Federal Verification

Selected for Federal Verification? Find general information and instructions for completing the verification process on this page. 

What is Federal Verification?

Verification is the process schools are required to use to confirm the data reported on a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The University of Pennsylvania is required to ensure the information submitted on the FAFSA is accurate and consistent. The University is also required to resolve any conflicting information, inconsistencies, or errors made on FAFSA applications to ensure the integrity of federal student financial aid programs.

Why Was I Selected? 

A student’s FAFSA may be chosen randomly for Federal Verification, or it may be chosen because it included estimated, incomplete, or inconsistent information.

What Happens Next? 

In this process, Penn will be comparing information from your FAFSA application with copies of your and your parent’s Federal tax transcripts, W2 forms, or other financial documents. The law states we have the right to ask you for this information before awarding federal aid. If there are differences between your FAFSA application information and your financial documents, you or the University may need to make corrections electronically or by using your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Students selected for verification should complete the requested verification worksheet (download below) and submit all requested documents as soon as possible to prevent delays in awarding federal need-based aid.

Failure to complete verification in a timely manner may lead to cancellation of aid. Upon review of the documentation you submit, additional information may be required; notification of such will be made as quickly as possible. You will be notified if FAFSA corrections result in changes/cancellation of award(s).

Please submit any required documents via our secure document upload portal. Please do not email financial documents.

Tips for Collecting Your Data

The best way to verify income is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) that is part of FAFSA on the web at www.FAFSA.ed.gov.

You can obtain a Federal Tax Return Transcript by calling the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 or requesting a transcript via the IRS website. Make sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and NOT the “IRS Tax Account Transcript.

In most cases, for electronic filers, an IRS Tax Return Transcript may be requested from the IRS within 2-3 weeks after the IRS income tax return has been accepted by the IRS. Generally, for filers of paper IRS income tax returns, the Tax Transcript may be requested within 8-11 weeks after the paper return has been received by the IRS.