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 and the California Student Aid Commission that is intended to improve the accuracy of the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Application. College financial aid offices may not disburse federal or state 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. We strongly 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. It also is a way to ensure accuracy when completing the application.
Note: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is currently unavailable for FAFSA filers per the Department of Education. Please reference your and your parent(s) 2015 Federal Tax Returns when completing your 2017-18 FAFSA application.
If your tax filing status reported on the FAFSA reflects a filed tax return, and your awards are assigned a "conditional" status, you may have been selected for verification. The federal regulations governing financial 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 or the California Dream Application information and the information we collect during our review, we are required to correct it.
You may have conditional awards but your CalCentral record does not reflect a verification task. If you have completed all of your tasks, monitor your awards in MyFinances for actual awards or new messages providing additional information.
Learn more about the most common errors made on the FAFSA.
If the Data on My FAFSA or California Dream Application 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 aid application filing process if you have been selected for federal verification via your Student Aid Report. We will also notify you by placing tasks in your CalCentral account.
To see if you have been selected for verification, go to the My Finances section of CalCentral. After you complete your Terms & Conditions, click on the "Details" link in the Financial Aid and Scholarships section of the page. Review your Messages and Tasks for information about your verification status. If selected, expand the verification task to retrieve the verification form and start the process.
What are the Verification Requirements?
If you have been selected for verification, you will see your requirements listed as tasks in your CalCentral account. Typically, we require that you do the following:
Complete. sign, and and return any Verification Forms that are posted in CalCentral.
Obtain a copy of your's and your parent's (if dependent) 2015 Tax Return transcript.
If you or your parents (if dependent) did not and are not required to to file a 2015 federal tax return, then we need you (or your parents) to submit IRS documents that clearly indicates that the IRS does not have a tax return record on file for 2015. This may include a Tax Return Transcript or a Tax Account Transcript that includes a message such as "no record of return filed" or "no transcript on file", or by obtaining an IRS certification of non-filing status for 2015.
How Can I Obtain a Copy of my IRS Tax Return Transcript?
There are four ways in which you can request a copy of your or your parent/s 2015 Federal Tax Return Transcript:
Get Transcript by MAIL – Go to www.irs.gov, under the Tools heading, click "Get a tax transcript.” Click “Get Transcript by MAIL.” Make sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and NOT the “IRS Tax Account Transcript.”
Get Transcript ONLINE – Go to www.irs.gov, under the Tools heading, click "Get a tax transcript." Click “Get Transcript ONLINE.” Make sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and NOT the “IRS Tax Account Transcript.”
Automated Telephone Request – 1-800-908-9946
Paper Request Form – IRS Form 4506T-EZ or IRS Form 4506-T
Be sure to request a copy of your 2015 Tax Return Transcript. That is the only transcript that will satisfy the verification requirement.
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.