What is Verification?

Verification is a process in which information on a student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is reviewed by the College for accuracy. If your FAFSA is selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, or by Charter Oak, you will be required to submit documentation to validate the data reported on your FAFSA.

Please do not submit anything to the Office of Financial Aid unless requested to do so.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool through FAFSA on the Web

The Office of Financial Aid requires that all applicants complete or correct FAFSA data using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This process allows users to link to the IRS Web site and securely transfer original IRS tax information to their FAFSA. IRS income related information includes: adjusted gross income, U.S. taxes paid, exemptions, and education credits...

In most cases, FAFSA applicants who use the IRS Data Retrieval process to transfer IRS data to their FAFSA will have met the verification requirements for IRS data specific items. This means they will not need to provide an IRS Tax Return Transcript to the Office of Financial Aid as long as IRS data was not subsequently changed.

Certain categories of FAFSA applicants will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. These include applicants who:

  • filed a foreign tax return (including a tax return from Puerto Rico)
  • filed an amended tax return
  • are married and filed as Married Filing Separately
  • are married and filed as Head of Household
  • recent tax filers (taxes filed electronically within the last two weeks of FAFSA filing ,taxes filed by mail within the last eight weeks of FAFSA filing)
  • had a change in marital status after 12-31

Recent Verification Changes:

As a result of recent changes to the student financial aid programs, some verification requirements have changed for the current award year. Most noteworthy is that copies of federal tax returns will no longer be accepted by the Office of Financial Aid to authenticate FAFSA data -except under a number of limited circumstances (i.e., for use in professional judgment reviews, to confirm rollovers, or to confirm taxable scholarships).

IRS Tax Transcripts

  1. Students (and parents of dependent students) who are selected for verification and did not use the DRT are required to provide IRS Tax Return Transcripts to the Office of Financial Aid.
  2. Applicants who change IRS data (by filing an amended tax return) must provide:
    • An IRS Tax Return Transcript (even if the DRT was previously used) or any other IRS tax transcript that includes all income and tax information from the original return; and
    • a signed copy of Form 1040X that was filed with the IRS

IRS Tax Return Transcripts are provided free of charge by the IRS. Unfortunately, the IRS online Get Transcript service is currently unavailable. However, students and parents may still order transcripts using the IRS Get Transcripts by Mail service.

Victims of Identity Theft

You will not be able to obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript if you are a tax filer who has been the victim of identity theft. Victims of identity theft are required to call the IRS's Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 800-908-4490 and request a Transcript DataBase View (TRDBV).

Additional Requests for Information

Certain types of untaxed income (child support, worker's compensation, disability) are not reflected in IRS data. Therefore, additional documentation may be requested by the Office of Financial Aid for verification of untaxed income.This may include, but is not limited to, collection of W-2 forms for non-filers who indicate they have income from work, child support payments received, and payments made to tax-deferred pension and savings plans.

Child support payments made in 2014 are subject to verification.

Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) received in 2013 or 2014 are subject to verification.

The Office of Financial Aid is also responsible for resolving information that it believes to be discrepant or inaccurate and may request supporting documentation to clear data conflicts.

*If conflicting information is discovered after disbursing aid, the College is required to reconcile the differences and recalculate the student's EFC. If there is an over award, the student will be required to repay any excess funds. If a student is not longer enrolled, they will owe a Title IV overpayment and the College will notify the U.S. Department of Education of the overpayment.