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Northwestern University

Federal Verification

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) selects certain FAFSA filers for a review process called verification. During this process, our office is required to ensure that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate. If necessary, we will update your FAFSA application and send it to ED for processing.

If your application has been selected, both ED and our office will notify you with instructions on how to proceed. We cannot process your financial aid award until the verification review is complete, so we encourage timely submission of all requested documents.  

Required Documents

You may be required to complete and submit one or more of the following documents:

What if we filed an extension with the IRS?

If your family filed an extension with the IRS, you should submit the verification worksheet along with IRS extension documentation, such as W-2 forms and/or a statement from self-employed individuals certifying adjusted gross income (AGI) and U.S. taxes paid.

What if we filed an amended tax return with the IRS?

Applicants selected for verification and who file an amended tax return will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. As a result, these families must submit a signed copy of the 1040X amendment and a signed copy of the original 1040 tax form.

What happens if there are discrepancies in my application?

Our office is required to update your FAFSA application with accurate information and send it back to the Department of Education (ED) for processing. We make these changes electronically, and you will be notified by ED when a change has been made to your FAFSA. Depending on the updates made to your FAFSA, your financial aid eligibility may change. You will be notified of any changes to your award when verification has been completed.

Are there any other documents I may be asked to provide?

As we complete the verification review, we may contact you for clarification or to resolve conflicting information, so that we can update your record as required. Some students may also be asked to complete the High School Completion and Identity Verification Form, if needed.

How will I know when verification is complete?

You will be sent an email notification when the verification process is complete.

What if I do not complete the verification process? 

If you do not complete the verification process, you will be ineligible to receive financial aid. If you have anticipated financial aid on your student account, it will be removed and you will be responsible for the payment of any resulting balance.  If you subsequently submit verification documents, you may regain eligibility, but the financial aid office does not have the ability to remove late payment fees that may be posted to your account. We recommend that you submit all requested documents within three weeks of being notified, or by July 1 at the latest, so that your aid eligibility can be verified before the beginning of the fall quarter.

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