Federal verification is a process implemented by the U.S. Department of Education in which institutions are required to confirm the accuracy of information that students provide on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education may select students for the federal verification process based on random sampling or because the student’s FAFSA data was incomplete, estimated or inconsistent. However, the Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to request additional documentation from financial aid applicants although they are not selected for the federal verification process. Further information may be requested to verify conflicting information or to bring resolution to any other identified conflicts during financial aid processing and disbursement.

Required Documentation

If a student is selected for the federal verification process, the Office of Financial Aid will send an email notification informing the student of unsatisfied requirements that must be met to complete the verification process. The Office of Financial Aid is required, by federal regulations, to request documentation to confirm the information reported on a student’s FAFSA. The required documentation will be listed on the student’s BisonWeb account under “Unsatisfied Requirements.”

To satisfy the request for tax return information, the student or parent must import the data to the FAFSA through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) or request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, which can be obtained free of charge from the IRS. The tax document must be the Return Transcript and not the Account Transcript. The Office of Financial Aid is unable to accept IRS 1040 forms.

Federal verification for the 2019-2020 academic year requires 2017 income tax information. Students and parents who amended their 2017 federal tax return must provide both the IRS Tax Return Transcript and their signed 1040X which notates any changes made to the original IRS Tax Return Transcript.

Verification Deadlines

The Office of Financial Aid will process the verification documentation in the order it is received. However, the review of students’ verification documentation can take up to three (3) weeks to complete. Therefore, if a student delays filing his or her FAFSA and submitting their verification documentation, there can be a significant delay in processing the student’s financial aid. If the student delays one or both processes, then he or she will be required to pay their balance in full or established a satisfactory payment arrangement with the Office of the Bursar to cover their educational expenses out-of-pocket until the student’s financial aid is processed.

2019-2020

Verification Document Submission Deadlines

FAFSA

Attendance

Suggested Deadline

Deadline

2019-2020

Fall semester only

10/28/2019

4/11/2020

2019-2020

Fall and Spring or Spring semester only

3/16/2020

8/29/2020

2019-2020

Fall, Spring and Summer, or Spring and Summer, or Summer semester only

6/1/2020

9/1/2020

 

*We encourage students to submit their required documents well before the suggested deadline, to ensure that the maximum financial aid can be awarded for which the student is eligible. If the student submits the required verification documentation after the suggested deadline, their eligibility may be limited or the student may be ineligible for financial aid.

Federal Verification Process After Receiving Aid

The U.S. Department of Education can select a student for the federal verification process or request additional documentation at any time, including after the student has received financial aid. If the student is selected for the federal verification process or asked to submit additional documentation after receiving financial aid, the Office of Financial Aid will notify the student of the unsatisfied requirements that must be met to the complete the verification process. Until the required verification documentation is submitted, received and processed by the Office of Financial Aid, any federal grants that the student received (e.g., Federal Pell Grant) will be removed from the student’s account with the Office of the Bursar. If the student fails to submit the required verification documentation by the specified deadline (see deadlines above), the student will become ineligible for any future or pending financial aid, as well as institutional aid.

After the Federal Verification Process is Complete

If the Office of Financial Aid discovers any differences between the verification documentation and information reported on a student’s FAFSA, we will make corrections to the FAFSA and submit those corrections to the U.S. Department of Education. Therefore, unless the student or parent is notified by the Office of Financial Aid, the student and parent should not update the FAFSA, as this may cause additional delays in the awarding of the student’s financial aid.

Once the Office of Financial Aid confirms the data reported on the student’s FAFSA, we will reassess the student’s financial aid eligibility and inform the student via email and BisonWeb.

If the federal verification process is completed after the student’s initial financial aid award and receiving a financial aid disbursement, the student’s financial aid eligibility may change as a result of revisions made to the FAFSA. The student may also be required to repay financial aid that was previously awarded and disbursed to their account with Office of Bursar (e.g., changes to the EFC and Federal Pell Grant eligibility).

Satisfying Request for Tax Information

The Office of Financial Aid understands the federal verification process can be challenging. Therefore, we would like to provide some additional information on different methods for retrieving the appropriate tax information from the IRS, which is listed below.

 

Request an IRS Tax Transcript by Phone

  1. Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946.
  2. Follow the prompts to enter the tax filer’s Social Security number (for joint tax return filers, use the primary tax filer’s SSN) and the number of the street address that was listed on the latest tax return filed. However, if the student or parent has since changed their address through the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have already updated the address on file. If so, the student or parent should use the updated address.
  3. Select Option 2 to request an IRS tax return transcript and then enter the appropriate year.
  4. If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS tax return transcript at the address that was used in their telephone request within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request.

 

Request an IRS Tax Return Transcript Online and Receive by Mail

  1. Visit the IRS website.
  2. Click “Get Your Tax Record.”
  3. Click “Get Transcript by Mail.”
  4. Enter the tax filer’s Social Security number (for joint tax return filers, use the primary tax filer’s SSN), date of birth, street address, and zip or postal code.
  5. Enter the address exactly as it appears on the tax return. However, if the student or parent has since changed their address through the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have already updated the address on file. If so, the student or parent should use the updated address.
  6. Click “Continue.”
  7. In the Type of Transcript field, select “Return Transcript” and enter the tax year requested.
  8. If successfully validated, tax filers can expect to receive a paper IRS tax return transcript at the address included in their online request within 5 to 10 days from the time the online request was transmitted to the IRS.

 

Request an IRS Tax Return Transcript Online and Receive Instantly

  1. Visit the IRS website.
  2. Under the Tools section of the homepage, click “Get a Tax Record.”
  3. Click “Get Transcript Online.”
  4. First-time users will need to click “Create Account” to complete the registration process to create an account. Returning users will enter their username and click “Log In.”
  5. Once the student or parent is able to log into their account, the student or parent will be prompted to select a reason for needing a transcript. The student or parent should select the Higher Education/Student Aid option.
  6. The student or parent will then see a list of available transcripts and years. The student or parent should proceed to select the appropriate tax year from the Return Transcript section then proceed to print all pages of the Tax Return Transcript.

 

Request an IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter and Receive by Mail

  1. Download the IRS Form 4506-T.
  2. Complete lines 1 - 4 and follow the instructions on page 3 of the form. Note that line 3 should be the most current address to where the IRS can send the IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter.
  3. The Office of Financial Aid asks that students and parents leave line 5 blank. Do not have the IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter mailed directly to Howard University (i.e., a third party). Note: If you have the IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter mailed directly to Howard University, we may have difficulty matching it with the student’s file, as the IRS redacts the SSN and other information from the document; thus, delaying further the processing of the student’s file.
  4. Select option 7 to receive an IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter.
  5. The student or parent must sign and date the form and enter their telephone number.
  6. The student or parent can mail or fax the completed IRS Form 4506-T to the IRS at the appropriate address (or fax number) provided on pages 1 and 3 of the IRS Form 4506-T.
  7. The student or parent can expect to receive the IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives and processes the signed request.

 

Request an IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter Online and Receive Instantly

  1. Visit the IRS website.
  2. Under the Tools section of the homepage, click “Get a Tax Record.”
  3. Click “Get Transcript Online.”
  4. First-time users will need to click “Create Account” to complete the registration process to create an account. Returning users will enter their username and click “Log In.”
  5. Once the student or parent is able to log into their account, the student or parent will be prompted to select a reason for needing a transcript. The student or parent should select the Higher Education/Student Aid option.
  6. The student or parent will then see a list of available transcripts and years. The student or parent should proceed to select the appropriate tax year from the Verification of Non-Filing Letter section then proceed to print all pages of the Verification of Non-Filing Letter.