FINANCIAL AID

Verification Guide

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 either a signed copy of the original 1040 tax return filed or 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.

2014-2015 Essentials

Verification Worksheet Checklist

  • Submit copies and not originals. The Financial Aid & Scholarship Department will keep any documents submitted and originals will not be photocopied.
  • Include your name and Northridge ID number on every document submitted, including copies of your parent tax return transcript forms.
  • Use blue or black ink to complete the work sheet.
  • Student and parent must sign the Verification Worksheet.
  • Do not leave any blank answers. If student, parent or spouse do not have anything to report, enter zero.
  • Be as thorough as possible. Incomplete packets will not be accepted; they will be returned unprocessed to the home address on file. 

Income and Tax Information

  • To verify your 2013 income, you must update your Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) by using the IRS data retrieval tool, or print or request a tax transcript directly from the IRS. If you filed a California Dream Act application and were asked to verify income, you must print or request a tax transcript from the IRS.
  • FAFSA applicants only: If you did not use the IRS data retrieval tool when you completed the FAFSA, you should correct your FAFSA by using the IRS data retrieval tool (if presented this option). The data retrieval tool will allow you to access your tax return information and transfer the data directly into your FAFSA. If you filed your tax return electronically, allow two weeks from the filing date to access your income information through the retrieval tool. If you filed a paper tax return, allow eight weeks.
  • If you, a parent, or spouse do not or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will be required to obtain a tax transcript from the IRS and submit it to Financial Aid & Scholarship Department. To obtain a tax transcript, read the how-to guide.

Making Copies

  • Make sure all tax transcript pages are clear.
  • If the tax transcript includes information on the front and back, copy both sides of the page.
  • Check the copies to ensure all figures are legible.
  • Retain copies of all submitted documents for your records.

Verification of 2013 IRS Income Tax Return for Individuals with Unusual Circumstances

  • Amended IRS income tax return: If you filed an amended tax return, you must submit a signed copy of your 2013 amended 1040X federal tax return and either a signed copy of the original 1040 tax return filed or a 2013 IRS tax return transcript.
  • Victims of IRS identity theft: If you are a victim of IRS identity theft and unable to obtain a 2013 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 2013 IRS income tax return information by U.S. Postal Service.
  • Foreign tax returns: If you filed a foreign tax return, you must submit a signed copy of it and an English translation with a conversion of all monetary units to U.S. dollars using the exchange rate effective the date you filed your 2014-2015 FAFSA. To view the daily exchange rate, visit the Federal Reserve website
  • Tax Filing Extensions: 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 2013 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 2013 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.

2014-2015 FAQs

Why am I selected for verification?

The Department of Education (FAFSA applicants) and the California Student Aid Commission (California Dream Act applicants) requires 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.

Where can I get the forms I need?

Financial aid forms are available online. Forms for the 2014-2015 academic year will be posted in early April.

When is the deadline to submit 2014-2015 verification documents?

The deadline to submit 2014-2015 verification documents is June 2, 2014. You must submit by the deadline to ensure you are awarded aid by the start of fall term.

How does the verification process affect my financial aid?

You cannot be awarded until you've submitted a copy of the requested verification documents. If conflicting information exists, it must be resolved before aid is awarded.

What about my tuition and other fees?

You are responsible for paying your tuition and other fees by the payment deadline, or you may be disenrolled from classes for the upcoming term. For information on payment, please visit University Cash Services.

How long will it take for my verification to be processed?

It can take up to nine weeks for your verification documents to be processed. This time may vary depending on the volume of documents received in the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department and if any conflicting information exists. Remember to respond promptly to requests made via email or on your myNorthridge Portal to-do list. Once you submit your documents, please be patient. Do not contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department to confirm receipt of documents. Submitted documents that have been approved will be removed from your myNorthridge Portal to-do list.

Where do I turn in my forms?

We strongly encourage you to submit forms in person, so your submission can be reviewed for completeness. You may submit documents in person to any of the financial aid windows on the first floor lobby of Bayramian Hall. Alternatively, you can mail in forms to:

Financial Aid & Scholarship Department
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8307

Do not send in forms by fax; we will not accept them. Only submit documents requested as they appear on your myNorthridge Portal to-do list. Incomplete financial aid documents or packets will not be accepted and will be returned in their entirety.

Why should I use the IRS data retrieval tool?

We strongly encourage using the IRS data retrieval tool for the following reasons:

  • It's the easiest and most secure way to provide tax data.
  • It's the best way to ensure your FAFSA has accurate tax information.
  • It's the best way to ensure you aid eligibility is based on accurate data.
  • You won't need to provide a copy of tax transcripts.
  • It will help expedite the review of your file if you are selected for verification.

Students or parents who fall into any of the following categories are not eligible to use the tool:

  • Married couples who file separate tax returns or file as head of household.
  • Applicants whose marital status has changed as of Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Applicants who are neither eligible nor required to file a 2013 federal tax return.
  • Applicants who have filed an amended tax return.
  • Applicants who have filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
  • Parents who entered all zeroes for a Social Security number on the FAFSA.
  • Applicants or parents without a valid Social Security number reported on the FAFSA.
  • California Dream applicants

Students or parents who are not eligible to use the tool are still encouraged to update the income information on the FAFSA or California Dream Act application. Use the tax transcript or tax return (if you submission was originally estimated), so it reflects the information on the 2013 tax return you or your parents filed.

Why do I have to turn in a federal tax transcript?

The Financial Aid & Scholarship Department will use the federal tax transcript to verify or correct the income information on your FAFSA and California Dream Act application.

I didn't file a federal tax return, but it's on my To-Do List. What do I do?

  • If you did not file a tax return because you were not employed in 2013 and had no income earned from work, you should indicate this as an option on the Verification Worksheet. report any wages earned on page two, section C of the Verification Worksheet. Do not leave any blank answers on the work sheet.
  • If you had earnings for 2013 but did not file a tax return or were not required to file, you must submit all 2013 W-2 forms along with your Verification Worksheet.
  • If your 2013 earnings were paid in cash, you must indicate this as an option on the Verification Worksheet. 

Do not leave any blank answers on your Verification Worksheet.

How do I print or order a tax transcript?

To obtain a tax transcript, read the "how-to guide." CSUN does not accept tax return transcripts directly from the IRS; applicants must submit tax transcripts as part of the verification packet.

How do I obtain a W-2 if I don't have a copy?

You can print your wage and income transcript on the IRS website.  

How soon can I request an IRS tax transcript after filing my tax return?

  • If you electronically file your return, two weeks.
  • If you mail your return, eight weeks.

How soon after filing my tax return can I use the IRS data retrieval tool?

  • If you electronically file your return, two weeks.
  • If you mail your return, 8 weeks.

How long does it take for CSUN to receive my updated FAFSA?

  • It takes at least two weeks from the time you made your FAFSA corrections for CSUN to receive your corrections.

Why did I receive a request for additional information?

If you received a request for additional information, the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department identified conflicting information that must be resolved before completing your verification. Review the request carefully and submit any missing information. Your verification is pending until the additional information is received. Sign any statements or forms to prevent further delay.

My spouse or parent filed separate federal tax returns. Whose do I submit?

If you and your spouse or parents filed separate federal tax returns, submit tax transcripts copies of both. We will determine how to use the information correctly. Failure to submit copies of both tax transcripts will delay the verification process.

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 2013 amended 1040X federal tax return and a either a signed copy of the original 1040 tax return filed or a 2013 IRS tax return transcript. 

My parents live and work in another country and don't file U.S. income tax returns. What do I do?

Submit a signed copy of the foreign tax return and an English translation with a conversion of all monetary units to U.S. dollars using the exchange rate effective the date you filed your 2014-2015 FAFSA or California Dream Act application. To view the daily exchange rate, visit the Federal Reserve website

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, you agreed to "provide information that will verify the accuracy of your completed form."

Will my parents' or spouse's information be kept private?

Yes. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibit 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 Forms & Documents section.

The verification worksheet is asking for spouse information, but I'm not married. How should I answer these questions?

If you are not married, you should answer the questions that refer to both student and spouse with your information only, but skip any questions that refer to spouse only.