Verification is the process that reviews the FAFSA for accuracy. The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects 30 percent of all FAFSAs for verification and specifies what documents need to be reviewed for this process.
Alma College selects additional students if conflicting information is present. If selected, we will contact you for documentation that supports the information you reported.
What Information is Verified?
This verification item looks at how many people qualify as living in the household. The following people count as being in the household of a dependent student’s parents, per the FAFSA’s instructions:
The student and parents: Even if the student is not living with the parents, he or she counts as being in the household. You must exclude a parent who has died or is not living in the household because of separation or divorce.
The student’s siblings: If the student’s brother or sister will be receiving more than half their support from the parent(s) during the academic year, they count as being in the parent’s household.
Other persons who live with and receive more than half their support from the student’s parent(s) and who will continue to receive more than half their support for the entire award year.
Number in College
This verification item looks at how many people in the household are attending/will be attending college at least part time for the upcoming academic year. Count yourself as a college student. Only include other people living in the household that are also attending college at least half time. DO NOT include parents who are attending college.
Tax and Income Information
The verification process will require confirmation of your income, both taxed and untaxed. This will include items such as W-2s, schedule Cs, 1099 forms, and tax return transcripts/FAFSA Data Retrieval. See more information below.
Income Tax Return Information
OPTION 1: IRS Data Retrieval Tool
Pulls the IRS income tax return information directly from the IRS into the FAFSA. To use this tool, return to your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. See Tax Information Sheet above or watch the following video for detailed instructions.
There are several situations where the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) does not work. If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool and you have been selected for verification, you will need to obtain a “Tax Return Transcript” from the IRS. This can be done by visiting an IRS Service Center, by calling 800-908-9946 or by visiting www.irs.gov.
NOTE: There is a difference between a Tax Return Transcript and a Tax Account Transcript. We cannot use the Tax Account Transcript to complete the verification process. Be certain to request a Tax Return Transcript.
Non Tax Filers
Tax Return Error
Special Issues - Tax Filing
Amended Tax Return
- The Tax Return Transcript
- A signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X you submitted to the IRS
Victims of IRS Identity Theft
- A copy of the IRS Form 4868 (Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) that was filed with the IRS for the tax year.
- If additional extension is requested, we will need a copy of the IRS’s approval for extension beyond the automatic six-month extension.
- A copy of the IRS Form W-2 for the tax year for each source of employment income received; if self-employed, we will need a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual’s adjusted gross income (AGI) and the U.S. income tax paid for the tax year.
This document will provide helpful tips to completing the verification process. Additionally, many frequently asked questions are answered.
Please visit our Forms & Resources page to find all of the verification worksheets and forms.