Completing the Financial Aid Process- Verification Process

Some FAFSA applications may be selected for " verification " by the Central Processing System or LaGrange College.  Verification is the process of evaluating the accuracy of the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  If you are selected for verification, you will be asked to submit documentation to verify the accuracy of  the data elements reported on the FAFSA.  The U.S. Department of Education annually issues a list of data elements that must be reviewed and acceptable documentation of the data element.  The Financial Aid Office will send you a "missing information letter" by e-mail or home address detailing the additional information need to complete verification and/or complete your file. All requested information must be provided to LaGrange College Financial Aid Office within 60 days of the notification date. If the requested documentation is unavailable at the time of the request, an extension can be granted provided the Financial Aid Office receives a written request explaining the reason the documentation is not provided and an estimated date the information will be available. The data elements that must be verified for 2016-2017 are:
  • Number of household members
  • Number of household members enrolled at least half-time in college
  • Adjusted Gross Income
  • U.S. taxes paid
  • Untaxed income
  • Income earned from work
  • Receipt of food stamps
  • Child support paid.
LaGrange College's Verification Policy and list of acceptable documentation for these data elements can be accessed here.  LaGrange College students selected for verification cannot be awarded federal financial aid until the verification process is completed. 

If after completion of the verification process discrepancies are found, the Financial Aid Office will transmit the corrected information to the Central Processor. You will receive a revised Student Aid Report (SAR) reflecting the updated information. Once your file is complete, it will proceed to the packaging phase where an official award will be sent to you.  The financial aid award process begins in early March.

You can eliminate most of the information necessary to complete verification by taking advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool Process.

Helpful Hint:

Take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Most applicants for federal student aid can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web by taking advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Process.  The IRS Data Retrieval Process allows the applicant and his/her parents or spouse, if applicable, to populate income information directly from their federal tax returns. Utilizing IRS Data Retrieval will save time and reduce the likelihood of an applicant’s FAFSA being selected for verification because unchanged income information transferred directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is considered accurate and verified.  It is estimated that 84 percent of FAFSA filers can take advantage of IRS Data Retrieval when completing their initial application or later as an update or correction to the FAFSA to satisfy verification.

In order to use the IRS Data Retrieval Process, the applicant and/or parents or spouse, if applicable, must have a

  •  Valid Social Security Number;
  •  Federal student aid Personal Identification Number (PIN); and
  •  2015 Federal Tax Return on file IRS.

IRS Data Retrieval is available beginning in early February.  The IRS estimates that tax information for electronic tax return filers will be available within 1-2 weeks of submission and 6-8 weeks for paper tax return filers.

Although most FAFSA of the Web applicants will be able to take advantage of IRS Data Retrieval, the following applicants cannot use this tool.
  •  Parents of a dependent student who file separate federal income tax returns (i.e. married filing separately or head of household)
  • Student or parent of a dependent student who have a change in marital status after the end of the tax year
  •  Student or parent of a dependent student filed an amended return
  •  A Puerto Rican or foreign tax return was filed