FAFSA verification

Each year, approximately 1 in 3 financial aid applications nationwide are chosen by the U.S. Department of Education for verification, a process that confirms the accuracy of the information that's been submitted by comparing the FAFSA with IRS data and other documentation. You must complete the verification process in order to receive federal, state and some types of institutional aid. A financial aid package will not be provided until verification is complete.

If your application is selected for verification, it will be noted on the Student Aid Report (SAR) you receive after filing the FAFSA. Additionally, Northwestern's financial aid office will send a request for required documentation to the email address (both student and parents) listed on the FAFSA. This email will include detailed information on how to navigate the verification process. The Department of Education has made changes to the verification process that are now in effect. Changes include more customization, as there are now five different classifications of verification, with each requiring a different set of verifiable items. To complete the standard verification process, please print the appropriate verification worksheet:

To verify your tax information, choose one of two options:

  1. IRS Data Retrieval Tool - If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval download process in the FAFSA and didn't use it when you originally filed, visit the FAFSA website and make a correction to your FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval process. You do not have to provide a Tax Return Transcript if the data retrieval process is successful. (Note that you should wait 2 weeks after filing your taxes before using the data retrieval tool.) Using the data retrieval tool is the quickest way to verify your tax information. Make sure you enter your personal information on the FAFSA to match the tax form.
  2. Tax Return Transcript - Visit the IRS website to order a Tax Return Transcript online.

If corrections to your FAFSA are necessary, the financial aid office will make the necessary changes. If changes are made to your financial aid package and you are an incoming student, you will be sent a new award letter as soon as the corrections are processed. If you are a current student, you can view the changes on your MyNWC account.