The Verification Process
Each year students applying for financial assistance and using the federal application
(FAFSA) are selected by the Department of Education for a process called verification.
Students are selected randomly or by meeting a discrepancy edit. In addition, though
much more rarely, the institution may select an applicant. To be eligible for need-based
funds, in particular federal programs, Cal Lutheran is obligated to completed the
verification review for all selected students.
As financial aid eligibility is an annual process, students may be selected in multiple
years and may be asked for different information. The goal is to have the most accurate
assessment of a family's financial standing for purposes of awarding financial assistance.
Our Office may request additional information at any point in the academic year if
deemed necessary or other information that affects financial aid eligibility is encountered.
Notification and Deadlines:
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 needed for
thorough review. Students have 30 days to submit all required documents. Students
will be sent email notices every two weeks until one of the following:
- Verification is completed
- The student withdraws
- The student submits written notification to the school they will not be completing
Students must provide verification documents prior to the last day of the student's
enrollment for federal, state, and institutional need-based aid programs. For Pell
Grant, verification documentation must be provided 120 days after the last day of
the student's enrollment.
Need-based financial aid award packages will not be finalized until the verification
process is complete.
First-year freshmen will have tentative award packages developed but the award is
not final until the verification process is complete. New transfer students and continuing
Cal Lutheran students must complete all verification requirements before a need-based
award package, including state and federal funds, will be completed. Verification
does not affect institutional merit scholarships.
The verification process must be completed before any need-based aid will be disbursed
and applied to the student's institutional account.
Award packages may be adjusted based on the information submitted for verification.
Students will be sent notification and instructions on the type of verification and
forms necessary to complete the process. Students and / or parents will be selected
for one or more of the following
- Verification worksheet (V1, V4, V5)
- Financial Asset information
- IRS 4506-T form (non-filing request)
- An IRS Transcript or use of Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)
- W-2 forms
- Additional information as needed
The school may ask for additional documentation based on review of submitted information
and any possible discrepancies.
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: 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.
The student and / or 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 (AGI)
- Taxes paid
- Education credits
- Untaxed IRA distributions
- Untaxed pensions
- IRA deductions and payments
- Tax-exempt interest
- Income earned from work
- Household size
- Number in college (excluding parents of dependent students)
- High school completion status
- Identity/statement of education purpose
- Any other inconsistent information (including name, date of birth, social security
Students and/or parents who are asked to verify their income must submit using one
of three options:
1. IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)
- If the student has already filed their FAFSA, they can still update their application
with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). 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 DRT (if eligible) to update your
- In order to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain a Tax Return Transcript from
the IRS, you must have already filed your Federal Tax Return.
2. Submit a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS
- Please be advised that if the student's FAFSA is selected for verification and the
student and/or the parent(s) are not eligible or choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval
Tool, then a Tax Return Transcript or signed, completed tax return will be required
for the verification purposes. (See below for more options.)
- Please view our form on how to Request a Tax Transcript for further instructions.
- Please make sure to request a Tax Return Transcript. DO NOT request and Account Transcript
or Record of Account unless directed by our office to do so.
- Once the Tax Return Transcript is received from the IRS, the student and/or parent
will need to submit a copy of it to the Financial Aid Office.
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.
3. Submit a SIGNED and DATED IRS Federal Tax Return and all W-2's and 1099-forms.
Please include all schedules with the tax return.
Questions about the verification process or forms necessary to complete the process
may be directed to the Cal Lutheran Financial Aid Office. You may call 805-493-3115
or email email@example.com with questions.
This document will be reviewed periodically for changes to the federal and/or institutional
verification policy requirements.