What is verification?

Verification is the process of documenting the information you provided on the FAFSA.

How does an application get selected for verification?

Generally, students are selected at random for verification by the Federal Student Aid Programs' Central Processing System. 

How do I know if I have been selected for verification?

  1. Check the FAFSA website 3-5 days after completion of FAFSA or after each FAFSA correction. (Corrections also include simply editing school codes.)
  2. Find and read the SAR (Student Aid Report). The SAR will tell you if any additional information is required, or if you have been selected for verification.
    • Login to the FAFSA website
    • Make sure the " Current Application Status" says " Processed Successfully"
    • Proceed to " View Processed Information"
    • Confirm your identity with your Federal FAFSA PIN
    • Select the most recent transaction
    • Select the " SAR Comments" link on the left and read carefully to see if your application has been selected for verification

What do I do if I have NOT been selected for verification at this time?

  1. Check your financial aid status on GoldLink and your Goldmail frequently.
  2. Note that you may be selected for verification at a later time (even after awards have been made) in some circumstances:
    • Any subsequent corrections to your FAFSA can result in selection for verification.
    • If at any time conflict arises between your FAFSA report and other information received by the ETSU Office of Financial Aid, your application may be selected for verification.
  3. You may be required to submit additional documentation even if your application is not selected for verification.

What do I do if I have been selected for verification?

1.   If you are selected for verification, submit all required documents:

  • Appropriate Verification Worksheet--completed and signed
  • For 2014-2015:  Copies of the 2013 Federal Tax Return Transcript (due to new federal regulations, copies of the 1040/1040A/1040EZ will NOT be accepted) for the student and parent, if the student is dependent, or spouse, if student is married
  • Note:  If a student uses the IRS data retrieval option when completing the FAFSA and makes no changes to the tax information, a tax return transcript may not be required
  • For 2013-2014:  Signed copies of the 2012 Federal IRS Tax Return Transcript for the student and parent, if student is dependent, or spouse, if student is married
  • All W-2s for the appropriate year for student and parent, if student is dependent, or spouse, if student is married
  • Note: Further information/documentation may be required.

2.   Check your student requirements on GoldLink frequently.

3.   Respond immediately to any and all requests from the Office of Financial Aid for information. Check Goldmail daily.


How do I request a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS?

Click here to see the 3 available options or students and parents can now print their own tax return transcript at the IRS website at  

Amended tax return and other information.

Is verification required if I ONLY want to apply for the Lottery Scholarship?

Students who are eligible for Tennessee Educational Lottery Scholarships may be flagged for verification. These students have two options:
  • Complete the verification process in order to determine if the student may be eligible for any other aid, including grants, loans, and federal work study, OR
  • The student can complete the TELS Verification Opt-Out form if the student wants NO other aid.  This form is available by contacting a Financial Aid Counselor 
    *NOTEOnly complete this form if your FAFSA was selected for verification.  By completing this form, you are stating that you DO NOT want to be awarded any aid other than the Tennessee Hope and/or Merit Scholarship. (You must meet eligibility requirements to receive these awards.)

Verification Tips

Verification Forms

Helpful Videos:

















IRS Tax Return Transcript

IRS Contact Info:

Federal Student Financial Aid Penalities for Drug Law Violations