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Undergraduate Financial Aid

Applying for Aid

Federal Verification and Institutional Review

Each year, approximately 30% of financial aid applications are selected for either federal verification or institutional review. For these applications, the verification or review process must be completed before we can provide a financial aid award letter.

What's the difference between federal verification and institutional review?

Applications that are selected for federal verification are chosen by the U.S. Department of Education; applications that are selected for institutional review are chosen by the University of Denver. In both cases, additional documentation is required before we can offer financial aid.

What happens if my application is selected?

If you are selected for federal verification or institutional review, we must verify that the information you submitted on your financial aid application is true and correct. We will notify you via email if you have been selected.

If you do not wish to apply for any need-based assistance, however, this process is not required. It's also not required if you plan to take part only in the Federal Parent PLUS or unsubsidized loan programs, or if you are certain you will not be attending DU within the academic year. Contact us if you are selected and either of these circumstances apply.

What do I need to submit?

If selected for federal verification or institutional review, you will receive an email from our office indicating you (and your parents, if applicable) will need to submit one or more of the following items:

  • Verification Worksheet
  • Student and/or parent tax return transcripts (obtained directly from the IRS)
  • Student and/or parent W-2s
  • Student and/or parent tax returns

Not all documents will be required of all students.

Tax returns, tax return transcripts, and W-2s should be from the year prior to the academic year for which you are applying for aid (for example, for the 2016-17 academic year, you should submit documents from 2015). You may be able to utilize the IRS data retrieval tool to update your FAFSA instead of submitting a tax return transcript (if a transcript was requested). In addition to reviewing the email sent from our office, you can view outstanding requirements by logging into PioneerWeb.

I need to submit a tax return transcript. How do I get it?

You can request a copy of your transcript through the IRS website; go to www.irs.gov and click on "Get a Tax Transcript." A few notes about tax transcripts:

  • In general, if you filed your tax return electronically, a transcript should be available within 2-3 weeks. If you filed a paper return, you will need to wait 6-8 weeks before requesting a transcript. Learn more about transcript availability >>
  • Transcripts are mailed within 5-10 calendar days.
  • If your address has changed since you filed your tax return, you'll need to file Form 8822 before getting a transcript (it generally takes 4-6 weeks to process a change of address).
  • You may also call 1-800-908-9946 to request your tax transcript instead of ordering one online.
Using IRS Data Retrieval Instead of Getting a Tax Transcript

Using the IRS data retrieval tool may eliminate the need to submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript because it will import your tax return data directly into your application. Generally, you can use this tool 2-3 weeks after submitting your taxes electronically (8-11 weeks if you filed a paper tax return). To use data retrieval to correct your FAFSA after you have already submitted it:

  1. Log into www.fafsa.ed.gov.
  2. Click "Make FAFSA Corrections," enter your login information and click "Next."
  3. Click on the "Financial Information" link toward the top of the page.
  4. Choose "Already completed" from the drop-down box, check the "None of the above" box (provided this is appropriate for your tax return) and click "Next."
  5. Enter your PIN and click "Link to IRS." You'll be taken to the IRS website.
  6. Enter the required information and click "Submit." If your information was successfully validated, your tax return information will appear. Click "Transfer Now" and then "OK" to return to the FAFSA website.
  7. Click on the "Sign and Submit" link toward the top of the page and submit your corrections.

When do I need to submit this documentation?

The priority deadline for new students to submit requested documents is March 1st; the priority deadline for continuing students is April 1st. If you miss that deadline, submit your documents as soon as possible, as we cannot generate an award package for you until we complete the federal verification/institutional review process.

The final deadline for federal verification is the student's last day of attendance during an academic year or June 30 of the academic year, whichever is first. Students submitting documents after the final deadline will not be eligible for financial aid for that year.

A Note About Federal Verification Results

If federal verification documents reveal inaccuracies in your FAFSA, your application will be corrected electronically by a member of our office. If a correction is made, an email may be sent to the address listed on the FAFSA indicating a change has been made to the file. If incomplete or inadequate verification documents are submitted, you will be notified of discrepancies by email and instructed on how to correct them.

Federal verification or institutional review may result in a change to your financial aid award. If so, you will be notified of any changes. You are encouraged to contact us for an explanation of corrections and amended awards.

Should our review of your financial aid application reveal you may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with your application, we are required to report this information to the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education for investigation. Examples of such information include (but are not limited to) false claims of independent student status, false claims of citizenship, use of false identities, forgery of signatures or certificates and false statements of income.