Your FAFSA and the Verification Process
Your Student Aid Report (SAR) will notify you if you have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education for the process known as verification. Hampshire College may also select you for the verification process. The U.S. Department of Education may select a student based on certain information provided on the FAFSA, or it could be a random selection. Hampshire College may select a student because of inconsistent or conflicting information.
We strongly encourage new students to complete verification well before they arrive on campus as the verification of their data may result in a change in their aid. Continuing students must complete verification before we determine their aid. We do not process one's federal aid (loans and grants) until verification is complete.
Required documentation: The verification process requires the student to complete and return a specific Verification Worksheet to the financial aid office. There are three different worksheets: Standard, Custom, and Aggregate. Students must be sure to complete their specific worksheet. You may view which of the three is required by clicking on the "My Financial Aid" link on TheHub. Once you have confirmed which worksheet is required, click here to print the appropriate worksheet.
To verify income and tax data reported on the 2023-24 FAFSA for the student and or parent we may use one of the following methods:
- Data transferred from the IRS through the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA; this can be done at the time of the initial FAFSA application or as a FAFSA correction; or
- A copy of the tax filer's 2021 IRS Tax Return Transcript; or
- A SIGNED copy of the tax filer's actual 2021 IRS tax return; send us Pages 1 & 2 and Schedules 1, 2, 3, C, and F, if applicable. Please be sure the return is signed by using a pen and signing it on the "Sign Here" line on Page 2.
If you are selected for the Verification process and if you are an independent student and you did not file an IRS income tax return OR if you are a dependent student and your parent(s) did not file an IRS income tax return, you must provide to the financial aid office verification from the IRS or other relevant tax authority that an income tax return was not submitted. A dependent student is one whose FAFSA requires data from a parent. Learn more about this requirement.
Some additional forms and data may be required for each of the three different worksheets. Carefully read the instructions on your specific worksheet to make sure you provide all of the requested information. Some of the additional information may include the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), an IRS Tax Return Transcript, copies of W2 forms, or proof that an IRS income tax return was not filed. Depending on your individual situation, we may also request other additional information, such as the 1040X form. These additional forms will appear on TheHub.
The Standard and Aggregate Worksheets require the financial aid office to verify the student's and the custodial parents' income.
The Custom and Aggregate Worksheets require proof of a high school diploma or an equivalent; the student must provide valid identification, and the student must sign the Statement of Educational Purpose.
The Standard Worksheet may be mailed, securely faxed to the financial aid office or uploaded to your financial aid portal. The Custom and Aggregate Worksheets cannot be faxed or uploaded; these must be either mailed to the office or the student may complete the Identity and Statement of Education Purpose section of the worksheet in person at the financial aid office.
Resolving conflicting information: There may be conflicting information on your aid application. If so, we need to resolve any conflicting information before we can award or process aid. Examples of conflicting information may include the parent’s marital status and their tax filing status as reported on the FAFSA. For example, parents are reported as Married and their tax filing status is reported as Head of Household. We would need to determine which of these statuses are appropriate. You or your parent may be asked to provide documentation to the financial aid office to resolve these issues.
Correcting FAFSA data: Students may make a correction to their FAFSA reports to update the financial information by using the Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA. Hampshire College will also make corrections to the student's FAFSA based on information reported on the Verification Worksheet, IRS Tax Return Transcript, W-2 forms, and other sources.
Verification Deadlines: August 1 for fall term, and January 15 for those returning or entering for spring term. These are our institutional deadlines to submit the documentation to complete the verification process. These dates apply to campus-based aid programs including Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Perkins Loans, and Direct Subsidized Loans.
A Pell Grant applicant selected for verification must complete the verification process by the deadline published in the Federal Register or no later than 120 days after the student's last day of attendance, whichever is earlier. We strongly encourage Pell Grant eligible students to complete their verification by the institutional deadline dates listed above to avoid any problems with the college's check-in process as well as their college bill.
Tentative awards pending verification: New students who received a tentative award pending verification may have an adjustment to their aid as a result of the verification. For example, a student may no longer be eligible for a Pell Grant or may now be eligible for a subsidized federal loan. Any changes to one's aid awards as a result of the verification process will be communicated to the student via a revised aid offer notice.
Changes to Federal Aid because of verification: If your Federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and your federal aid changes because of the verification process we will send you a revised aid offer notice via email sent to your Hampshire email account.
Consequences of failing to complete the verification process: A student cannot avoid verification by accepting only non-subsidized (non-need-based) federal aid. A student will not be eligible for need-based federal aid (Pell, SEOG, Federal Work-Study, and Direct Subsidized Loans), need-based state aid (State Grant, Gilbert Grant), and need-based institutional aid (all versions of the Hampshire Grant). Hampshire College Merit scholarships would not be affected.
Referral of Fraud Cases: If we suspect that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation fraudulently to obtain federal funds, we report our suspicions and provide any evidence to the U.S. Office of Inspector General.
If you have questions about the verification process or about the verification worksheets, please call the financial aid office at 413.559.5484.
Special Verification Cases
There are several tax and financial situations that require additional forms to complete the verification process. Please review the cases listed below. Please contact the financial aid office if you have any questions about any of these cases. If you are sending any forms to the financial aid office, please be sure to write the student's name or College ID number on the document so we may match it to the appropriate file.
Filers of amended tax returns. Students or parents who file an amended tax return can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) but the FAFSA report will be flagged. Please provide the following forms to the financial aid office to complete verification:
- a signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X that was filed, all pages, and
- an IRS Tax Return Transcript, or a SIGNED copy of actual IRS tax return and Schedules 1, 2, and 3, if applicable.
Victims of tax-related identify theft. These tax filers are not able to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript. Tax filers who are victims of tax-related identity theft must call the IRS' Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) toll-free at 800.908.4490. After the IPSU authenticates the tax filer's identity, the filer can ask the IRS to mail an alternate paper tax return transcript known as the Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript that will look different than a tax return transcript, but it is official and can be used for verification. The tax filer will then send the TRDBV to the financial aid office. The tax filer will also need to provide to the financial aid office a statement signed and dated by the tax filer indicating that the filer was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS is aware of the tax-related identity theft.
Filers of joint returns who are no longer married. When a dependent student's parents filed a joint return and have since separated, divorced, married someone else, or been widowed, the financial aid office needs a copy of the W-2 form(s) for the parent whose tax information is on the FAFSA and a copy of their IRS Tax Return Transcript or a SIGNED copy of their IRS tax return along with Schedules 1, 2, and 3, if applicable. Similarly, an independent student must submit a copy of each of his W-2 forms and a copy of the IRS Tax Return Transcript if he filed a joint return and is now separated, divorced, or a widow. We also require proof of separation when parents or students filed joint returns. Examples of proof include copies of recent utility bills for each person indicating their residences, or a copy of the separation or divorce agreement indicating where each will be living.
For filers of non-U.S. tax returns, obtaining an IRS tax return transcript is not possible. In these cases we may accept a copy of the tax return, which must be signed by the filer or one of the filers of a joint return. We will use the income and tax information that most closely corresponds to the information on the IRS tax return, and convert monetary amounts into U.S. dollars as appropriate.
For non-tax filers we must receive a W-2 from for each source of employment income. We need a signed statement giving the sources and amounts of the person's income earned from work not on W-2s and certifying that the person has not filed and is not required to file a tax return; this can be done on the verification worksheet. Persons from a foreign country who are not required to file a tax return can provide the signed statement certifying their income and taxes paid.
Rollovers of qualified IRA, pensions, and annuities. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) and the IRS Tax Return Transcript are not able to identify rollovers of IRA, pension, and annuity distributions. Generally, amounts of any distributions that were excluded from taxable income under the IRS rules are considered untaxed income for the purpose of calculating an applicant's expected family contribution (EFC). In the case of a rollover, the tax filer must provide the financial aid office with one of the following: a signed, written statement indicating the amount of the distribution; OR a notation by the filer on the tax transcript or signed tax return copy that includes the word "rollover" beside any applicable item, similar to the instruction the IRS gives for Form 1040. The annotation must be signed and dated by the filer. For those who used the DRT, a signed confirmation that the IRA or pension distribution included a rollover (indicate the amount) would suffice. The financial aid office will adjust the amount of untaxed IRA and pension distributions on the FAFSA using the document provided.