Verification is the process used by schools to verify that the information submitted on the FAFSA is true and accurate when matched with various source documents. For example, if a student submits the FAFSA and answered “yes” to having earned a Bachelors degree, then a school must verify that there is a college transcript on file from the school that awarded the Bachelor’s Degree. Another example would be confirming the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount reported on the FAFSA matches the AGI on the IRS tax record. Schools are not only required to verify the accuracy of FAFSA data, but also resolve any and all information discrepancies.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education selects a certain percentage of an institution's students for the verification process. In addition, student’s may be institutionally selected for verification if or when there is conflicting data between two data sources. In order to reduce application errors and discrepancies, student and their families now have the ability to import tax data directly from the IRS by using the IRS Data Retrieval tool (DRT). Using the DRT when completing the FAFSA application significantly reduces an applicant's chance of being selected for verification, and also reduces the delay in awarding and disbursing financial aid to a student's account.