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Verification Frequently Asked Questions

What is verification and why did I get selected?

Verification is the review process used to make sure the information you entered on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is accurate.    
The U.S Department of Education selects students for verification. UMass Lowell may also select applicants for verification to correct any potential conflicts in information. 
If your FAFSA is selected for verification, per federal guidelines, we are required to collect all necessary documentation from you and your parents or spouse (if married). In order to confirm the data that was reported. The Financial Aid Office (FAO) will submit correction directly with U.S Department of Education should there be information that needs to be updated.
If the FAO suspects that a student or other individual has misreported information and/or altered documentation to increase student aid eligibility or to fraudulently obtain federal funds, it must report those suspicions and provide any evidence to the Department of Education's Office of Inspector General.

How will I know if I have been selected for verification?

When a FAFSA is selected for verification, the Financial Aid Office will send out a notifications to you via email with instructions to log in to your Financial Aid Portal to view, complete, upload and e-sign required documentation.

How long do I have to complete verification?

It is your responsibility to submit the required verification documentation to their Financial Aid Portal within 30 days from the date of your notification and federal guidelines.

What happens if I don't complete verification?

If you fail to submit verification documents and complete the process, you will not be eligible for Title IV aid. Incomplete verification may result in cancellation of your financial aid.

What documents do I need to provide for verification?

If you are a DEPENDENT student you will need to complete and upload the following documents to your Financial Aid Portal: 

  • Complete Dependent Verification Webform
  • Upload Student and Parent IRS Tax Return Transcripts; It is strongly encouraged you use the IRS Data Retrieval (DRT) option 

If you are an INDEPENDENT student you will need to complete and upload the following documents to your Financial Aid Portal: 

  • Complete Independent Verification Webform
  • Upload Student and Spouse (if married) IRS Tax Return Transcripts; It is strongly encouraged you use the IRS Data Retrieval (DRT) option  
Additional documents may be required. Log in to your Financial Aid Portal to view.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) Option?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is the fastest and easiest option to transfer your income tax information from the IRS directly to the FAFSA online. We strongly encourage you to use the IRS DRT to reduce errors and the chances of being selected for the verification process. 

Why should I use the IRS Data Retrieval Option?

  • Reduces the chances of being selected for verification
  • If selected for verification, it will satisfy the tax return transcript requirement 
  • Tax Information on the FAFSA will be the most accurate
  • You can use the DRT to update your income information and avoid unnecessary processing delays
  • It is the most effective way to prevent conflicting information on the FAFSA
  • It is strongly encouraged by the Department of Education and Financial Aid Administrators 

What if I can't use the IRS Data Retrieval Option?

If you meet any of the criteria below, you will NOT be able to use the DRT: 
  • Filing status is ‘Married Filing Separately’ or ‘Head of Household’
  • Marital status has changed as of January 1 of the corresponding tax year
  • Filed an amended tax return
  • Filed a foreign or Puerto Rican return in lieu of federal return

If you cannot use the DRT, you will need to upload hard copies of your tax return transcripts to your Financial Aid Portal if requested by the school.

What is an IRS Non Filing Letter from the IRS?

The IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter provides proof that the IRS has no record of an income tax return form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ filed for the year you requested. Non Tax filers can request this IRS Verification of Non-filing of their tax return status from the IRS online, by phone or by mail.  

Please note that if you encounter any log-in issues when trying to request this letter online using the “Get Transcript ONLINE” option, you should still be able to request the letter on-line by using the “Get Transcript by MAIL” option.

How do I know you received my documents?

You may check the status of documents submitted in your Financial Aid Portal. Once successfully submitted you will see a 'Congratulations' message.

How long does verification take?

Generally, once all of the requested verification documents are received, the verification review process can take up to 10 business days to complete. If additional information is needed to resolve any further discrepancies, the review process may take longer.

I submitted all of the documents needed for Verification. Why are you requesting more?

Some of the reasons additional information may be requested include, but are not limited to: 
  • Required documentation is incomplete
    • Missing signatures 
    • Missing Pages 
    • Not legible
    • Discrepancies found that need to be resolved
 An email, letting you know what information is still needed to complete verification, will be sent to your UML student email. You can also view missing documents in your Financial Aid Portal.

What happens if there are changes to my information once verification is complete?

The Financial Aid Office will submit corrections directly with U.S Department of Education should there be information that needs to be updated. If the corrections result in a change to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), your financial aid will be adjusted based on the new EFC. An email will be sent to your student email account letting you know about the changes. You can also see these changes on your SiS Student Center.

Can I make changes to my FAFSA after verification is complete?

No. Changes made to the FAFSA after verification is complete will not be accepted by the school. If you have any questions contact The Solution Center.