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Verification Process

We want to ensure that your financial aid awards are as accurate as possible. Please read the sections below for helpful information about the verification process.

What is Verification?

Verification is a process required by the federal government that is intended to improve the accuracy of the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). College financial aid offices may not disburse federal student aid until the verification process is complete. 

To help us ensure that your financial aid awards are as accurate as possible, there are some steps you can take to help us get the most accurate information about your income at the earliest possible date. Some students think they have to wait until tax returns are filed before they can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but this is not the case at all. You may submit your FAFSA any time after January 1, using estimated tax information.

If your FAFSA is based on estimated tax information, the financial aid awards you are offered will be assigned a “conditional” status. After you've submitted your tax returns, we encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update the FAFSA with your tax information. This tool allows your tax information to be transferred directly to your FAFSA from the IRS website and is one less step for you to take.

If your tax filing status reported on the FAFSA reflects a filed tax return, and your awards are still conditional, you may have been selected for verification. The federal regulations governing aid require that UC Berkeley verify a portion of the student population to ensure the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate. If we determine that there are differences between the FAFSA information and the information we collect during our review, we are required to correct it.

Learn more about the most common errors made on the FAFSA.

If the Data on My FAFSA is Accurate, Will My Financial Aid Package Change?

Yes, there is a chance it may. In addition to verifying certain tax information on the federal tax return, Berkeley employs an in-depth analysis when awarding our own institutional grant funds. There are items reported on the tax return that we take into consideration which the federal government may not. In turn, this may change the financial aid you were originally offered.

How Will I Know if I Have Been Selected for Verification?

You will be notified during the FAFSA filing process if you have been selected for federal verification via your Student Aid Report, but you only need to submit verification documents to UC Berkeley if you are notified by our office.  As participants in the federal Quality Assurance program, we are allowed to select our own student population to verify.   

To see if you have been selected for verification by our office, go to the My Finances section of CalCentral.

What if I Am a California Dream Act Student?

For AB 540 students, the process is similar, but instead of submitting a FAFSA, you will submit the California Dream Act Application. The California Student Aid Commission also requires us to verify that the information used to complete the application is accurate by collecting supporting documentation from a percentage of students.