FAFSA and Verification
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The application is used to determine if you qualify you for need-based assistance programs such as government grants, institutional scholarships and and federal subsidized loans.
You must complete a FAFSA every year in order to be considered for need-based financial aid. The application is available in January and should be completed early (before March for California residents). Your financial need is calculated based on you or your family's income during the previous year.
When filling out your FAFSA, please be sure to use Cal Lutheran's FAFSA code: 001133.
For an in-depth guide to the process of completing the FAFSA, we recommend watching the below tutorial. It was designed by a Masters, Doctoral candidate at UCSB, and we feel that it is a great resource to assist students in understanding how to complete the FAFSA. If you have further questions, please disregard the contact information at the end of the presentation and contact the Office of Financial Aid instead.
- Verification of Your Data
What is Verification?
When a student completes a FAFSA, he or she may get selected for verification, which means the Federal Government wants the Office of Financial Aid to “verify” that the information provided on the FAFSA matches the student (and spouse, if applicable) and/or parents’ actual data on tax returns and other documents.
When an applicant's FAFSA is selected for verification, Cal Lutheran will send the student a letter outlining the documents that must be received by the school to complete the verification process. The notification will provide instructions on which verification form is required and how to access the form online. The verification forms contain step-by-step instructions and identify any necessary supporting documents. Students have 30 days to submit all required documents. Financial aid award packages will not be finalized until the verification process is complete.
Financial aid staff will compare the information provided on the verification documents to the student's FAFSA for accuracy. If corrections are necessary, the FAFSA will be updated and submitted to the Department of Education (DOE). Applicants will be notified of changes to their FAFSA with an updated Student Aid Report (SAR) sent to the email address on their FAFSA application. Students will be notified of changes to their financial aid award package, if changes were necessary, with an email through their Cal Lutheran email account.
Please note that applicants are required to give complete and true answers to all questions on the FAFSA and verification forms. If we suspect that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain federal funds, we will report the suspicions and provide any evidence to the Office of Inspector General.
You and your parents may be asked to submit documentation or clarification of information for one or more of the following data elements on the FAFSA:
- Adjusted Gross Income
- Taxes Paid
- Income Earned from Work (for non-tax filers)
- Certain Untaxed Income Items
- Number of family members in the household
- Number of family members enrolled in college (excluding parents for a dependent student)
- Receipt of Food Stamps/SNAP Benefit
- Child Support Paid
- High School Completion
- Identity and Statement of Educational Purpose
- Any other inconsistent or conflicting information (including name, date of birth, social security number, etc.)
Students and/or parents who are asked to verify their income must:
Use IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing a FAFSA (recommended)
- If the student has already filed their FAFSA, they can still update their application with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. To do so, the student must login to www.fafsa.gov and select the link to "Make FAFSA Corrections". When making the correction, update your status to “Already Completed” and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (if eligible) to update your tax information.
Submit a Return Transcript from the IRS
- Please be advised that if the student's FAFSA is selected for verification and they and/or their parent's are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (or choose not to), than their Return Transcript will be required for verification purposes.
- Please view our form on how to Request a Tax Transcript for further instructions.
- Please make sure to request a Return Transcript. DO NOT request a Account Transcript or Record of Account unless directed by our office to do so.
- Once the Return Transcript is received from the IRS, the student and/or parent will need to submit a copy of it to the Office of Financial Aid
NOTE: The process of requesting and receiving the Tax Return Transcript may delay your Financial Aid Award because it takes time for the IRS to send the transcript.
In order to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain a Return Transcript from the IRS, you must have already filed your Federal Tax Return.
- If your Federal Tax Return was submitted electronically to the IRS, you must wait approximately 10–14 days before you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain a Return Transcript from the IRS
- If your Federal Tax Return was submitted via regular mail to the IRS, you must wait approximately 4–6 weeks before you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain a Return Transcript from the IRS