FAFSA Verification | Undergraduate Students

Eligibility for need-based financial aid will be estimated when a financial aid applicant needs to confirm or correct the information provided on the FAFSA. Some financial aid applicants are asked to provide supporting documentation through a process called verification. The supporting documentation is used by the Financial Aid Office to review the accuracy of FAFSA information and make any required corrections.

There are several reasons why a student’s FAFSA may be selected for verification. A financial aid applicant’s FAFSA can be selected randomly, or for inconsistent, unusual data, or misreported information, by the U.S. Department of Education. Pacific University may be required to verify a financial aid applicant’s FAFSA when conflicting documentation exists or when unusual circumstances are reported. If a student’s FAFSA is selected for verification for any of these reasons, the Financial Aid Office may not disburse federal, state, or institutional need-based financial aid until the verification process is complete.

The verification process must be completed by the last day of classes for the final semester in which the student is enrolled for the academic year. If verification has not been completed by this date, the student will lose eligibility for need-based financial aid and the Financial Aid Office will cancel all need-based federal, state, and institutional financial aid. If federal loan eligibility has not been certified by the last day of class, the student will not be able to receive those loans.

To avoid Business Office holds and/or late charges, the verification process should be completed as soon as possible, preferably before payment is due for the semester.

Information Required for Verification

There are four different verification groups and each group is asked to verify different aspects of the FAFSA. The most common group is asked to verify the following:

Household Size

The household for a dependent student includes the student, their parent(s) as defined by the FAFSA, siblings if the parent(s) provide more than half their financial support, other people residing in the parent(s) home for whom the parent(s) provide more than half the financial support.

The household for an independent student includes the student, spouse, children if the student provides more than half the financial support, and other people residing in the student’s home for whom the student provides more than half the financial support.

Number in College

Household members are considered as being in college if they are planning on attending at least half time during the upcoming academic year. 

Receipt of SNAP

If the student or parent(s) received SNAP benefits in 2014 and/or 2015, please provide official documentation showing benefits received during that time frame. This can be an initial letter of approval, request for six month or annual review, or letter of confirmation from the local Department of Human Services.

Child Support Paid

If the student, parent(s), and/or student’s spouse (if applicable) paid child support during 2015 (for a child not listed in the student’s household), the payer must to confirm how much was paid, to whom it was paid, and for whom it was paid.

Taxable and Non-Taxable Income

Federal regulations require Pacific University to use specific tax documentation provided by the IRS to verify parent, student and spouse income. There are several ways of obtaining tax information:

IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA

Most students and parents can use the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which is available in the Financial Information section of the FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete or update the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA from the IRS Web site.

  • Log in to the FAFSA and click the link to “make corrections or changes.”
  • Navigate to the Financial Information Section.  If both parent and student are tax filers, both the parent and student must use the Data Retrieval Tool to complete or update the FAFSA.
  • Make sure the tax filing status is set to “already completed”, then answer the questions. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, you will not be able to use the Data Retrieval Tool.
  • Enter your FSA ID and password, click “Link to IRS”, and follow the prompts to leave the FAFSA.
  • Fill out the required information and check the box to transfer tax information into the FAFSA.
  • You will be returned to the FAFSA and receive a message confirming the information was successfully transferred.
  • Sign and submit the FAFSA by entering the FSA ID and password. For dependent students, the parent and student must sign. For independent students, the student must sign.

The following tax filing statuses are not able to use the DRT:

  • Married Filing Separately
  • Head of Household
  • Amended Return
  • Puerto Rican or foreign return

In addition, tax filers with address changes, changes in marital status or victims of identity theft may be unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Tax filers who are not able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA will need to provide a copy of their IRS Tax Return Transcript to the Financial Aid Office. There are several ways to obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript:

Online Requests
  • Visit irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript.
  • Select either the Get Transcript ONLINE button or the Get Transcript by MAIL button. Both options provide the same results, but the ONLINE option is immediate.
  • Get Transcript ONLINE Instructions
    • Click the CREATE AN ACCOUNT button and complete the requested steps. If you already have an account, simply Sign In with your credentials instead.
    • On the Request Transcript page, select the "Higher Education/Student Aid" option and click on the Return Transcript for the tax year requested.
    • Print the Tax Return Transcript and deliver it to the Student Financial Aid office.
  • Get Transcript by MAIL Instructions
  • Enter the requested information and click Continue.
    • Select "Return Transcript" for the Type of Transcript, select the tax year requested for Tax Year, and click Continue.
    • If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address on file with the IRS within 5 to 10 business days. IRS Tax Return Transcripts cannot be sent to an address other than the one on file with the IRS.
    • Once received, deliver the Tax Return Transcript to the Financial Aid office.
Telephone Request
  • Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946.
  • Tax filers must follow prompts to enter the primary tax filer's social security number and the numbers in their street address. Generally, this will be numbers of the street address that were listed on the latest tax return filed. If an address change has been completed either through the IRS or the US Postal Service, however, the IRS may have the updated address on file. For a joint tax return, use the primary tax filer's social security number, date of birth, street address, and zip or postal code.
  • Select "Option 2" to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript and then enter the tax year requested.
  • If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript at the address on file with the IRS within 5 to 10 business days. IRS Tax Return Transcripts cannot be sent to an address other than the one on file with the IRS.
  • Once received, deliver the Tax Return Transcript to the Financial Aid office.
Visit a Local IRS Office
  • If online and telephone requests are not available because of address changes or other errors, please visit a local IRS office to address the problem.
  • Locate an IRS office through IRS.gov.
  • Bring a form of photo identification.
  • Request a Tax Return Transcript. Please note that some offices may not have the ability to print the Tax Return Transcript.
For Tax Filers who have Filed an Amended Return
  • Provide a copy of the 2015 IRS Tax Return Transcript.
  • Provide a signed copy of the original tax return filed with the IRS.
  • Provide a signed copy of the amended return filed with the IRS.
For Victims of Identity Theft
  • Provide a signed copy of the original tax return filed with the IRS.
  • Provide a signed statement indicating you were a victim of identity theft and the IRS is aware.
  • Provide a 2015 Tax Return Database View (TRDBV) obtained from the IRS.
    • 800-908-4490- IRS Identity Theft Hotline
For Tax Filers who have Filed a Tax Extension
  • Provide a copy of the IRS form 4868 filed with the IRS (automatic extension for filing taxes).
  • Provide an IRS Form 4506-T with the following information:
    • Pacific’s information entered as the 3rd party.
    • Section 6 and 9 completed.
  • Provide documentation of all income earned in 2015 for both your parents:
    • W-2.
    • 1099.
    • a signed statement of annual income, if self employed.
  • Provide a signed statement of adjusted gross income for 2015.
Non-Tax Filers

Students and parents who are not required to file a tax return, or who file a foreign return, must complete a Non-Tax Filer Statement and submit it to the Financial Aid Office.  Income listed on the Non-Tax Filer Statement should be documented with W-2 Statements, 1099 Statements, and/or other available documentation.

Identity/High School Completion

Students who are required to confirm their identity must appear in person at the Financial Aid Office on the Forest Grove Campus. Generally, a student’s high school completion status is confirmed using the final high school transcript required by the Admission Office prior to enrollment at Pacific.

Contact the Jama Kelch (503) 352-3095 or jamakelch@pacificu.edu if you have any questions or need assistance with completing the verification process.