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California State University, Long Beach

What is verification?

Verification is a process used to verify certain information on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy.

The U.S. Department of Education or the Office of Financial Aid may, at any time, select your application for verification based upon the information you have provided. We are required to make sure that all aid is awarded to students according to federal, state, and institutional regulations. If selected, the verification process must be completed before financial aid can be awarded.

Why is my file being verified?

While there are several reasons why a student may be selected for verification some leading causes are:

  • The submitted FAFSA application has incomplete data.
  • The data on the FAFSA application appears to contradict itself.
  • The FAFSA application has estimated information on it.
  • Random selection

What items are being verified?

You and/or your parents may be asked to submit documentation or clarification of information for one or more of the following data elements on your FAFSA:

  • Adjusted Gross Income
  • Taxes Paid
  • Income Earned from Work (for non-tax filers)
  • Certain Untaxed Income Items
  • Number of family members in the household
  • Number of family members enrolled in college (excluding parents for a dependent student)
  • Receipt of Food Stamps/SNAP Benefit
  • Child Support Paid
  • Citizenship status
  • Compliance with Selective Service registration requirement
  • Any other inconsistent or conflicting information (including name, date of birth, social security number, etc.)

How will I know I have been selected?

Typically, students can expect to receive an email notification that they have been selected for verification within 10 – 14 days after the Office of Financial Aid received the student’s FAFSA results from the federal processor. (Note: CSU Long Beach will not begin sending out notifications to students until April 6th).

If you receive the “CSULB Financial Aid Status - Action Required” notification you will need to follow the steps outlined in that communication to complete your file – as well access any required forms.

What documents do I need to submit if I am selected for verification?

The documents required will vary based on each student. The "CSULB Financial Aid Status - Action Required" email will detail the specific items you must verify, as well as provide instructions on how to access any required forms.

PLEASE NOTE: All forms for the verification process are barcoded and personalized for each student. As a result, we can only accept the CSU Long Beach forms – which are available by following the instructions in the "Action Required" email. Blank, non-personalized copies of forms will not be available or accepted.

How do I verify my income?

The documents that we can now accept to verify your tax information have changed based on policy changes from the U.S. Department of Education.  Either a tax transcript from the IRS or your FAFSA filed using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool are the only two ways to verify tax data starting with the 2012-13 academic year. 

If you have filed your taxes with the IRS, you should log into your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and make a correction to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your tax information.  If you do not, or cannot, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will be required to obtain a tax transcript from the IRS and submit it to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Personal copies of tax returns can no longer be accepted.

The fastest way to request your Tax Transcript is either by phone or online.

Please make sure you request a Tax Transcript. DO NOT request a Tax Account Transcript or Record of Account unless directed by our office to do so.

Ordering a Tax Transcript by Phone:

  • Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, then select the following prompts:
  • Option 2 (Personal Income Taxes)
  • Option 1 (Tax History)
  • Option 2 (Tax Return Transcript)
  • Enter and verify Social Security number (if joint return both SSN’s required)
  • Enter and verify number of street address
  • Press 2 for Tax Transcript and indicate which year (i.e. 2011)

Ordering a Tax Transcript Online:

  • Go to www.irs.gov, then select the following:
  • Click “Order a Tax Return or Account Transcript located in the left-hand column
  • Click “Order a Transcript under Step 3
  • Enter your SSN, Date of Birth, Street Address, and Zip Code (Be sure to use the address currently on file with the IRS (generally this will be the address that was listed on the latest tax return filed; however, if an address change has been completed through the US Postal Service, the IRS may have updated the address on file).
  • Click Continue
  • In the TYPE OF TRANSCRIPT field, select “Return Transcript” and in the TAX YEAR field, select the appropriate year (i.e., 2011)
  • Click Continue

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 – with 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS received the request.

What happens if there are discrepancies in the application?

After all required documents are submitted, the Office of Financial Aid will compare them to your application. If errors are found, corrections will be made and sent to the Department of Education for reprocessing.

How long does a data correction take?

You should allow 10 business days for the verification review process and an additional 10 business days if corrections have to be made and transmitted.

  • Additional time may be necessary during peak periods (April through August).
  • Once the verification and/or correction process is completed the student will be awarded within 5 business days. An e-mail notifying the student of the award will be sent to their email account.
  • Verification must be completed in advance of disbursing any money from any financial aid program so it is vital to send, complete, and correct errors as quickly as possible.

How long do I have to complete verification?

Students are expected to apply for aid and complete the verification process before the term has ended. Otherwise, the student is in jeopardy of not receiving any Federal aid for their period of enrollment.

Students selected for verification will not be packaged for financial aid until the Office of Financial Aid has received all requested required documentation and the verification process has been completed. Depending on the time of year, the verification review process can take up to 20 business days from the time the Office of Financial Aid receives all requested required documents.

  • All required documents should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office no later than 14 business days from the initial date of request.
  • Any delay in submitting all required documents will cause a delay in awarding of financial aid which may result in the student being responsible for paying all or part of their bill until awarding takes place.
  • Individuals who have filed extensions or are self-employed and file their taxes later in the year are not excused from the verification process.
  • It is recommended that federal income tax returns be filed as soon as possible if selected for verification, since a final aid offer cannot be made until the verification process is completed.

Participation in the verification process is not optional. If you do not submit the requested documentation, you will not be eligible to receive federal or institutional need-based financial aid and your parents will not be eligible to borrow a federal PLUS loan.