The U.S. Department of Education selects approximately 30% of students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for Verification. Verification is a process where the school confirms that the data reported on the FAFSA is accurate. Students will be informed by the U.S. Department of Education that they are selected for Verification on the Student Aid Report (SAR). Students will receive notices from UW Colleges of the required Verification documents that must be submitted to the Student Financial Aid Office. Incomplete document requests also will be reflected in PRISM as a "To Do" item.

Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA and moving forwardstudents (and parents, as appropriate) are required to report income information from an earlier tax year. 

Note: only students admitted as degree seeking are eligible for financial aid; students admitted as nondegree are ineligible.

Verification Documents

When the Student Financial Aid Office requests documents, it is important to submit these documents in a timely manner. Any documents which are incomplete or illegible will be returned to the student. If our office needs additional information after reviewing the documents, a notice will be sent to the student. Forms and documents will be requested based on what is needed for an individual student.

Verifiable items include, but are not limited to:

  • Dependency status
  • Income/tax information
  • Household size and number in college
  • Receipt of food stamps
  • Amount of child support paid

Verification forms are available in the online forms section.

The deadline to address incomplete item(s) depends on the student's enrollment:

  • Fall only (no enrollment for the following spring term)
    • November 24, 2017 for Fall 2017 only
  • Fall-Spring academic year or Spring only
    • April 20, 2018 for the Fall 2017-Spring 2018 academic year or Spring 2018 only
  • Summer - at least 4 weeks prior to the end of the student's summer enrollment

If resolved afterward, the student may not receive aid for which he or she otherwise would have been eligible.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval Tool is currently available for only 2018-2019 FAFSA applications; it will not return for the 2017-2018 FAFSA form. When completing the 2017-2018 FAFSA, carefully follow instructions to enter your income and tax information. 2015 tax data is used for the 2017-2018 FAFSA; 2016 tax data is used for the 2018-2019 FAFSA.

Federal Tax Returns (1040/1040A/1040EZ)

If requested by the Student Financial Aid Office as a result of being selected for Verification, submit a signed copy of the 2015 Federal 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, or e-file tax return that was used by the tax filer for submission to the IRS. Note that the 2017-18 FAFSA uses 2015 tax data.

  • Dependent aid applicants will need to submit a federal tax return for themselves and for their parent(s).
  • Independent aid applicants will need to submit a federal tax return for themselves (and spouse, if applicable).

If submitting a return prepared by a tax preparer and IF the tax filer has NOT signed the return, it MUST have the preparer's name (not the name of the tax preparation company) and the preparer's PTIN (Preparer Tax ID Number); or the preparer's SSN or EIN (Employer ID Number) and has been signed, stamped, typed, or printed with the preparer's name and address.

When a copy of a 2015 federal return is not available, a 2015 Tax Return Transcript will need to be requested from the IRS. Follow the instructions in the Tax Return Transcripts section immediately following.

    Tax Return Transcripts

    The Student Financial Aid Office must collect a Tax Return Transcript for anyone selected for Verification who does not have a copy of his/her federal tax return (1040/1040A/1040EZ). 

    • Parents who are married but filing separately must submit 2 separate IRS transcripts. The same applies to a married student and his or her spouse.
    • Tax filers are strongly encouraged to keep a copy of Tax Return Transcripts obtained from the IRS should they need copies in the future.

    The IRS will provide a Tax Return Transcript free for any tax filer. Be sure to order a Tax Return Transcript because this is free. Requesting an actual copy of a tax return will cost money.

    Get Transcript Online

    • Go to and click the “Get My Tax Record” option.
    • Click "Get Transcript Online" to receive a pdf file immediately.
    • Each taxpayer will need to create an account, including username and password, as well as, answer several challenge questions in case of a forgotten password. If the taxpayer already has an account, the account will need to be reactivated.
    • The IRS will send a confirmation code to the email account provided. This code must be used within 30 minutes. Be aware that the confirmation code email may go to your junk mail folder depending on your email security settings; within the allotted time, please look for the email there as well.
    • In order to verify the taxpayer's identity, he or she will be asked several questions related to his or her credit history. If the questions are answered incorrectly, the user is locked out for 24 hours.
    • Pop-up blockers will need to be turned off for the IRS website in order to access the pdf transcript.
    • Provide a copy of the Tax Return Transcript (for the 2017-2018 FAFSA, provide the 2015 tax year) to the Student Financial Aid Office. It is strongly advised that sensitive information such as a Tax Return Transcript not be transmitted/provided to UW Colleges by email.

    Get Transcript by Mail

    • Go to and click the “Get My Tax Record” option. 
    • Click "Get Transcript by Mail" to have a copy mailed to you; this takes 5-10 days.
    • Acknowledge the disclosure pop-up box that appears by clicking "OK."
    • Enter your SSN, Date of Birth, Street Address, and Zip Code.
    • Click Continue.
    • Select “Return Transcript” and select the Tax Year (for the 2017-2018 FAFSA, provide the 2015 tax year).
    • Click Continue.
    • Once received, keep original and submit a copy to the Student Financial Aid Office.

    Get Transcript by Phone

    • Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.).
    • Tax filers must follow prompts to enter their Social Security Number and the numbers of their street address. Generally, these will be the numbers of the street address that were listed on the latest tax return filed. However, if an address change has been completed through the U.S. Postal Service, the IRS may have the updated address on file.
    • Select "Option 2" to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, and then enter the tax year (for the 2017-2018 FAFSA, provide the 2015 tax year).
    • 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 within 5 to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request.
    • Once received, keep original and submit a copy to the Student Financial Aid Office.