​Verification of FAFSA


 What is FAFSA Verification?

Federal verification is a process that requires institutions to verify the accuracy of the information provided on a student’s FAFSA in an effort to ensure federal aid is distributed to those who are eligible. If your FAFSA is selected for verification by the U.S.. Department of Education, you are required to provide documentation to the school verifying the information you entered on your FAFSA. After submitting your FAFSA, you will receive an electronic Student Aid Report (SAR), which will have indicated whether your application has been selected for federal verification. In addition, you will receive a notification from our office regarding the required documentation that must be submitted in order to satisfy this federal verification requirement. 

 Why was your FAFSA selected to be verified?

The most common reasons why your FAFSA was selected for verification:   
  • When completing your FAFSA you were not eligible, did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool process, or you did but then subsequently changed the data
  • Your FAFSA has incomplete data
  • Your FAFSA includes estimated information
  • Random selection 

 Is there a deadline to complete the verification process?

Yes! It is a federal regulation that our institution receives the required documentation regarding the verification of a student's FAFSA no later than 120 days after their last date of enrollment for the award year.  Financial aid cannot be awarded after a term for which you are enrolled (and meet all eligibility requirements) has ended. However, in order to receive the best available financial aid for which you are eligible, it is very important for you to submit the required documentation as soon as possible.  Even though you may have submitted all required documentation and signatures to complete verification of your FAFSA, we may not have enough time to process your file and award you aid before the last day of the term. Failure to provide the documentation will prevent a financial aid award from being processed.  Should a student's FAFSA be selected for verification after already receiving an award and the student fails to complete the verification, financial aid will be retracted and the student will be billed. 

 What needs to be done after your FAFSA has been selected for verification?

  • Complete the verification worksheet that was included in your checklist via accesSPoint.  Students who are unable to access this form online may contact the Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services by email (finaid@uwsp.edu) or by telephone at 715-346-4771 for options that may better meet their needs. 
  • Submit copies of documents requested by our office. These documents may include IRS-supplied federal tax return transcript(s) and/or Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement(s). The type of documents required will vary from student to student and not all students whose FAFSA is selected for verification will have to submit the same documents. 
Since most financial aid applicants can readily access IRS data using the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Tool process, the federal government no longer considers it reasonable to accept anything less reliable than direct IRS-supplied tax return transcripts for verification of income.  If an applicant is selected for verification of income information but did not use the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer their information from the IRS, or who transferred the data but then changed it, must submit an official IRS-supplied federal tax return transcript.

 What happens if there are discrepancies between the FAFSA application and the requested documentation?

After you submit all required documents, our financial aid office will compare them with your Student Aid Report (SAR).  If necessary, correction(s) will be made by our office based on the documentation you provided to us.  If correction(s) to a student's FAFSA results in a change in the amount of financial aid that was initially awarded, our office will generate a revised financial aid award. 

 What if I did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option when I completed my FAFSA or I did but then changed the data?

You may go back to the online FAFSA and utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option to satisfy the federal tax document requirement. 

Request an official IRS-supplied Tax Return Transcript online at IRS.gov or call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts in the recorded message, or complete and mail or fax an IRS Form 4506-T to request a transcript free of charge.
We will need a federal tax return transcript to complete the verification process. If you filed an amended federal tax return, please contact our office; additional forms are required for this.  

 Where do I need to sign and date?

Please include all required signatures and dates where requested.  Failure to do so will delay the processing of your financial aid award.  If you are a dependent student, parental signatures and dates are required. If you are a married independent student, your spouse's signatures and dates are required.

 What happens after all my documentation and signatures are submitted?

Once you have successfully submitted all required documentation and signatures, the data you provided will be verified for accuracy.  This process can take up to three weeks but possibly longer if reviewed during periods of high volume.  Should any discrepancies exist, corrections will be made and your financial aid award will be based upon this corrected information.  

 What are some tips for completing the FAFSA & verification process?

Please read each question on the FAFSA carefully and answer accurately.  After completing the FAFSA and each subsequent correction to the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Federal Processor.  READ every SAR entirely, especially the comments section.  The SAR will notify you if your application has been selected for Verification.  If selected, please submit all documents as soon as possible to the UW-Stevens Point Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services.  Any discrepancy must be verified by our office per federal guidelines.  This will slow down the processing of your application for financial aid.  The verification process can take up to several weeks for completion.  Your patience is appreciated.  Below are some tips and information that can be helpful through the process of completing the FAFSA and the verification process (if selected). 
Information & Tips  
Applicants that are selected for verification include a very high percentage that have not filled out the FAFSA correctly. Due to this, when completing your FAFSA, be sure to follow the instructions given and review your information for accuracy before submitting it.    
You must use the name printed on your current Social Security Card on the FAFSA.   
Read each line item on the FAFSA carefully, especially when answering questions concerning household size, number in college, asset information, and marital status.  It is strongly encouraged to have applicants and if applicable, their parents, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool option when completing the FAFSA.  

When submitting verification documents to our office, be sure all documents requiring a signature are signed, all worksheets are fully completed (include numerical value or if zero, write zero, do not leave answers blank), and list student name and ID # on every document.  Submit copies, and keep originals for your own personal records. 



If you and/or your parent(s) will not file a federal income tax return, you will be asked to verify this on the applicable Verification Worksheet. 
Get Transcript

Additional information may be required to complete verification after submission of income information.  If this is requested of you, please provide it as soon as possible as we process all paperwork in date of receipt order which would delay your aid.

 How do I determine the household size when completing the FAFSA?

Independent Students:
  • Include yourself, your spouse (if legally married), your legal dependents, and others for whom you provide MORE than 50% of their support.
Dependent Students:
  • If your parents are divorced, use the household information for the parent with whom you lived with the most.  If that is 50/50, then use the household information of the parent who provides MORE than 50% of your support when filling out the FAFSA.  The parent who claims you as a dependent on their taxes does not matter when determining which household you report.
  • If you live with both parents equally and they provide equal financial support, then it is the parent who provides your health insurance whose household information you must report.
  • If the parent whose household you report is remarried, you must include the step-parent and their tax information as well.  If the parent lives with a boyfriend/girlfriend, that person cannot be included in the household since they are not legally married. 

 Will selection for verification prevent my aid from disbursing?

Financial aid cannot be disbursed until you have submitted all requested documents, the information has been verified by the Office of Financial Aid and Veteran Services, and the Department of Education has received and accepted any changes to the original FAFSA information. 

 How can I receive the maximum amount of aid each year?

Financial aid packages are based upon many factors, including financial need, available funding, federal and state regulations, and UWSP policies. 
In order to maximize your financial aid:
  • Complete your taxes as quickly as possible.  File your FAFSA each year before our May 1 priority date and utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if eligible to do so.
  • If notified of your selection for verification, immediately submit all requested documentation to our office for review.
  • Be sure all documents you submit to our office are signed.
  • Be sure your name and Student ID number are on all documents you submit.
  • Submit documents by fax to 715-346-3526 or through regular mail to: 1108 Fremont Street, Student Services Center Room 103, Stevens Point, WI, 54481
  • If you need copies of your IRS tax return transcripts, call the IRS at (800) 908-9946 or ORDER A TRANSCRIPT free of charge.
  • For returning students, regularly check your UWSP email account.  All requests for information and changes to your financial aid package will be communicated via UWSP email.
  • For new students, regularly check the permanent email account you reported on your FAFSA.  Information regarding your financial aid will be sent to you via that address until you are assigned a UWSP email account.  Upon receiving your UWSP email account, notifications will be sent there. 
  • Students may use their accesSPoint account to identify if anything is missing or if any action is needed to ensure that a financial aid award is offered in a timely manner.  
Avoid these common mistakes:       
  • Forgetting to complete your FAFSA by the priority date.
  • Assuming you’ve submitted your FAFSA without double-checking is risky.  Be sure to sign the online form with your FSA ID (parents too if applicable!).  Ensure that your FAFSA has been submitted successfully via the confirmation page.  Once you receive the link to your Student Aid Report (SAR), verify that the information is correct and check your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • Delays in submitting verification documents can be costly because many forms of aid have limited funding and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.  By the time your verification is completed, our office may have run out of some types of aid.
  • If you submit incomplete or illegible documents, you will be asked to submit acceptable forms.  This will cause delays in processing your aid.
  • Sending copies of income tax forms with information covered up by another form will result in a delay.  You will be asked to submit a legible form.
  • Submitting documentation not requested by the Office of Student Financial Aid may result in delays in processing your application for aid.
  • Failing to sign your required forms will also result in delays.
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