What is Verification?

If you are selected for verification, you are not alone! About 30% of FAFSA filers are selected for the verification process.

The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects students for verification.  ED requires schools to collect documentation to check the accuracy of the FAFSA information.  If selected, the verification process must be completed before financial aid can be disbursed.  Please note, if a correction is made to a FAFSA, it could be selected for verification even if the original application was not.

When selected for verification, the student will be notified through their FAFSA, myHilltop, and SEU email.  In myHilltop, the student is directed to resolve outstanding financial aid requirements.  Students should upload required documentation through the secured portal.   We encourage students to submit outstanding requirements by July 1 in order for proper and timely processing of their financial aid.

IRS Data Retrieval Process

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is available through the FAFSA! We highly recommend using this secure method to import student and parent tax information from the IRS into your FAFSA application.

Using DRT speeds up the verification process and can eliminate the need for extra paperwork.

Depending on how taxes were filed, the IRS DRT may not be an option. If selected for verification and ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, a copy of the tax RETURN TRANSCRIPT will be required.  Note: The IRS redacts critical identifying information on tax return transcripts, such as full names of parents and dependents, so it is imperative to have them sent to you first; after adding student information, you should submit them to our office.

There are four options for obtaining a tax RETURN TRANSCRIPT.

  • You can get your free transcripts immediately online.
  • You can also get them by phone.
    • Call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts.
  • Using the mobile app.
    • Download the IRS2Go mobile phone app on your smartphone and follow the instructions.
  • You can receive transcripts by mail or by fax (within five to 10 days from the time IRS receives your request).


When uploading or submitting any documents to our office, we ask that you list the student’s full name and St. Edward’s ID number in the top right corner of the document.  Failure to provide this information will lengthen processing time and may prevent us from processing your document entirely. 

Important Tips for Completing the Verification Process

  • Complete all requested forms in full: Do not leave any questions blank. All questions must have an answer even if it is a "0". 
  • Be sure required signatures have been provided.Signatures should not be typed.
  • Submitting your FAFSA early and completing verification is required before aid can be applied to the student’s account. The FAFSA for the upcoming academic year opens annually on October 1st.
  • During peak periods, please allow extra time for processing your verification documents. 
  • Once verification begins, you may be asked to submit additional documentation. If this occurs, an email will be sent to the student's SEU email account and all requested documents can be viewed on the myHilltop portal.

Special Circumstances

Special Circumstance Appeal

We recognize that the FAFSA may not always accurately reflect your financial situation. Although considerations for specific situations are limited, we may be able to give additional consideration for situations as described below.

Special Circumstance Appeals will be considered after you receive your initial award notification for the current aid year. Special circumstance considerations may require the counselor to verify tax documents. In addition, other documents pertaining to the circumstance may be required. Submitting a special circumstance request does not guarantee an adjustment will be made to your aid offer.

Please contact your Student Financial Services Counselor to see if your situation falls under a circumstance that can be considered. If approved, any additional funding awarded may only available for the academic school year for which the special circumstance is approved. Special circumstances must be reviewed annually.

Examples of Special Circumstances Considered

  • Loss or reduction of income (layoff, illness, forced reduction of hours, temporary employment, etc.)
  • Catastrophic medical or dental expenses
  • Death, divorce, or separation of parents or spouse
  • Non-recurring payments receiving during the FAFSA tax year that will not be repeated
  • Loss of benefits, such as unemployment, disability, social security, veterans, child support, or alimony

Examples of Special Circumstances NOT Considered

  • Increase of standard living expenses.
  • Purchasing material items such as a car, home appliances, vacations, second homes, etc.
  • Reduction of assets. Changes in assets will be reflected on the following year's FAFSA.
  • Credit issues, line of credit changes, previous student loan debt, etc.
  • Medical bills paid by health insurance or that will be reimbursed by health care coverage.
  • Siblings or parents who are also attending college. Siblings are already taken into account on the FAFSA. Students cannot list their parents in the number in college.

None of the Above

  • My situation is unique and does not include the above situations.

The Special Circumstance Appeal form is available by request only. If you feel you have a special circumstance, contact your Student Financial Services Counselor for further guidance.

To apply for financial aid, students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a Department of Education form used by colleges and universities in the U.S. to determine eligibility for the preferred types of financial assistance.

Through the FAFSA, students are considered for federal education loans that feature low fixed interest rates, extended repayment periods, and flexible payment options. In addition, New College students are considered for the federal Pell grant, while full-time traditional undergraduate students are also considered for state and university grants. Eligibility for grants is based on family size, income and assets, so not all students qualify.

How to Complete the FAFSA

Step 1: Get a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID at fsaid.ed.gov

The FSA ID is a user-selected username and password that will allow you to:

  • Complete and sign the FAFSA electronically
  • Check the results of your FAFSA and make corrections to the application online

Since the FSA ID is user specific, parents must request their own FSA ID in order to sign the FAFSA.

Step 2: File Your FAFSA at fafsa.gov

Make sure to submit the FAFSA which corresponds to the school year you'll be attending. For example, students starting in Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 should submit the 2020-2021 FAFSA. Make sure to list St. Edward's federal school code, 003621, in the school release section of the application.

Step 3: Monitor the Status of Your FAFSA

After you've filed your FAFSA, you can check the status of your application at fafsa.gov, or you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243 and use their automated response system. St. Edward's generally receives the results of your application within three days after it has been processed. If you do not receive a response from the Department of Education within two weeks of submitting your FAFSA, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center for assistance.

In addition to submitting the FAFSA, you also need to apply and be accepted to St. Edward's in order to receive your financial aid offer.