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. An official 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. To complete the standard verification process, please print the appropriate verification worksheet:
- 2023-24 Verification Worksheet for Dependent Students
- 2023-24 Verification Worksheet for Independent Students
- 2024-25 Verification Worksheet for Dependent Students
- 2024-25 Verification Worksheet for Independent Students
To verify your tax information, choose one of the following options:
- IRS Data Retrieval Tool - We recommend using the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), as it allows applicants who have already filed their federal income tax returns to prefill the answers to some questions on the FAFSA by transferring data from their federal income tax returns. If you are eligible to use the DRT and didn't use it when you originally filed the FAFSA, visit the FAFSA website and make a correction using the IRS Data Retrieval process for either the student, the parent(s), or both. You don't have to provide other tax data if the DRT process is successful.
- Tax Forms - If the parent and/or student is unable or chooses not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, they can send Northwestern a signed copy of their IRS Federal 1040 Tax Return with Schedules 1–3. The tax return should be faxed to 712-707-7165. Because tax returns contain Social Security numbers, do not email IRS tax returns to Northwestern's financial aid office.
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.