the criteria or chose not to use the DRT, you must submit an official IRS Tax Return Transcript to complete the verification process. You may request your official IRS Tax Return Transcript in one of the following ways:
- Online Request: available on the IRS Web site www.irs.gov
- Telephone Request: available from the IRS by calling 1-800-908-9946
- Paper Request Form: download and submit IRS Form 4506T-EZ
Note: When requesting tax return transcripts from the IRS, you must arrange for them to be sent to you directly as the IRS cannot send this data to a third party.
I received my financial aid decision but later learned that my FAFSA record was selected for verification. What does this mean?
If you are notified that you have been selected for verification after you receive your financial aid award letter, verification must be completed before the Office of College Aid can disburse federal funds and/or allow you to participate in the Federal Work/Study program.
If you have additional questions concerning the verification process, please contact the Office of College Aid. You may also visit us on campus in the Walker Museum, Room 309, 1115 E. 58th Street.