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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 Student Aid Report (SAR) to see if your FAFSA was selected for Federal Verification by the Department of Education.  You had been sent this SAR soon after you completed your FAFSA. If you have been selected, you will see an asterisk (*) next to your Expected Family Contribution number (EFC). 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?
  • If you, the student, and/or your parent(s) filed a 2020 Federal Tax Return we are required to obtain a signed copy of your and/or your parent(s)' 2020 Federal Tax Return(s) that was submitted to the IRS.  You and/or your parent(s) may also use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in your 2022-23 FAFSA so that the correct tax information is transferred to our office.  If you already used this Data Retrieval Tool successfully when you first filed the FAFSA, you do not have to use it again.  If you and/or your parent(s) do not have a signed copy of your 2020 Federal Tax Return and are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you must go to the IRS website to request a copy of your 2020 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 independent students, or for a parent who did not file a 2020 Federal Tax Return, obtain and submit a “Verification of Nonfiling Letter” from the IRS, attesting that they did not file a 2020 IRS income tax return. Complete Form 4506-T and check Box 7 to request this Letter.
    • For dependent students, who did not file a 2020 Federal Tax Return, upload a Non-Tax Filer's Statement to the College Board IDOC Service.
    • If you - either the student and/or your parents - earned income in 2020 and did not file a tax return, you will also need to upload documentation of the income earned from working, such as W-2 statements.
  • 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 2022-2023 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 upload a copy of the statement of educational purpose and ID presented to the notary to IDOC.
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.