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 recommend that you log into your 2019-2020 FAFSA form and transfer your 2017 tax information electronically from the IRS using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you don't, you may be required to provide IRS tax return documentation to us before you can receive financial aid. It can take less than 10 minutes to transfer tax information electronically into the FAFSA form. In contrast, it can take up to 10 business days to receive tax return documentation from the IRS after you request it.
If 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, after review of the verification documents, 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 and instructions in your CalCentral account.
To see if you have been selected for verification, go to the My Finances section of CalCentral. 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, you will be provided a link to the Berkeley Financial Aid Forms website where you can see what is being requested from you.
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 upload any documents listed on the Berkeley Financial Aid Forms website
Obtain a copy of your and your parents' (if dependent) 2017 Federal Tax Return
If you or your parents (if dependent) did not and are not required to to file a 2017 federal tax return, then we need you (or your parents) to submit IRS documents that clearly indicate that the IRS does not have a tax return record on file for 2017. 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 certification from the IRS of non-filing status for 2017.
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.