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What Is Federal Verification?

Verification is a federal aid eligibility requirement operated by the Financial Aid Office in which students are requested to support certain data elements of their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Our Financial Aid Office verifies all students who are selected by the Department of Education to be verified, and we may also use discretion in selecting students on an individual basis. Some items that are required to be confirmed include: taxable income, family size, and untaxed income. In some instances, the Financial Aid Office may need for you to meet with a financial aid staff member to present unexpired, government-issued photo identification and sign a statement confirming your educational intent. If selected, this process must take place prior to the payment of your federal aid to your account at Swarthmore. 


How do I know if I have been selected for verification?

You can check your FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS) to see if your FAFSA was selected for Federal Verification by the Department of Education.  You had been sent this FSS soon after you completed your FAFSA. If you have been selected, you will see an asterisk (*) next to your Student Aid Index (SAI). The Financial Aid Office will email you to notify you that you have been selected. This email will be sent to your Swarthmore College email address only.


How do I complete the verification process?

  • When completing the FAFSA, the student, and all required "contributors" (individuals who are required to provide their financial information on a student's FAFSA - parents of a dependent student and the spouse of an independent student) consent to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) transferring their 2022 tax information to the Department of Education (ED). This is done through a data-exchange program called the FUTURE Act Direct Data Exchange (FADDX). If this process is successful, any Federal Tax Information (FTI) imported into the application is considered to be verified.
    • However, if any income data is manually provided by the student and/or another required contributor, or the student and/or another required contributor did not file a tax return, we are required to collect the following documentation of income depending on your circumstances:
      • For contributors who filed a 2022 Federal Tax Return we are required to obtain a signed copy of your and/or your parent(s)' 2022 Federal Tax Return(s) that was submitted to the IRS.  If you and/or your parent(s) do not have a signed copy of your 2022 Federal Tax Return, you must go to the IRS website to request a copy of your 2022 Tax Return Transcript for you and/or your parent(s).  An IRS account must be created to obtain the transcript. You will submit this documentation via the College Board IDOC Service. 
        • For contributors who amended their 2022 tax return, you must submit a signed copy of your 2022 IRS Form 1040-X in addition to the original 2022 Form 1040.
        • For parents of dependent students who reside outside of the United States and file taxes in their home country, you must submit the tax return filed to your government's revenue authority documenting 2022 income.  
      • For independent students, or for a parent who did not file a 2022 Federal Tax Return, AND the FADDX transfer process is not successful, obtain and submit a “Verification of non-filing letter” from the IRS, attesting that they did not file a 2022 IRS income tax return. Request the letter online by using the IRS Get Transcript Service. If you are unable to request the transcript online, complete Form 4506-T and check Box 7 to request the Verification of non-filing letter.
        • For dependent students whose parents live abroad and are not US Citizens or permanent residents, you should request a “Verification of Non-filing Letter” from your government's revenue authority, attesting that you did not file a 2022 Federal Tax Return. If you are unable to request this letter, please contact the Financial Aid Office directly.
      • For dependent students, who did not file a 2022 Federal Tax Return, upload a Non-Tax Filer's Statement to the College Board IDOC Service.
    • Regardless of whether the FADDX is successful or not, if you - either the student and/or your parents (if dependent) or spouse (if independent) - earned income in 2022 and did not file a tax return, you will also need to upload documentation of your income earned from working, such as W-2 statements.
      • For dependent students whose parents live abroad, upload government-issued documentation of employment earnings equivalent to Form W-2 in the United States.
    • Some contributors may fall into more unusual circumstances. If these situations apply, please contact the Financial Aid Office directly for guidance on what needs to be submitted:
      • Contributor qualifies for an extension in filing their 2022 Federal Tax Return;
      • Contributor is a victim of identity theft.
  • Next, complete the Federal Verification Worksheet for dependent students or independent students. If you are having trouble using the Federal Verification Worksheet online, you may alternately complete the 2024-2025 Verification Worksheet. You will submit this document via the College Board IDOC Service
  • If you are required to complete the statement of educational purpose, a member of our office will reach out to you at the appropriate time in the verification process to schedule a meeting. If you are unable to meet with a member of our office in-person, you may bring the form and the required government ID to a notary public. The form will be provided to you when a member of our office reaches out to you and schedules the meeting. If you are able meet in-person with a member of the Financial Aid Office, the staff member will collect the form from you during the meeting. If - and only if - you meet with a notary public,  you will need to present the financial aid office with both a hard copy of the Statement of Educational Purpose and a copy of the photo ID used by the notary to verify your identity.

What is the deadline to complete the verification process?

If you are selected for verification, you have 30 days from the date of notification to submit the required documentation. No federal financial aid funds will be credited to your account until the verification process is complete. Failure to submit the required documentation within 30 days may result in loss of all federal financial aid as well as any other aid that could be affected by the result of the verification process.


How will I learn the results of the verification process?

If the process produces a change to your federal aid eligibility, you will be notified of the result of verification via an updated award notice and email from the Financial Aid Office.