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Selected for Federal Verification? Find general information and instructions for completing the verification process on this page.
Verification is a federal regulation that requires colleges and universities to verify the information provided by students and parents on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges and universities have varying rules regarding who must be selected for verification. 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.
After you complete your FAFSA, you will receive a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR). You can check your SAR to see if the Department of Education selected your FAFSA for Federal Verification. If you have been selected, you will see an asterisk (*) next to your Expected Family Contribution number (EFC). The Student Financial Aid Office will also notify you via your Penn email address if you are selected for verification.
A student’s FAFSA may be chosen randomly for Federal Verification, or it may be chosen because it included estimated, incomplete, or inconsistent information.
In this process, Penn will be comparing information from your FAFSA application with copies of your, your parent’s, and/or your spouse'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 within 30 days from the date requested to prevent delays in awarding federal need-based aid.
Failure to complete verification in a timely manner may lead to cancellation of aid. If we need to request additional information after reviewing the documentation you submit, we will notify you as quickly as possible. We will also notify you if FAFSA corrections result in changes/cancellation of award(s).
For those having difficulty with the verification process, aid packages will be processed but funds will not disburse until verification can be completed. Students who do not provide requested documentation by the 60th day of enrollment may lose Federal Work-Study eligibility. Eligibility may be reinstated if documents are submitted later, if funds are available. Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Loans, or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants cannot be processed or credited until the verification process has been completed.
Log in to Penn InTouch to view financial aid application status and outstanding required documents under Financial Aid > Application Status on the left navigation bar.
You can download necessary verification worksheets at the bottom of this page.
All documents need to:
- Be signed by the student and parent (if the student is a dependent)
- Include the student's 9-digit Penn I.D. number
- Not have blanks— if the answer to a question is zero, enter the number “0” (zero)
Please submit any required documents via our secure document upload portal. Please do not email financial documents.
We will contact you at your Penn email address if there are any issues or if we require additional information.
Processing verification is a manual process and may take several weeks. We appreciate your patience as we work through high volume processing times. Monitor you Penn email and Penn InTouch. When the verification process is complete, your financial aid award will be updated and your federal aid will be disbursed to your student account within seven days.
We recommend not waiting until you return for the semester to submit your forms, as this will cause a large spike in volume and processing times and may result in greater delays to the disbursement of your federal aid. Our upload function does not connect directly with Penn InTouch. Please allow a few business days for the status to update in Penn InTouch.
If your EFC changes as the result of verification, your financial aid award may be adjusted. Monitor your award and @upenn.edu e-mail. When an aid adjustment is made, financial aid awards will be updated via Penn-In-Touch. Any resulting balance on your student account will be your responsibility.
The best way to verify income is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) that you can access while completing the FAFSA online.
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.
You can also provide a legible, signed copy of page one and two of IRS Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, a tax return from Puerto Rico, or a foreign income tax return filed for the specified year. Note: Foreign tax returns must have each line translated to English.
Options for taxpayers who did not keep a copy of their tax return or require a verification of non-filing letter:
- Access the tax software product used to prepare and file your tax return. You may be able to access your account to download and print a copy.
- Contact the tax preparer or provider who filed your tax return.
- To access your transcript immediately, download your tax transcript at Get Transcript Online. Review the identity authentication requirements for Secure Access before attempting to register.
- Use Get Transcript by Mail. The IRS will mail a transcript to the address on your return within 10 days.
- File Form 4506-T. The IRS will mail a transcript to the address on your return within 10 days.
- Call the IRS’s automated line at 800-908-9946 to order a transcript by mail. The IRS will mail a transcript to the address on your return within 10 days.
- If you filed an amended tax return, Form 1040-X, you should use the adjusted gross income and earned income listed on your revised tax return.