Federal Verification

Verification is the process of confirming the accuracy of information that was reported on the Free Application for Federal Student (FAFSA).


  1. I’ve been selected for verification, what does that mean?
  2. How will I be notified if verification is required?
  3. What is the IRS Data Retrieval tool?
  4. Will I be required to submit federal tax return transcripts if I used the IRS Data Retrieval tool?
  5. Can I go back into my FAFSA and use the IRS Data Retrieval tool?
  6. Where can I find the verification worksheet?
  7. How can I determine if my verification documents have been received?
  8. What happens if I don't provide the required forms and documents?
  9. What if I am filing for an IRS tax extension?
  10. What documentation is needed if I amended my federal taxes?
  11. What documentation is needed if I am a victim of IRS identity theft?
  12. How do I submit my verification forms?
  13. How will I know when the verification process has been completed?
  14. What is the deadline to submit verification documents?
  15. What information is required to complete the financial aid verification process at SU?
  16. I must verify my high school completion, identity, and educational purpose. What must I provide to complete these requirements?
  17. How do I request my tax return transcript or verification of non-filing letter from the IRS?
  18. What if my financial situation is no longer consistent with the tax information on the FAFSA?
  19. I am a dependent student, who should/can be included in my household size?
  20. I am an independent student, who should be included in my household size?
  21. I can’t find my W2’s, what can I send you instead?

I’ve been selected for verification, what does that mean?

The U.S. Department of Education is requiring Syracuse University (SU) to review your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information. We complete the verification process by comparing FAFSA data with federal tax return transcripts and other forms you must provide to the SU. Corrections to your FAFSA may be necessary if discrepancies are found.

How will I be notified if verification is required?

Notice of selection may first be found on your Student Aid Report (SAR). If selected, you will also find requirements listed on your ‘to do list’ within MySlice. The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship Programs may also send you a notice advising you that more documentation is needed to complete the review for financial aid. This notice will be sent to the student’s e-mail account. Multiple notices may be sent until all documentation is received to complete the verification process.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval tool?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to retrieve their federal tax return information directly from the IRS as you complete the FAFSA. This link option is not available in all circumstances. Students or parents of dependent students who can’t use this tool are:

  • Taxpayers who are married but file separate returns.
  • Taxpayers whose marital status has changed since filing their federal tax returns of two years ago.
  • Taxpayers who are unmarried and living together.

Will I be required to submit federal tax return transcripts if I used the IRS Data Retrieval tool?

If you were able to retrieve your federal tax information directly from the IRS and submitted the tax data unchanged, then you may not be required to submit tax return transcripts. The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship Programs will identify all FAFSAs where successful transfers occurred and waive the need to collect student, spousal, and/or parent tax return transcripts. In some cases, we will request tax transcripts if we determine that they will resolve discrepant information.

Can I go back into my FAFSA and use the IRS Data Retrieval tool?

Yes. It is the recommended option. Go to fafsa.gov, log into the student's FAFSA record, select "Make FAFSA Corrections," and navigate to the Financial Information section(s) of the form. From there, follow the instructions to determine if you and/or your parent(s) or spouse are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer your IRS income tax information into your FAFSA.

Where can I find the verification worksheet?

You may find the verification worksheet on your financial aid ‘to do list’ in MySlice.

How can I determine if my verification documents have been received?

Once your documents are received, the required documents listed on your ‘to do list’ will be removed.

What happens if I don't provide the required forms and documents?

Before your application for financial aid may be reviewed, it is necessary to complete the verification process. During the FAFSA application signature process, you made an agreement "to provide information that will verify the accuracy of your completed form." If you do not submit the requested documentation, the University cannot complete the verification process. No further action will be taken on your request for financial aid.

What if I am filing for an IRS tax extension?

If your FAFSA has been selected for verification and either you and/or your parent(s)/spouse has been granted an IRS-approved tax filing extension, the University may accept alternative documentation to complete verification. This documentation includes:

  • IRS approval of extension beyond automatic 6-month extension.
  • Verification of non-filing letter from the IRS dated after October 1.
  • Copies of the associated year’s W2s.
  • If self-employed, other income source documents that will help to estimate profit or loss. Self-employed taxpayers must also include a statement certifying adjusted gross income and taxes paid from the tax year required by the FAFSA. You also must submit a verification worksheet and all other verification documents as requested by Syracuse University.

What documentation is needed if I amended my federal taxes?

You will still be required to submit:

  • Either a federal tax return transcript or file the FAFSA using unchanged data from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for the taxpayer who filed the amended return (student, parent(s), or spouse).
  • A signed copy of the amended return (IRS Form 1040X) for the taxpayer who filed the amended return (student, parent(s), or spouse).
  • All other verification requirements listed on your Myslice ‘to do list.’
  • Additional documentation may be requested by the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship Programs.

What documentation is needed if I am a victim of IRS identity theft?

Please submit a Tax Return Database View (TRDBV) transcript. This can be obtained from the IRS by calling the IRS's Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. We will also need a signed statement from the tax filer(s) indicating that they were a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware. You will also need to submit other verification documents, as shown on your Myslice ‘to do list.’

How do I submit my verification forms?

You may submit your form(s) to the Office of Financial Aid in one of two methods:

  1. Using the ‘Upload Here’ link on the financial aid ‘to do list’ in MySlice.
  2. By mail to: Financial Aid Processing, Syracuse University, P.O. Box 37324, Syracuse , NY 13235 

How will I know when the verification process has been completed?

You will receive an official award letter. If you had previously been packaged with financial aid and verification became necessary after an award letter was sent, you may receive a revised award letter. If corrections were necessary to your FAFSA during the verification review, you will also receive an updated Student Aid Report.

What is the deadline to submit verification documents?

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship Programs must complete verification before the end of the academic year, or before your last term of attendance in the year, otherwise you will not be eligible for need based financial aid. Until verification is completed, your financial aid cannot be disbursed. In the event your aid has been disbursed and you fail to complete verification, the aid will retracted.

What information is required to complete the financial aid verification process at SU?

Not every student who is selected for verification will be required to submit the same documentation. Please review the financial aid ‘to do list’ in MySlice to see what documents have been requested.

I must verify my high school completion, identity, and educational purpose. What must I provide to complete these requirements?

Some examples of verification of high school completion are:

  • A copy of your final official high school transcript.
  • Certification of passing scores on GED and similar equivalency tests.
  • Copy of your high school diploma.

For requirements regarding identity and educational purpose, please refer to the forms found on your financial aid ‘to do list’ in MySlice.

How do I request my tax return transcript or verification of non-filing letter from the IRS?

These documents may be obtained from the IRS free of charge in one of five ways:

  • Online IRS account (create account and request pdf version)
  • Online request for transcript/letter to be mailed (request to have mailed to your home address)
  • Phone request for transcript/letter to be mailed (call 1-800-908-9946 to have mailed to your home address)
  • Paper request using form 4506-T (request to have mailed to your home address)
  • Visit local IRS office (before visiting call your local office to verify that they can provide this service)

What if my financial situation is no longer consistent with the tax information on the FAFSA?

File the FAFSA using the tax return information for the year required. We recommend that you contact our office to discuss any changes in your family’s financial situation. We may be able to reevaluate the student’s financial aid, based on changes in circumstances that occur after the FAFSA and CSS Profile are filed. After you have submitted your applications, contact our office to discuss your family’s special circumstances.

I am a dependent student, who should/can be included in my household size?

The people reported in the household should include you, the student (even if you’re not living at home), your parent(s) and step parent if applicable, your siblings, if they receive more than half of their support from your parent(s). This may also include any other dependents that live in the household and receive more than half of their support from your parent(s).

I am an independent student, who should be included in my household size?

If you are an independent student, your household should include you, the student, your spouse and dependents (if applicable). This may include any other dependents that live in the household and you provide more than half of their support.

I can’t find my W2’s, what can I send you instead?

If you can’t find your W2’s try contacting your employer for another copy. Should this not be possible, you may request a Wage & Income Transcript from the IRS. You can request this in any of the following ways.

  • Online IRS account (create account and request pdf version)
  • Online request for transcript/letter to be mailed (request to have mailed to your home address)
  • Phone request for transcript/letter to be mailed (call 1-800-908-9946 to have mailed to your home address)
  • Paper request using form 4506-T (request to have mailed to your home address)

Visit local IRS office (before visiting call your local office to verify that they can provide this service)