Verification


If you’ve been selected for verification, don’t assume you’ve done anything wrong. Your school is just checking to make sure your FAFSA data is correct. Provide the documentation your school asks for to avoid delays in receiving your aid.

The required documents will be shown on your EOU Mountie Hub (Webster) account and must be received and processed before any federal or state financial aid will be disbursed.


Verification FAQ (click to expand)
Verification FAQ (PDF)

What is Verification?

Verification is a federal aid eligibility review process required by The U.S. Department of Education. For this process, EOU is required to verify that the information on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is accurate. We complete the verification process by comparing FAFSA data with federal tax documents* and other forms you provide to the EOU Financial Aid Office. Corrections to your FAFSA and college financing offer may be necessary if discrepancies are found. Without complete documentation, a student will not receive federal or state financial aid.

*Each academic year’s (AY) FAFSA EFC is calculated from and based upon a tax year two years prior (prior-prior year or PPY) to the AY. For example, the 2019‑20 FAFSA bases your EFC on the 2017 tax year and the 2020‑21 FAFSA will use the 2018 tax year. We will ask you for tax and income information from the FAFSA base year.


Why was I selected?

FAFSA records are selected by The U.S. Department of Education’s processor. The Financial Aid Office does not have the selection criteria; however, many times, FAFSA records are selected because of errors made when a student and/or parent files the FAFSA.

The Department will use data-based statistical analysis to select for verification the FAFSA applicants with the highest statistical probability of error and the greatest impact of such error on award amounts.

FR-2019-05-24/2019-10959 🔗

“If the Secretary [of Education] selects an applicant for verification, the applicant’s Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) includes flags that indicate (1) that the applicant has been selected by the Secretary for verification and (2) the Verification Tracking Group in which the applicant has been placed. The Verification Tracking Group indicates which FAFSA information needs to be verified for the applicant and, if appropriate, for the applicant’s parent(s) or spouse. The Student Aid Report (SAR) provided to the applicant will indicate that the applicant’s FAFSA information has been selected for verification and direct the applicant to contact the institution for further instructions for completing the verification process.”

What Documents do I Need to Supply?

You will need to turn in a verification worksheet (either dependent or independent) and federal tax documents (i.e. IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) or Tax Return Transcripts (TRT)). You may also need to submit W-2s and/or other worksheets. Documents that you submit will be shown as satisfied on your EOU Mountie Hub (Webster) account at my.eou.edu.  Students will be notified via EOU email when their verification is complete.

How do I send personally identifiable information (PII) securely?
  1. Send via United States Postal Service (USPS);
  2. Fax to 541-962-3661;
  3. Upload through secure document dropbox;
  4. Encrypt document and attach to email, preferably from your EOU email account. The minimum acceptable encryption is AES 256-bit. Password must be provided separately.
WinZip instructions for file/folder encryption and password protection

There are many applications that have the ability to encrypt attachments. An example is provided below for WinZip™, with the caveat that this is not the only acceptable method, and unless very carefully configured, WinZip would not fit the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) which is defined by FIPS 140-2. The minimum acceptable encryption is AES 256-bit for PSIs.

  1. Open a folder to the location of the file(s)/folder(s) that you wish to encrypt.
  2. Select the file(s)/folder(s) that you wish to encrypt. Note that in order to select more than one file/folder, you must press the “Ctrl” key on the keyboard while selecting them.
  3. Right-click over one of the selected items.
  4. Select WinZip. From the submenu that appears, select “Add to Zip File.”
  5. In the “Add Files” dialog box, specify a ‘File name’ and ‘Destination’ (location) for the finished Zip file.
  6. Select “.Zip” as the Compression Type.
  7. Under Encryption, check the “Encrypt files” box.
  8. Click the “Add” button.
  9. A pop-up window may appear saying “You should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the various encryption methods before using this feature. Please press the F1 key for more information, particularly if this is the first time you are using encryption.” Select the “OK” button to continue.
  10. In the “Enter Password” field, enter an appropriate password. Passwords must be at least eight characters and must contain at least one of each the following: a lowercase character (a-z), an uppercase character (A-Z), a number character (0-9), and a symbol character (!, @, #, $, %, ^, &, *, etc.).
  11. In the “Re-enter Password” field, enter the same password from Step #10, and remember the password for future reference.
  12. Click the “OK” button.
  13. A pop-up window may appear saying “Add Complete. Your files have been added. The files will be compressed and encrypted when saved.” Click the “OK” button to continue.
  14. The encrypted WinZip file should be in the location identified in Step #5 above.
  15. The password must not be included in the same message and should either be included in a separate email or verbally provided to the intended user.

Get Transcript by Mail Help 🔗

Nontax filers (except for dependent students) will need to provide proof from the IRS of nonfiling (i.e. Verification of Nonfiling Letter (VNF)).

Is a Verification of Nonfiling Letter Required to Complete Verification?

Anytime a student is selected for verification, the following individuals who are nontax filers must submit an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or other confirmation of nonfiling status from the IRS or other relevant tax authority, dated on or after October 1, of the FAFSA base year:

  • For a dependent student, each parent who did not file a tax return; and
  • For an independent student, the student and/or spouse who did not file a tax return.

The dependent student who is a nontax filer is not required to provide an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or other confirmation of nonfiling status. All nontax filers, including dependent students, who are selected for verification must also provide:

  • A verification worksheet or written statement from each nonfiler certifying for the tax year that the individual has not filed and is not required to file an income tax return, as well as listing the sources of income earned from work and the amount of income from each source; and
  • A copy of a W-2 or equivalent document for each source of employment income.

Refer to the May 5, 2017 Federal Register and Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-05. The verification/confirmation of nonfiling letter is still required for a dependent student who filed for a tax extension beyond the initial automatic 6-month extension.

The individual can only request an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter in one of two ways:

  • By using the IRS “Get Transcript Online” tool on the IRS website; or
  • By completing, printing, and mailing IRS Form 4506-T and checking box 7.

When completing the Get Transcript Online tool, the tax filer can download and print the form and then deliver it to the financial aid office. This letter only indicates that the individual has not filed a tax return; it does not indicate whether or not the individual was required to file a tax return.

The IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or other confirmation of nonfiling from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority is required any time a parent of a dependent student, independent student, or spouse nontax filer is subject to verification under verification tracking group V1 or V5. This includes any of these individuals who are subject to verification and who did not file taxes, regardless of the amount of income (even zero). For example, if a dependent student is selected for verification and the student and both parents on the FAFSA did not file taxes, then both parents (but not the student) will each need to provide an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter—in other words, two nonfiling letters would be required to complete verification.

Verification of Nonfiling Letter Alternatives. In some cases, an individual will not receive an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter, even after requesting one from the IRS. This is okay. Any IRS document is acceptable as verification of nonfiling if it is dated on or after October 1, of the base year and clearly indicates that the IRS does not have a tax return record from the individual for the tax year being verified. Such documents can include, but are not limited to:

  • An IRS Tax Return Transcript or Tax Account Transcript with a message indicating “no record of return filed” or “no transcript on file” for the individual for the tax year; or
  • IRS Form 13873 clearly stating that the form is provided as verification of nonfiling, or stating that the IRS has no record of a tax return for the individual for the tax year.

See also AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, Are There Exceptions or Alternatives to Collecting a Verification of Nonfiling Letter?

In the past, the U.S. Department of Education had announced it was going to build the Verification of Nonfiling Letter into the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT), so nonfiling would be confirmed automatically. Unfortunately, the IRS has ruled this out; it won’t be happening. After the security breach that shut down the DRT, the IRS is reluctant to expand the DRT process.

Are There Exceptions or Alternatives to Collecting a Verification of Nonfiling Letter?

First, see AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, Is a Verification of Nonfiling Letter Required to Complete Verification? 

Then, review the February 23, 2017 Electronic AnnouncementVerification – IRS Documentation Requests, Uses, and Messaging, and its attachment. You will note that a Verification of Nonfiling Letter is not available for request using the IRS toll-free phone number or the online Get Transcript By Mail service. The nonfiling letter can only be requested using the Get Transcript Online service or by mailing the 4506-T form to the IRS.

Nonfiling Letter Not Provided By the IRS
In some cases, an individual will not receive an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter, even after requesting one from the IRS. This is okay. Any IRS document is acceptable as verification of nonfiling (VONF) if it is dated on or after October 1, of the FAFSA base year and clearly indicates that the IRS does not have a tax return record from the individual for the tax year being verified. Such documents can include, but are not limited to:

  • An IRS Tax Return Transcript or Tax Account Transcript with a message indicating “no record of return filed” or “no transcript on file” for the individual for the tax year;
  • An IRS transcript request that comes back with a status of “requested data not found”; or
  • IRS Form 13873 clearly stating that the form is provided as verification of nonfiling, or stating that the IRS has no record of a tax return for the individual for the tax year.

There are different versions of IRS Form 13873, including the:

  • 13873-V, RAIVS Requests for Verification of Non-Filing of Taxpayer Accounts; and
  • 13873-T, RAIVS Requests for Tax Information Documents or Transcripts of Tax Accounts.

Any version of IRS Form 13873 is acceptable, as long as it contains a clear indication that it is provided as a verification of nonfiling or that the IRS has no record of a tax return for the tax year. If the individual did not properly or accurately complete his request for an IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or other IRS document, Form 13873 may be used by the IRS to communicate this to the individual. Such a communication is not acceptable for verification if it does not clearly indicate the IRS has no tax return on file. Such individuals should re-request the IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter by properly following IRS document request procedures (for example, a properly completed 4506-T).

There are instances when a tax transcript or other IRS document contains a message indicating the request “could not be processed” or the “request could not be honored.” Such documents are not acceptable as verification of nonfiling; instead, the individual should follow IRS instructions for re-requesting the IRS Verification of Nonfiling Letter or for obtaining further documentation clearly indicating there is no tax return on file for the individual for the tax year.

Individuals Who Cannot Request a Verification of Nonfiling Letter from the IRS (e.g., Undocumented Individuals)
When a parent of a dependent student or the spouse of an independent student living in the U.S. does not have a Social Security Number (SSN), an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or an Employer Identification Number (EIN), he is unable to obtain a Verification of Nonfiling Letter from the IRS. If their income is below the IRS filing threshold, these individuals do not need a verification of nonfiling letter and instead must submit to the institution:

1) A signed and dated statement:

  • Certifying that the individual does not have a SSN, an ITIN, or an EIN, and
  • Listing the sources and amounts of earnings, other income, and resources, that supported the individual for the tax year; and

2) If applicable, a copy of the W–2 for each source of employment income received for the tax year, or an equivalent document.

If the undocumented individual’s income is above the IRS filing threshold, that individual must file a tax return. See AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, How Do We Complete Verification for an Undocumented Individual Who Did Not But Is Required to File a Tax Return?

Residents of Foreign Countries

If the individual lives in a foreign country that is unable to provide a Verification of Nonfiling Letter or confirmation of nonfiling from the relevant tax authority, that individual should provide the school with the above information, along with proof of that taxing authority’s filing requirements. This might involve obtaining something directly from the taxing authority, or providing information that may be available on the taxing authority’s website. If such documentation does not exist, or if the individual is unable to obtain the documentation, the individual may provide a signed and dated statement indicating either that the taxing authority does not provide such documentation, or that the individual was unable to obtain the documentation after contacting the taxing authority.

While ED’s guidance does not specifically address instances when the foreign country does not have a taxing authority, it would be consistent with ED’s guidance to document that the foreign country does not have a taxing authority. As such, the individual may provide either a website confirmation or a signed and dated statement indicating the country does not have a taxing authority.


Deadlines:

If you are selected for verification, all required documentation must be submitted to the financial aid office and processed before federal and state grant aid is disbursed or before a Federal Direct Loan will be originated.  Failure to provide the required verification materials will prevent disbursement of federal and state aid and may result in permanent loss of eligibility for the terms in question.

The verification process must be completed before the last day of enrollment for the current academic year or 90 days after last enrollment.  The Financial Aid Office must have originated all Direct Loans by the last day of enrollment.  The Financial Aid Office does not originate loans until the verification process is complete.

If you have been offered an Oregon Opportunity Grant fall term, verification must be completed before fall reporting is closed, which is typically around the seventh week of the term, or you will lose all eligibility for the year.  Submit documents early.

Instructions:


Other Situations May Require Different or Additional Documentation

Amended Tax Return: If you (or your parents) filed an amended tax return, you must provide both your IRS Tax Return Transcript(s) and a copy of your signed, 1040X form(s).
Other Tax Returns: If you filed taxes in Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, a signed copy of that filed tax return is acceptable documentation.
Freely Associated States (Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau & Federated States of Micronesia): A copy of the individual’s Wage and Tax Statement from each employer that provided such a statement and a signed statement identifying all of the individual’s income and taxes for the year is acceptable.
Other Foreign Countries: In cases where the filer filed a tax return or a similar document with a foreign country, signed copies of that tax return or their documentation, using income and tax information (converted to U.S. dollars) that corresponds most closely to the income information reported on as IRS tax return is acceptable.
Non-Filers: If you did not file taxes, you need to write a letter certifying:

  • You did not file and are not required to file;
  • List the sources of your income and the amount of income from each source not reported on a W-2;
  • A copy of each W-2 for the relevant tax year; and
  • A statement explaining how you survived and paid bills in that year
  • You must also submit verification of non-filing dated on or after October 1.

Since individuals without a Social Security Number, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or an Employer Identification Number are unable to obtain a verification of ninfiling from the IRS, these individuals whose income is below the IRS filing threshold must submit to the institution a signed and dated statement–

  1. Certifying that the individual(s) does not have a Social Security Number, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or an Employer Identification Number; and
  2. Listing the sources and amounts of earnings, other income, and resources that supported the individual(s) for the 2018 tax year.

Note: A dependent student who is a nontax filer is excluded from the requirement to provide verification of the dependent student’s nonfiling status from the IRS or other relevant tax authority.

Student (and Parent) Income and Assets: We need to ask about the value of any assets you may have.  These numbers must reflect the value at the time the FAFSA was filed.

DO NOT include: a small business if it is owned and controlled by the student (and spouse, if appropriate) and has 100 or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees, your principal place of residence or a family owned and operated farm, or retirement funds (ex: IRA, KEOGH, etc.).  If the answer is $0, enter that number.

Remember, the value of an asset is always the value minus any debt owed.

Individuals Granted a Filing Extension by the IRS

If an individual is required to file an IRS income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, provide the following documents:

  • A copy of the IRS’s approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time for relevant tax year;
  • A copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment income received for the relevant tax year and, if self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the U.S. income tax paid for the relevant tax year; and
  • A verification of non-filing letter as stated above for non-filers dated on or after October 1 of the appropriate year (i.e. October 1, 2019 for tax year 2018).

Note: The verification/confirmation of nonfiling letter is still required for a dependent student who filed for a tax extension beyond the initial automatic 6-month extension.