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Verification

What is Verification?

Students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be selected for “Verification.” The Department of Education selects certain FAFSAs to be verified. The Office of Financial Aid is required to verify that the data submitted on the FAFSA is accurate and true. Not all students are selected for Verification. It is important for students to check their Student Aid Report (SAR) which is provided by the Department of Education. The SAR will be sent to the email provided on your FAFSA within 5-7 business days after submitting your FAFSA. If your EFC has an asterisk (*) next to it, you have been selected for Verification. Also reference the information below on other ways to know if you’re chosen for the Verification process.

The Office of Financial Aid is responsible for resolving any possible conflicting information provided on the FAFSA. Documentation and/or information will be requested and compared to the information provided on the FAFSA for accuracy. Additional documentation and/or information may be requested as needed. Make sure all required documentation and/or information is submitted as soon as possible. Verification can take from two to four weeks to complete once all documentation and/or information is received. Eligibility cannot be determined and aid cannot be awarded until the Verification process is complete. All documentation and/or information is mandated by the Federal Government and refusal to submit the necessary documentation will prohibit any Federal Student Aid from being awarded.

Once the data has been verified, the GHC Office of Financial Aid will make any necessary corrections (if applicable) on the FAFSA. The corrections are then sent to the Department of Education. From there, it can take from 5-7 business days for the corrected FAFSA to be received by the GHC Office of Financial Aid. Then any applicable aid will be determined and added to the student’s account.

For additional guidance on the FAFSA and Verification, reference this information on the Federal Student Aid website

Are you chosen for Verification?

There are two ways to check for the Verification requirement:

  1. Check your SAR report (Student Aid Report) by logging into www.fafsa.gov.

Another way to retrieve your SAR report is to check the email you provided on the FAFSA which will have a link to the SAR report. This email will be sent to you within 5-7 business days after submitting your FAFSA. If your EFC has an asterisk (*) next to it on that report, you have been selected for Verification. 

  1. Monitor your SCORE account on the Check Financial Aid Status page for the appropriate aid year to see if there is a Verification requirement. An aid year encompasses fall, spring, and summer.

Verification Steps:

If you’re chosen for the Verification process based on checking your SAR report and/or your SCORE account:

  1. Go to highlands.verifymyfafsa.com and log in with your GHC student email and password.
  2. Create an account (make sure to provide the first and last name you used on the FAFSA  and remember when filling out the FAFSA that you should use the name which appears on your Social Security card).
  3. Fill out the electronic worksheet found at the above link and upload any requested documentation and/or information at this link.
  4. Monitor the above link AND your GHC student email for any further requests for documents and/or information.

Once all required documents and information are received, the Verification process can take from TWO to FOUR WEEKS.

Click here for a detailed worksheet explaining how to do your Verification.

How do I know my Verification progress?

You should monitor the progress of your Verification by doing the following:

  1. Monitor highlands.verifymyfafsa.com for any further requests for documents and/or information.
  2. Also monitor your GHC student email for any further requests for documents and/or information.
  3. Monitor your SCORE account on the Check Financial Aid Status link for the appropriate aid year for Verification completion and any applicable financial aid offers. An aid year encompasses fall, spring, and summer.
  4. Monitor your Schedule/Bill for the appropriate semester for any applicable financial aid offers.
  5. You can also email finaid@highlands.edu for updates.

What TAX DOCUMENTS are acceptable?

Please note that there has been a change as of 2020 in how tax documentation can be retrieved from the IRS Office (see below):

Tax Filers

TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT OR 1040s for the appropriate tax year

  • www.irs.gov (print a tax return transcript online)
  • Call the IRS Office at 1-800-908-9946 for assistance in getting tax forms mailed to you
  • Mail or fax IRS form 4506-T to the IRS to request tax forms (NOT RECOMMENDED)

Please note that the FAFSA will require tax information from two years prior so keep this in mind when retrieving tax documents. This is known as the prior prior year tax regulation.

If you used Turbo Tax, you should be able to retrieve your 1040s from their website if you have submitted your tax information to be filed.

Non-Tax Filers who did NOT earn income (except for dependent students who didn’t work or earn income for the tax year)

NON-FILER STATEMENT for the appropriate tax year

  • www.irs.gov (print a Non-Filer Statement online)
  • Call the IRS Office at 1-800-908-9946 for assistance in getting tax forms mailed to you
  • Mail or fax IRS form 4506-T to the IRS to request Non-Filer Statement (NOT RECOMMENDED)

Please note that the FAFSA will require tax information from two years prior so keep this in mind when retrieving tax documents. This is known as the prior prior year tax regulation.

Non-Tax Filers who worked and earned income but did NOT file taxes

W2s or WAGE AND INCOME SUMMARY STATEMENT for the appropriate tax year

  • www.irs.gov (print a W2/Wage and Income Summary Statement online)
  • Call the IRS Office at 1-800-908-9946 for assistance in getting tax forms mailed to you
  • Mail or fax IRS form 4506-T to the IRS to request W2/Wage and Income Summary Statement (NOT RECOMMENDED)

Please note that the FAFSA will require tax information from two years prior so keep this in mind when retrieving tax documents. This is known as the prior prior year tax regulation.

To contact the IRS, you can call 1-800-908-9946.

Documentation Needed for Verification

If you (the student) or your parent(s)/spouse did not file a tax return, or are unable to retrieve the Tax Return Transcript or 1040s due to an unusual circumstance, review the different categories below to determine what documentation will have to be submitted to our office.

Verification of Income-Individuals with Unusual Circumstances

Individuals Granted a Filing Extension by the IRS

If you or your parent(s)/spouse are required to file an IRS income tax return and have been granted an extension by the IRS, the GHC Office of Financial Aid CANNOT proceed with a Verification UNLESS you were approved for the extension by the IRS past the automatic six-month extension timeframe:

If an individual was approved for the extension by the IRS past the automatic six-month extension timeframe, we would need the following documents:

  • A copy of the IRS approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension for the appropriate tax year if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time.
  • A copy of IRS Form W–2 or Wage and Income Summary Statement for each source of employment income received for the appropriate tax year
  • If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the U.S. income tax paid for the appropriate tax year.

IRS Form 4868 is NO longer required.

Proof of Extension Beyond 6 Months

  • IRS Form 2350, Application for Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return if it indicates extension was approved
  • IRS Record of Account Transcript or any other IRS transcript:
    • if it is dated after automatic 6-month extension ends October 15, 2019
    • if it indicates extension request was filed with IRS (appearance of extension on a tax transcript assumes it was approved)

Individuals Who Filed an Amended IRS Income Tax Return

If you or your parent(s)/spouse filed an amended IRS income tax return, please provide both of the following:

  • A copy of the original IRS Tax Return Transcript or 1040s for the appropriate tax year
  • A signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X for the appropriate tax year (Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) that was filed with the IRS (must be stamped by the IRS).

If the IRS won’t stamp the Form 1040X, you can also submit (along with the signed Form 1040X) an Account Transcript for the appropriate tax year which can be printed at www.irs.gov.

Individuals Who Were Victims of IRS Identity Theft

  • A victim of IRS identity theft who is not able to obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript or 1040s, or cannot use the IRS DRT (Data Retrieval Tool) must contact the IRS at 1-800-908-9946. Upon authentication of the tax filer’s identity, the IRS will provide by U.S. Postal Service, a printout of the tax filer’s IRS income tax return information.

Individuals Who Filed Non-IRS Income Tax Returns

  • An individual who filed or will file an income tax return with Puerto Rico, another U.S. territory (e.g., Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Marianas Islands), or with a foreign country, must provide a signed copy of the income tax return(s).

Verification documentation is mandated by the Federal Government. Our office is required to obtain all necessary information before Federal Student Aid eligibility can be determined.

Deadlines

The Verification process can take from TWO to FOUR weeks to complete once all documentation and information has been submitted to highlands.verifymyfafsa.com. Priority deadlines to turn in all Verification documentation and information are:

FALL Semester – July 1st

SPRING Semester – November 1st

SUMMER Semester – March 1st

Documents and information turned in after the priority deadline will result in a delay of the completion of the Verification process, thereby preventing the financial aid award from being processed by the payment deadline for the semester in which the student is enrolled.