What is Verification?
Verification is the process by which Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) confirms the accuracy of the data reported on a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA federal processor selects the student (FAFSA) applications for which the data submitted must be verified.
The federal processor applies a series of edit checks, which are prescribed by federal financial aid regulations, to each FAFSA. The edit checks may result in an application being selected for verification. In addition, the federal processor randomly selects for verification a percentage of all financial aid applications.
Students selected for verification will be required to submit additional documentation beyond the FAFSA and EWC admissions documents.
These documents may include:
- The EWC Verification Worksheet.
- Copies of the federal income tax transcript or filed income tax return for the student, spouse and/or parent (if applicable) if the student did not use the IRS data retrieval process or made changes to the data once it was reported in the IRS data retrieval process.
- Additional information as deemed necessary by the Financial Aid Office due to conflicting information and/or error flags listed on the processed FAFSA.
Proof of citizenship; proof of sibling/spouse/dependent enrollment at another institution; copies of Social Security benefit statements; schedules C, E, and/or F; 1099 R forms; W-2s; and other documents may also be requested.
Per federal regulations, the EWC Financial Aid Office:
- Must verify all students selected for verification by the federal processor. If there is an asterisk next to the EFC figure on the top right corner of your Student Aid Report (SAR), your SAR has been selected for verification.
- May also exercise the right to select additional students for verification at any time.
- Will notify students via mail if they are selected for verification and request the submission of appropriate documentation.
If discrepancies are discovered during verification, the Financial Aid Office may require additional information or documents. Any discrepancies that must be corrected may change your eligibility for financial aid as estimated on your SAR.
What information will be verified?
Schools are required to verify the following data elements:
- Household size (number of people in your household)
- Number in college (number of household members attending a post secondary educational institution at least half-time)
- Adjusted gross income (AGI) or income earned from work if income is below minimum required for income tax filing
- U.S. Income Tax Paid for the base year (e.g., for 2020-2021, the base year is 2018)
- Certain untaxed income and benefits for the base year
- Untaxed IRA distributions
- Untaxed pensions
- Education credits
- IRA deductions
- Tax exempt interest
In addition to these basic verification requirements, students may be asked to verify any other data item reported on the FAFSA.
What documentation will I have to submit?
Dependent students are required to submit an EWC Dependent Verification Worksheet and a form of income verification (described on the worksheet and below) for the fiscal year on which the FAFSA was based. (Example: A student selected for verification in 2020-2021 would submit information from the 2018 tax year.)
Independent students are required to submit an EWC Independent Verification Worksheet and a form of income verification (described on the worksheet and below) for the fiscal year. If an independent student was married at the time he/she signed their FAFSA and did not file a joint tax return, the student must also submit income verification for his/her spouse.
The EWC Federal Verification Worksheet, federal tax transcripts, and requested documents should be forwarded to the EWC Financial Aid Office as soon as possible after they are requested. Students will not be awarded federal financial aid until the verification process has been completed.
The EWC Financial Aid Office may have to request additional information to resolve conflicting information and/or error flags listed on the processed FAFSA. Additional documents may include evidence of child support received or paid, W2 forms, signed statements regarding family and living situations, and more.
How do I provide income verification if I filed taxes?
There are two options to verify income tax information:
1. IRS Data Retrieval Tool
(ONLY for Tax Filers who have an FSA ID)
The easiest way to verify income information for Single, Married Filing Jointly, and Head of Household tax filers is to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing the FAFSA on the Web. To use the DRT, the student must log-in to the FAFSA at studentaid.gov with his/her FSA ID and select “Make Corrections.”
If the student was a tax filer and is attempting to use the DRT, the student will need to update the STUDENT tax return status, type of return, and filing status. Follow-up questions will determine the student’s eligibility to use the DRT. If eligible to use the DRT, a button with the title “Link to IRS” or a hyperlink titled “View options to link to IRS” will be available on the screen. On the IRS website, confirm that the student information is correct, and type in the exact address used to file taxes. Click “Transfer Now.” If the transfer was successful, you will not be able to see/review the data elements, but instead will see data elements labeled as “Transferred from IRS.” Please re-sign and re-submit the FAFSA.
If the parent(s) were tax filer(s) and are trying to use the DRT, a parent will need to update the parent tax return status, type of return, and filing status. If the parent tax filer is eligible to use the DRT, the parent will need to enter their PARENT FSA ID (only one parent needs an FSA ID) before the “Link to IRS” or “View option to link to IRS” option appears. The remainder of the process is THE SAME for the parent as the student.
2. SIGNED Federal IRS Tax Return Transcript or SIGNED and FILED income tax return:
(Married- Filing Separately & filers who did not or could not use the DRT):
To request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, please visit www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript to download and print your transcript immediately, or request the transcript be mailed to your address on record. Be sure to request a Tax Return Transcript, NOT an Account Transcript. The tax filer must sign (handwritten signature only) and date the Tax Return Transcript before submitting the document to EWC.
If you cannot get the transcript online, please download Form 4506-T by clicking on the “Transcript types” hyperlink on the IRS Get Transcript website. The tax filer will need to sign (handwritten signature) and date the transcript before submitting. Transcripts can also be requested by calling the IRS Automated Telephone at 1-800-908-9946.
If providing a tax return, you must include documentation indicating the return was filed, such as a preparer’s name and PTIN on the return, or electronic confirmation of return submission. The return MUST be SIGNED before submitting to EWC. To request a copy of your income tax return from the IRS (if unable to procure one from an accountant or tax filing software), you may complete Form 4506. The tax filer will need to sign (handwritten signature) and date the return before submitting.
How do I provide income verification if I did NOT file taxes?
There are two scenarios, both of which require you to certify on the verification worksheet that you have not filed and are not required to file an income tax return for the base tax year. Both options also require that Independent Students (and spouses, if applicable) and Parent(s)’ of Dependent Students submit a Verification of Nonfiling Letter.
I worked, but was not required to file taxes.
You must submit copies of all W-2s received for the tax year and certify the sources of income earned from work as reported on the FAFSA and amounts of income (from each source for the tax year) that are not reported on W-2 forms.
If you were self-employed and do not have W-2s available, you will need to submit a statement that includes your name(s), the type/name of your business, your gross income, and why you were unable to provide W-2s (self-employment). The individual whose income is being verified will need to sign (handwritten signature) and date the statement before submitting to EWC. PLEASE NOTE: you may be required to file a tax return even if you had low net earnings. Please refer to the IRS Tax Guide (Page 6, Chapter 1) for self-employment filing criteria.
I did not work and was not required to file a tax return?
PARENTS or INDEPENDENT STUDENTS and SPOUSES who did not work and were not required to file a tax return for the year in question must submit certify the following information on the Verification Worksheet: That the individual was not employed and had no income earned from work for the base year. That the individual was not required to file an income tax return for the base tax year.
How to provide a SIGNED Verification of Nonfiling Letter
(ONLY for those who did not file taxes OR for those who were granted an Extension):
To request an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter, please visit www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript to download and print your Verification of Nonfiling immediately, or request the letter be mailed to your address on record. The individual whose income is being verified will need to sign (handwritten signature only) and date the Letter before submitting the document to EWC.
If you cannot get the letter online, please download Form 4506-T by clicking on the “Transcript types” hyperlink on the IRS Get Transcript website. Do NOT use the generic 4506 form as this requests tax returns rather than the required Verification of Nonfiling Letter. The individual whose status needs confirmed will need to sign (handwritten signature) and date the letter before submitting. You must check box 7 “Verification of Nonfiling” to request this document.
What does it mean when I’m asked to provide proof of my sibling, spouse, or child’s enrollment?
If a student indicated on the FAFSA that there is more than one family member attending college, EWC may require proof that the family member is, in fact, attending a college/university. In this case, the EWC Financial Aid Office will request you complete the “Family Information” section on the EWC Verification Worksheet.
How do I avoid verification processing delays?
To help diminish the possibility of verification processing delays, please do the following:
- Submit all documents at the same time to Eastern Wyoming College, Financial Aid, at 3200 West C Street in Torrington, WY 82240. Alternatively, you may fax documents to (307) 532-8222.
- Print your name and Student ID # (or last four digits of your Social Security Number) on documents that you submit.
- Respond to each section of the EWC Verification Worksheet. If a section or part of a section does not apply to you/your parent(s)/your spouse, write “N/A” or “-0-,” as appropriate. Do not leave sections blank.
- Data Security: In order to protect students’ (& families’) Personally Identifiable Information (PII), the College adheres to stringent data safeguard protocols. Therefore, only submit student (& family) information to the Financial Aid Office using data security methods which preserve the privacy of your personal information. Secure methods include:
- Delivering documents to the Financial Aid Office
- Faxing documents to the Financial Aid Office using our fax number
- Mailing documents to the Financial Aid Office
- Do not email personal information to the Financial Aid Office without using AES 256-bit encryption software.
What happens after verification is completed?
If the accuracy of the data reported on your FAFSA is confirmed, the Financial Aid Office can determine your eligibility for financial aid. You will receive an award notification via mail.
If verification indicates differences between the data reported on your FAFSA and the tax documents/income information that you submit with your Verification Worksheet, the Financial Aid Office may make corrections to the data on your FAFSA and electronically transmit the corrected data to the federal processor.
Can my financial aid change as a result of verification?
Financial aid awards are based on the information provided on your FAFSA. Federal programs such as the Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, and Direct Federal Loan have strict eligibility requirements. If the data reported on verification documents differs from the information reported on the student’s FAFSA, the student’s eligibility for these programs may be affected.
What is the verification deadline?
The verification review process can take up to 30 days. Students are advised to submit the requested documentation as soon as possible after receiving notice that your application was selected for review. All information must be received and reviewed before we can determine your eligibility for federal financial aid and your file may be considered inactive if our office does not receive a response within 60 days. If you, your spouse or your parent refuse to submit the required documentation, your eligibility for federal financial aid may be forfeited. Federal funds will not be disbursed until the verification process is complete.
In order for EWC’s Financial Aid Office to be able to submit any required corrections to the Central Processing System (CPS), a student MUST submit all required documentation by the earlier of 120 days after his/her last date of enrollment or September 15 following the academic year for which he/she is requesting aid (e.g., September 15, 2021 for the previous 2020-2021 academic year)