FINANCIAL AID

Verification Guide

2016-2017 Guide

Verification Guide

The Financial Aid & Scholarships Department is required to verify the information on your financial aid application before your aid eligibility is determined.   This guide will assist you with the verification process and explain how to find the necessary information. If you have been assigned a Dependent or Independent verification request on your To Do List, you are required to read this guide.  You must submit all required documents before we can determine your financial aid eligibility.

Why am I selected for verification?
The Department of Education (FAFSA applicants) and the California Student Aid Commission (CA Dream applicants) require that all schools verify the information of a select percentage of financial aid applicants. If selected for verification, you must submit all requested documents in order to be considered for aid.

How does the verification process affect my financial aid?
You cannot be awarded aid, including student loans, until you've submitted the required verification documents. Upon review of your documents, if additional information is needed, you will receive an e-mail notice at your CSUN email account. Please be sure to check your CSUN email account regularly.

How do I submit the required Electronic Verification (e-verification) Form?

  • The verification worksheet is an electronic form that you access through your student portal.  Navigate to the Financial Matters tab of your myNorthridge portal to access the assigned Dependent or Independent Verification form under Financial Aid Essentials.
  • Detailed instructions on how to complete the Dependent Verification form.
  • Detailed instructions on how to complete the Independent Verification form.

What if I don’t have a computer or if I cannot access the e-verification worksheet on my computer?
The University Student Union provides access to computers in the Computer Lab.

How do I submit the required income information?

  • We strongly encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IDRT) to verify income for the following reasons:
    • You won't need to provide a copy of tax transcripts.
    • It will help expedite the review of your file.
    • It's the easiest and most secure way to provide tax data.
    • The data retrieval tool will allow you to access your tax return information and transfer the data directly into your FAFSA.
    • It's the best way to ensure your aid eligibility is based on accurate data.
    • For instructions on how to use the data retrieval tool, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoiBrTvqgJU.
    • It takes up to two weeks from the time you made your FAFSA corrections for CSUN to receive your corrections.

Why am I unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
Students or parents who fall into any of the following categories are not eligible to use the tool:

  • CA DREAM students
  • Married couples who file separate tax returns or file as head of household.
  • If marital status has changed as of Jan. 1, 2015.
  • If you are neither eligible nor required to file a 2015 federal tax return.
  • If you have filed an amended tax return.
  • If you have filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
  • Parents who entered all zeroes for a Social Security number on the FAFSA.
  • Students or parents without a valid Social Security number reported on the FAFSA.

How do I request a tax return transcript if I am unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

  • To obtain a federal tax return transcript, request a hard copy from the IRS website.  For instructions on how to request the federal tax return transcript, read the how-to guide.

How do I submit my tax return transcript?

  • Once you have received your tax return transcript(s), make a copy and attach a cover sheet with your name and ID number. Then submit it either in person at windows 1, 2 or 3 of the Student Service Center in Bayramian Hall or by mail to 18111 Nordhoff St. Northridge, CA 91330-8307.  Do not submit a tax transcript(s) if you or your parents have successfully used the IRS Data Retrieval tool through the FAFSA. DO NOT write or make any markings on the tax return transcript. DO NOT submit the original tax return transcript(s) as they will not be returned. The Financial Aid office will not make copies.

How soon can I access an IRS tax transcript or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool after filing my tax return?

  • 2 -3 weeks, if you filed your return electronically.
  • 6 -8 weeks, if you mailed your paper return.
  • If you owe money to the IRS, your tax transcript will be available late-May to mid-June.

How can I make sure that my financial aid is ready by the first day of school?
You must submit your documents by June 2, 2016 to ensure you are awarded aid by the start of fall term.  Verification documents will be accepted after this date, but your aid may not be ready by the time school starts and you should be prepared to pay for any charges owed to the university.

What happens if I submit my documents after the June 2, 2016 deadline?
If you don’t submit the required documents by the deadline, you are responsible for paying your tuition and fees by the payment deadline or you may be dropped (disenrolled) from your classes.  For payment information, visit the University Cash Services website

What about my tuition and fees?
If you submit all required documents by the June 2nd deadline, you will not need to pay your tuition and fees at the time of registration.  If your financial aid award is less than your tuition and fees, you are responsible for paying any unpaid portion to University Cash Services by your payment deadline or you may be dropped (disenrolled) from your classes. 

How long will it take for my verification documents to be processed?
We review all documents within the date order received.  It may take up to nine weeks for your verification documents to be processed and if additional information is requested.  The processing time can be significantly reduced (up to 4 weeks) if you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and submit your documents well before June 2nd.

Once you submit your documents, please be patient. Do not contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department to confirm receipt of documents. Check your myNorthridge Portal weekly for confirmation.  A new message will appear on your Portal indicating that your file is under review.  The documents will be removed from your To-Do list once they have been reviewed for completeness.  If documents are incomplete, they will be listed as “initiated” in your To-Do list and you will receive an email notice informing you of what is missing. Continue to check your CSUN email account on a regular basis.

I didn't file a federal tax return, but it's on my To-Do List. What do I do?
Once you successfully submit the e-verification worksheet and it’s determined that you did not file and were not required to file a tax return, the request for a tax transcript will be removed from your To-Do List.

Why did I receive a request for additional information?
If you received a request for additional information, it means that the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department needs to clarify information on your submitted documents before your aid eligibility is determined. Review the request carefully and submit the required information. Your financial aid eligibility is pending until the requested documents are received. Be sure to sign any statements or forms to prevent further delay.

My parents filed separate federal tax returns. Whose do I submit?
Submit tax transcripts for both parents if you listed both on your FAFSA or CA Dream application.

My parents are separated or divorced but filed a joint tax return.  What do I do?
Submit the tax transcript and copies of W-2’s for both parents.  We will separate the income and taxes for each parent and use only the information for the parent listed on your verification worksheet.

What if my parents or I filed a foreign tax return?
Submit a signed copy of the foreign tax return along with an English translation.  Convert all monetary units to U.S. dollars, using the exchange rate in effect as of the date you filed your FAFSA or CA Dream application. To view the daily exchange rate, visit the Federal Reserve website.

My spouse and I filed separate federal tax returns. Whose do I submit?
Submit tax transcripts for both you and your spouse if you were married at the time that your FAFSA was filed.

I filed an amended tax return. What documents do I submit?
If you file an amended tax return, you must submit a signed copy of your amended 2015 1040X federal tax return and an IRS tax return transcript for the original 2015 return.

What happens if I don't provide the requested information?
We cannot determine aid eligibility nor disburse funds until all requested documents are received and reviewed. Upon signing the FAFSA or CA Dream application, you agreed to "provide information that will verify the accuracy of your completed form."

Will my income information be kept private?
Yes. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits the release of student information to third parties. Parental or spousal information received during the verification process is also protected under FERPA and will not be released to third party recipients. Exceptions may include, but are not limited to, subpoenas and federal audits of university records.

What if my or my parent's information on the federal tax transcript no longer reflects current income due to loss of employment?
Students and families who experience extraordinary circumstances that have caused a change in income may submit an Income Appeal. Students are limited to one successful appeal per academic career at CSUN. Appeal forms are available online beginning the fifth week of the fall semester. For more information regarding income appeals, please visit the 2016-2017 Forms and Documents tab on the financial aid website.

What if I can’t access my tax transcript because I’m a victim of IRS tax identity theft?
If you are a victim of IRS identity theft and unable to obtain an IRS tax return transcript or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you must contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490. Upon authenticating your identity, the IRS will provide a printout of your IRS income tax return information by U.S. Postal Service. You will need to submit all pages of the provided document to the Financial Aid Department in Bayramian Hall Student Lobby or through the mail. You will also need to submit a statement signed and dated by the tax filer indicating that they were victims of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft. For additional information read the how-to-guide.

Why did my household size change after verification?
We may update your household size based on what is reported on the verification worksheet and federal regulations. If you believe a mistake was made, you may appeal your household information. To do so, contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department for further instructions.

What do I submit if I filed a tax extension?
If you filed a tax extension, you must submit a copy of the IRS Form 4868, or Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Include a copy of all W-2 forms for each source of employment income received for the 2015 tax year. If self-employed, you must submit IRS Form 4868 and a signed statement certifying the amount of adjusted gross income and U.S. income tax paid for the 2015 tax year. If you were granted an additional extension beyond the automatic six months, you must submit a copy of the IRS' approval of the extension.           

2015-2016 Guide

The Financial Aid & Scholarships Department is required to verify the information on your financial aid application before your aid eligibility is determined.   This guide will assist you with the verification process and explain how to find the necessary information. If you have been assigned a Dependent or Independent verification request on your To Do List, you are required to read this guide.  You must submit all required documents before we can determine your financial aid eligibility.

Why am I selected for verification?
The Department of Education (FAFSA applicants) and the California Student Aid Commission (CA Dream applicants) require that all schools verify the information of a select percentage of financial aid applicants. If selected for verification, you must submit all requested documents in order to be considered for aid.

How does the verification process affect my financial aid?
You cannot be awarded aid, including student loans, until you've submitted the required verification documents. Upon review of your documents, if additional information is needed, you will receive an e-mail notice at your CSUN email account. Please be sure to check your CSUN email account regularly.

How do I submit the required Electronic Verification (e-verification) Form?

  • Beginning with the 2015/2016 academic year the verification worksheet is now an electronic form that you access through your student portal.  Navigate to the Financial Matters tab of myNorthridge portal to access the assigned Dependent or Independent Verification form under Financial Aid Essentials.
  • Detailed instructions on how to complete the Dependent Verification form.
  • Detailed instructions on how to complete the Independent Verification form.

What if I don’t have a computer or if I cannot access the e-verification worksheet on my computer?
The University Student Union provides access to computers in the Computer Lab.

How do I submit the required income information?

  • We strongly encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IDRT) to verify income for the following reasons:
    • You won't need to provide a copy of tax transcripts.
    • It will help expedite the review of your file.
    • It's the easiest and most secure way to provide tax data.
    • The data retrieval tool will allow you to access your tax return information and transfer the data directly into your FAFSA.
    • It's the best way to ensure your aid eligibility is based on accurate data.
    • For instructions on how to use the data retrieval tool, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoiBrTvqgJU.
    • It takes up to two weeks from the time you made your FAFSA corrections for CSUN to receive your corrections.

Why am I unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
Students or parents who fall into any of the following categories are not eligible to use the tool:

  • CA DREAM students
  • Married couples who file separate tax returns or file as head of household.
  • If marital status has changed as of Jan. 1, 2014.
  • If you are neither eligible nor required to file a 2014 federal tax return.
  • If you have filed an amended tax return.
  • If you have filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
  • Parents who entered all zeroes for a Social Security number on the FAFSA.
  • Students or parents without a valid Social Security number reported on the FAFSA.

How do I request a tax return transcript if I am unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

  • To submit a federal tax return transcript, download a copy from the IRS website.  For instructions on how to access the federal tax return transcript, read the how-to guide or watch this tutorial.

How do I submit my tax return transcript?

  • Once you have received your tax transcript(s), attach a cover sheet with your name and ID number. Then submit it either in person at windows 1, 2 or 3 of the Student Service Center in Bayramian Hall or by mail to 18111 Nordhoff St. Northridge, CA 91330-8307.  Do not submit a tax transcript(s) if you or your parents have successfully used the IRS Data Retrieval tool through the FAFSA.

How soon can I access an IRS tax transcript or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool after filing my tax return?

  • Two weeks, if you filed your return electronically
  • Eight weeks, if you mailed your paper return
  • If you owe money to the IRS, your tax transcript will be available mid-May

How can I make sure that my financial aid is ready by the first day of school?
You must submit your documents by June 1, 2015 to ensure you are awarded aid by the start of fall term.  Verification documents will be accepted after this date, but your aid may not be ready by the time school starts and you should be prepared to pay for any charges owed to the university.

What happens if I submit my documents after the June 1, 2015 deadline?
If you don’t submit the required documents by the deadline, you are responsible for paying your tuition and fees by the payment deadline or you may be dropped (disenrolled) from your classes.  For payment information, visit the University Cash Services website

What about my tuition and fees?
If you submit all required documents by the June 1st deadline, you will not need to pay your tuition and fees at the time of registration.  If your financial aid award is less than your tuition and fees, you are responsible for paying any unpaid portion to University Cash Services by your payment deadline or you may be dropped (disenrolled) from your classes. 

How long will it take for my verification documents to be processed?
We review all documents within the date order received.  It may take up to nine weeks for your verification documents to be processed and if additional information is requested.  The processing time can be significantly reduced (up to 4 weeks) if you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and submit your documents well before June 1st.

Once you submit your documents, please be patient. Do not contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department to confirm receipt of documents. Check your myNorthridge Portal weekly for confirmation.  A new message will appear on your Portal indicating that your file is under review.  The documents will be removed from your To-Do list once they have been reviewed for completeness.  If documents are incomplete, you will receive an email notice informing you of what is missing. Continue to check your email from CSUN on a regular basis.

I didn't file a federal tax return, but it's on my To-Do List. What do I do?
Once you successfully submit the e-verification worksheet and it’s determined that you did not file and were not required to file a tax return, the request for a tax transcript will be removed from your To-Do List.

Why did I receive a request for additional information?
If you received a request for additional information, it means that the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department needs to clarify information on your submitted documents before your aid eligibility is determined. Review the request carefully and submit the required information. Your financial aid eligibility is pending until the requested documents are received. Be sure to sign any statements or forms to prevent further delay.

My parents filed separate federal tax returns. Whose do I submit?
Submit tax transcripts for both parents if you listed both on your FAFSA or CA Dream application.

My parents are separated or divorced but filed a joint tax return.  What do I do?
Submit the tax transcript and copies of W-2’s for both parents.  We will separate the income and taxes for each parent and use only the information for the parent listed on your verification worksheet.

What if my parents or I filed a foreign tax return?
Submit a signed copy of the foreign tax return along with an English translation.  Convert all monetary units to U.S. dollars, using the exchange rate in effect as of the date you filed your FAFSA or CA Dream application. To view the daily exchange rate, visit the Federal Reserve website.

My spouse and I filed separate federal tax returns. Whose do I submit?
Submit tax transcripts for both you and your spouse if you were married at the time that your FAFSA was filed.

I filed an amended tax return. What documents do I submit?
If you file an amended tax return, you must submit a signed copy of your amended 1040X federal tax return and an IRS tax return transcript.

What happens if I don't provide the requested information?
We cannot determine aid eligibility nor disburse funds until all requested documents are received and reviewed. Upon signing the FAFSA or CA Dream application, you agreed to "provide information that will verify the accuracy of your completed form."

Will my income information be kept private?
Yes. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits the release of student information to third parties. Parental or spousal information received during the verification process is also protected under FERPA and will not be released to third party recipients. Exceptions may include, but are not limited to, subpoenas and federal audits of university records.

What if my or my parent's information on the federal tax transcript no longer reflects current income due to loss of employment?
Students and families who experience extraordinary circumstances that have caused a change in income may submit an Income Appeal. Students are limited to one successful appeal per academic career at CSUN. Appeal forms are available online beginning the fifth week of the fall semester. For more information regarding income appeals, please visit the financial aid website.

What if I can’t access my tax transcript because I’m a victim of IRS tax identity theft?
If you are a victim of IRS identity theft and unable to obtain an IRS tax return transcript or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you must contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490. Upon authenticating your identity, the IRS will provide a printout of your IRS income tax return information by U.S. Postal Service. You will need to submit all pages of the provided document to the Financial Aid Department in Bayramian Hall Student Lobby or through the mail.

Why did my household size change after verification?
We may update your household size based on what is reported on the verification worksheet and federal regulations. If you believe a mistake was made, you may appeal your household information. To do so, contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department for further instructions.

What do I submit if I filed a tax extension?
If you filed a tax extension, you must submit a copy of the IRS Form 4868, or Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Include a copy of all W-2 forms for each source of employment income received for the 2014 tax year. If self-employed, you must submit IRS Form 4868 and a signed statement certifying the amount of adjusted gross income and U.S. income tax paid for the 2014 tax year. If you were granted an additional extension beyond the automatic six months, you must submit a copy of the IRS' approval of the extension.