Frequently Asked Questions

Being selected for FAFSA verification can be a bit scary at first, but the WSU Office of Financial Aid is here to help. Below you will find answers to the most common questions people have about navigating the verification process. Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.

What is verification and why was I selected?

What is verification?

Verification is the process we use to confirm that the data information reported on the FAFSA is correct.  When a student's FAFSA is selected for verification, we are required to complete the process before disbursing any additional federal financial aid.

Why was I selected for verification?

The federal government randomly selects approximately 1 in 3 applicants for verification to minimize mistakes, reduce fraud, and prevent inadvertent payments.

Why am I selected every year/time I submit a FAFSA here at Wichita State?

Some students are selected by the U.S. Department of Education every year, some just once or twice, and some never at all. However, if your FAFSA is selected for verification by the Department of Education, you will need to complete the process no matter which school you attend.

What happens when I am selected for verification?

Some FAFSAs are selected because of inconsistent information, and others are chosen randomly. The Office of Financial Aid will request copies of your (and if a dependent student, your parents’) IRS tax return(s) and W-2s, as well as a verification worksheet. The information provided by you on the FAFSA is compared to the information submitted. Corrections are made, if necessary, and you are notified of any corrections made and the effect the changes have had on your aid eligibility.

Why does verification go off my taxes two years ago?

The FAFSA is based off taxes from 2 years ago (prior-prior year). If your circumstances have since changed, contact our office to speak with an advisor about the potential for a professional judgment. 

When will my verification be ready/completed?

The process will be completed once all documents are reviewed and the verification specialist has determined there is no additional documentation needed due to conflicting information. It can usually take up to 2 weeks; however this can increase during peak processing times, such as during January, July, and August.

Why am I not considered an independent student?

To be considered independent, you must be 24 years old, have a child/dependent for which you provide 51% of the support, have served active duty in the military, or be married. You may set up an appointment with our office if you have extenuating dependency circumstances.

What is the deadline to submit verification documents?

Documents are processed in the order they are received.  If documents are submitted during peak times (January, July, and August), we cannot guarantee they will be processed before your classes begin.  A list of financial aid deadlines, including verification, is available here.

How will I know if I'm selected for verification?

Once your FAFSA is processed, the comment section of the Student Aid Report (SAR) will clearly indicate that you have been selected for a process called verification and that the school will request certain information from you and your parent(s).

I have submitted all of my verification documents. Why do my requirements still show as unsatisfied? 

Once all verification items are submitted, it can still take several days for the FAFSA to process. Sometimes, due to necessary changes made to the FAFSA as a result of verification (such as the true income has increased), additional information is then required by the Department of Education before your eligibility can be determined.

One of the more common additional items that is required to be reported when income increases is the amount in cash, savings, checking, investment net worth, and business net worth. Our office has no control over when this information will be required and when it will not be required. Other times, you may have outstanding requirements that have nothing to do with verification, such as eligibility requirements or satisfactory academic progress requirements.

Required Forms

Why is my verification worksheet still incomplete?

Verification worksheets are usually incomplete because they were not signed (or have a typed signature) or Section A-Household Size was not completed correctly. 

What are tax forms?

They are documents you have when you file your taxes.

What are the exact pages I would need from my parent's taxes?

You need both 1040 pages (sometimes combined into 1 page) and Schedules 1-3, if filed in the original return. The 1040 must be physically signed by the tax filer or have the necessary tax preparer information listed.

What IRS forms can be accepted in place of other tax forms?

Tax Return Transcript: 1040 Income Tax Return

Wage and Income Transcript: W-2 Forms

Account Transcript: 1040-X (Amended Income Tax Return)

Record of Account Transcript: Either 1040 or 1040-X information or both

Visit irs.gov for additional details.

What are the schedules you are requesting?  What do they look like?

Schedules are part of the tax return.  Additional information is available here.

Schedule 1: Used for Additional Income and Adjustments to Income

Picture of IRS Schedule 1 Form

Schedule 2: Used for Additional Taxes

Picture of IRS Schedule 2 Form

Schedule 3: Used for Nonrefundable Credits

Picture of IRS Schedule 3 Form

What is the difference between the Tax Return Transcript and the Account Transcript?

The tax return transcript (called return transcript) has the same information as a 1040.  An account transcript has information from a 1040X (amended tax return). You can request the following types of transcripts:

  • Return Transcript
  • Record of Account Transcript
  • Account Transcript
  • Wage & Income Transcript

Picture of IRS website for types of transcripts

I submitted my verification worksheet, but I do not have a W-2 from the job I worked at in 20xx. What can I submit in place of my W-2?

You can submit a wage and income transcript. If you are unable to obtain a wage and income transcript from the IRS, contact the Office of Financial Aid for further potential options.

What am I still missing for this process?

You can check any missing requirements in your myWSU student portal.

What if...?

I did not file taxes in 20xx, what do I need to do?

Dependent students: Mark "did not file" on the Dependent Verification worksheet.

Independent students: Ask the IRS for a "Verification of Non-filing Letter."  If you have tried, and are unable to obtain the IRS letter, fill out the non-filing worksheet.

If you had also wages: Send us W-2s for the appropriate tax year.

Verification of non-filing letter: The letter of non-filing status can be obtained from the IRS by submitting the Form 4506-T to the IRS. A former tax filer can obtain this confirmation of non-filing using the IRS Get Transcript Online feature but only if the tax filer has filed taxes before and is able to set up an account with the IRS. This typically means the tax filer needs some sort of credit in their name (credit card, auto loan, etc.) and a mobile phone number in their name.

I was not married in 20xx, why do you need my spouse's tax information?

You are now considered one household, and we need the income for the entire household for 20xx, including your spouse's, even though you weren't married during the tax year.  Federal regulations require us to verify income of both the student and spouse, even if they weren’t married during the tax period requested.

My parent wasn’t married in 20xx, why do I still need to submit my stepparent’s tax information?

If your parent is now married, federal regulations require us to verify the income of both parents and student.

I’ve been instructed to submit a written statement. What do I need to include in my written statement?

This depends on what the written statement is needed for — it could be used for several different things such as W2s, household members, parent marital status, etc.

The details needed for the written statement have been emailed to your Shocker student email account (@shockers.wichita.edu), since it may be a written statement needed from the student or from the parent(s). 

Where do I (student/parent) provide my signature on the tax form?  What if I signed on the wrong page?

Where do I sign? An original signature is required on the tax form, usually in the "Sign Here" section, but we can accept an original signature anywhere on the tax form.  

What is an original signature? An original signature is one where the tax filer has physically signed the document in some manner, not just typed their name.

How do I sign? Some computer applications, such as Adobe, will allow you to sign with a mouse or with your finger on a tablet/phone.  You may also print a paper copy of the tax forms and sign them by hand.

My parents didn’t file taxes in 20xx. What do we need to do to complete this process?

We need verification of non-tax filing (for all parents on your FAFSA) as well as W2s for parents who also had wages. If your parents would have been required to file taxes in 20xx, then they will need to file taxes before verification can be completed.

Verification of non-filing letter: The letter of non-filing status can be obtained from the IRS by submitting the Form 4506-T to the IRS. A former tax filer can obtain this confirmation of non-filing using the IRS Get Transcript Online feature but only if the tax filer has filed taxes before and is able to set up an account with the IRS. This typically means the tax filer needs some sort of credit in their name (credit card, auto loan, etc.) and a mobile phone number in their name.

I tried using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) for my/my parent’s taxes. It didn’t work. Why didn’t it work for me/us?

The IRS matching requirements are very precise (to protect taxpayer identities), so it is not always apparent what the matching issue could be, but some common issues are:

  • you or your parents recently filed taxes.
  • the address information on the tax return does not exactly match what the IRS has on file for that tax year.
  • your or your parents’ marital status has changed.
  • the filing status you listed does not match the tax return.