Many families associate FAFSA verification with a Federal tax audit, but the verification process is not nearly as bad – you do have Wittenberg’s financial aid staff on your side, after all! Each family’s situation is different, but the individualized attention that you will get from us will ensure that the process is as painless as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I have to complete this paperwork?
- If it was up to us, we probably would not verify every FAFSA that is selected…sadly, it isn’t up to us. FAFSAs are chosen to be verified for a number of reasons. A student’s FAFSA may be flagged for verification due to an error made while filling out the form, or your FAFSA may just be one of the lucky ones randomly chosen to complete the process. Regardless of the reason, approximately one in three FAFSAs are chosen and federal aid cannot be awarded to those students by any school until the process is complete.
What happens if I don’t turn in my Verification Worksheet and documentation?
- In short, you will not receive any federal or state financial aid. Once a student is selected for verification, Federal Law requires the school to obtain complete verification paperwork before awarding any state or federal aid including Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Ohio College Opportunity Grants, Subsidized and Unsubsidized Student Loans, and/or Parent PLUS Loans.
- In order to keep things clear and accurate, we also will not apply any need-based institutional funding such as Wittenberg Loans and Wittenberg Grants until you have completed verification.
I am an upper-class student who was selected for verification but I don’t have a financial aid award letter yet – why not?
- Upper-class students will not receive a financial aid award package until they are finished with their verification paperwork. This cuts down on award confusion and makes financial planning easier for you and your family. Just get your verification worksheet done as soon as possible and once it is completed, you will receive your award letter by email.
I am an incoming freshman and I already did this for another school – do I have to do it for Wittenberg too?
- If you were accepted to many schools, you will probably get many Verification Worksheets in the mail. Each school’s worksheet may look slightly different, but each should ask for essentially the same information, so make multiple copies of your documentation! You should complete verification for all schools that you are considering attending because financial aid offers and award letters may change if the verification process reveals that changes need to be made to your FAFSA.
Will Verification change the Financial Aid I was offered?
- Possibly. If the information on your FAFSA is 100% accurate, the verification process will not uncover any errors that could change your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) and therefore your financial aid award package. However, if there are mistakes on your FAFSA that are uncovered during verification, we will correct your information, which may change your EFC and therefore your financial aid award package. You will receive a finalized financial aid award letter once verification is complete.
- Sometimes changes reveal that a student is eligible for less grant-aid, but sometimes they reveal that the student is eligible for more! Either way you can be rest assured that by the end of the verification process, the verified information on your FAFSA will be 100% correct so you will receive all aid for which you are eligible.
What information must be verified?
- The answer is different for each student, but most families will be asked to verify their prior, prior year Federal Tax information as well as other tidbits of household information. As long as you complete each part of your Verification Worksheet, you will be just fine.
What is acceptable documentation?
- Your Verification Worksheet outlines documentation requirements for each piece of information that needs to be verified. Mostly, all that is needed is the worksheet itself. Only certain circumstances will require a copy of your tax return or W-2’s. We will let you know if anything other than your worksheet is required. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions if you are unsure.
How do I use the Data Retrieval Tool?
- The IRS Data Retrieval Tool on FAFSA is the fastest way for tax-filers to verify financial information and complete verification. Our IRS Data Retrieval Tool Instructions can be found here.
- If you are a tax-filer but you are unwilling or unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you can send in a SIGNED Copy of your prior, prior year Federal Tax Return. You can also request a Federal Tax Return Transcript if you cannot locate your Tax Return.
- If you did not file a Federal Tax Return, you will need to submit a Verification of Non-Filing Letter to us. You can retrieve this by going to www.irs.gov or by contacting the IRS Directly.
How do I order an IRS Tax Return Transcript?
- IRS Tax Return Transcripts must be ordered directly from the IRS. You can begin this process by going to www.irs.gov, by walking into your local IRS Office (call ahead to make sure your office offers this service), or by calling the automated Transcript Ordering Line at (800) 908-9946.
I think I have turned everything in, but I haven’t heard anything from the Financial Aid Office – can I assume that Verification is complete?
- Not necessarily. We do our best to keep in contact with you about missing documentation, but it doesn’t hurt to call or email to make sure that we have received everything we need. Once verification is complete, we will send the student an updated financial aid award letter in the mail or via Wittenberg email.
How do I turn in the Verification worksheet and paperwork?
- This information can be emailed to email@example.com , faxed to (937) 327-6379, or mailed to Wittenberg University, c/o Financial Aid, PO Box 720, Springfield, OH 45501. Your student can also hand deliver the documents if you prefer. Once the documentation is received, your student will get an email letting them know we have it.
I’m having some trouble – who can I contact for help?
- If you have any questions don’t ever hesitate to call or email our financial aid counselor Kristen Feigel at firstname.lastname@example.org or our general office email email@example.com , or call our main line at 937-327-7321. We are here to guide you through the process and help you build a plan to finance your education here at Wittenberg.