Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

Federal Verification

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Your 2018-19 FAFSA may be selected by the Department of Education for a process known as Federal Verification. If selected, Columbia is required to verify your family’s household and financial information on the FAFSA in order to confirm your eligibility for Federal Aid.

You can determine the specific verification documents required by logging in to our Financial Aid Document Tracking system.

1. Federal Verification Worksheet

In order to verify your custodial parent(s)’ household information, you will need to submit a verification worksheet. Please read the instructions on the relevant worksheet carefully; incomplete worksheets will need further review and explanation.

2. Income Information

All taxpayers, parent(s) and/or the student, must submit documentation of their filed 2016 U.S. Federal Tax Return. You may choose one of the following methods to satisfy this requirement:

  • 2016 IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT): Transfer 2016 tax information directly from the IRS to your FAFSA. Detailed instructions are available here.
  • 2016 IRS Tax Return Transcript: Requested online, by phone, or by mail from the IRS. Please note that only a Tax Return Transcript will be sufficient for this process; do not request or submit any other type of transcript.
  • If your parent(s) were not required to file a 2016 Federal Tax Return, they must provide an IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter. This document can be requested online or by mail using a 4506-T form.
    • Student are not required to verify they did not file a 2016 tax return.

Related FAQs

What if I or my parent(s) filed an amended 2015 tax return (1040X)?

The taxpayer who amended his or her return will need to provide a signed copy of the 2015 1040X form, along with a copy of the updated 1040, 1040A, or 1040 EZ form, and a Tax Return Transcript. The Tax Return Transcript will show the originally filed information with the IRS and will not update to the amended information. Use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not be sufficient documentation for the purposes of verification.

What if I or my parent(s) only filed a foreign tax return?

If you or your parent(s) only filed a foreign tax return for 2015, then you do not need to request additional information from the IRS. Please contact us to confirm which documents to submit.

What if I or my parent(s) are a victim of identity theft?

If you are a victim of identity theft, you will be unable to provide a Tax Return Transcript and will be unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer your information from the IRS to your FAFSA. You should submit instead a Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV), as well as a signed and dated statement indicating that you were victims of tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of it. You can do this by calling the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 800-908-4490.