What is verification?

Verification is the process in which The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships verifies that the information on the FAFSA is accurate. The U.S. Department of Education mandates schools use the verification process to check the accuracy and completeness of data provided on the selected applicant's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The verification process is meant to ensure that Federal student financial aid is disbursed equitably and according to Federal law and program regulation. The U.S. Department of Education or the school selects applications for verification.


Who completes the verification process?

The School Servicing Center (SSC) completes the verification process on behalf of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). SSC will work directly with the student to complete the verification process. SSC will communicate with the student about the verification process.


Where do I send my documents?

SSC directs students to a secure web portal for information about required verification documents and activities. The website is the primary communication point for verification information. Students should visit the site often during the verification process for information on outstanding items.


What is the deadline to submit document?

It is the student's responsibility to provide requested information so that the verification process can be completed by the school's published deadline. The school is unable to disburse federal student financial aid until the verification process is complete. Failure to complete the verification process may result in a student not being eligible for federal aid and will need other means to pay for classes. Failure to pay for classes by published deadlines may result in the student being dropped from registered classes.


What documents are required to complete the verification process?

Verification may include (but is not limited to) a review of the following data for a student, a student's spouse, or parents of a dependent student:

  • Adjusted Gross Income
  • Taxes Paid
  • Income Earned from Work
  • Untaxed Income and Benefits
  • Household Size
  • Number in College
  • Receipt of SNAP (food stamps) Benefit
  • Child Support Paid and Received
  • Citizenship or Eligible Non-Citizenship Status, Veteran Status, and Social Security Number
  • In addition, the verification process is used to resolve inconsistent or conflicting information.


What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) and why should I use it?

Per regulations, the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships cannot accept copies of tax returns for verification purposes, except in rare, special circumstances. Therefore, if tax and income data are requested, students should either update the FAFSA application by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within the online FAFSA website or provide an official IRS Tax Return Transcript.  IRS Data Retrieval is an option within the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This function may be used to import processed income tax information already within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) database directly into the FAFSA.  Students and parents may elect to use IRS Data Retrieval when initially filing a FAFSA. They also may file the FAFSA with estimated data, later utilizing IRS Data Retrieval to update the FAFSA after their Federal tax returns have been processed. 

Click here to view the IRS Data Retrieval Tool tutorial

A free IRS Tax Return Transcript may be obtained directly from the IRS by online request, by calling 1-800-908-9946, or by completing and mailing Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, selecting the “Return Transcript” option. Further information about IRS tax return transcripts can be found at


When is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) available for use?

The IRS DRT is only available once a Federal income tax return has been filed and processed by the IRS. In general, income and tax information will be available for import by the IRS Data Retrieval tool within 3-4 weeks if a Federal return is filed electronically. Federal income tax returns submitted by regular mail may need to wait 8-11 weeks for tax information to be available via the IRS DRT.  Filers who owe taxes may experience longer wait times before they may access the IRS DRT in the FAFSA, particularly during peak tax filing season.


Important Note: If an applicant uses the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer federal income tax return data to the FAFSA without changing the transferred data, the applicant is generally not required to verify that information.
In most instances, the SSC submits FAFSA corrections to the Central Processor (CPS) that it has determined to be inaccurate or incomplete. Occasionally the student will be asked to correct the FAFSA data by going to the FAFSA on the Web website ( If changes made to the FAFSA impact the student's Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), the new Student Aid Report sent by the CPS as a result of those changes will reflect the new EFC.


Will being selected for verification prevent my aid from disbursing?

Your financial aid will not show as offered on your student bill or be disbursed until you have submitted all requested documents and the information has been verified by the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.  In addition, the U.S. Department of Education must receive and accept changes to the original FAFSA information prior to disbursement.


When is the Verification Process Complete?

The verification process is complete when all requested documents have been submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.  Students willl be notified when their verification has been completed.

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is responsible for checking all other eligibility criteria before packaging financial aid for the student. The school is also responsible for notifying the student of any changes made to an existing financial aid award package as a result of verification.


What if I do not want to complete the verification process?
Students and parents are under no obligation to complete the verification process; however, you are not eligible for federal or state financial assistance.  If you do not wish to complete the verification process, you should notify the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships via email or letter.  We will stop the communication process.


What if Fraud is suspected?

Elizabeth City State University is required to notify the U.S. Office of Inspector General if it is suspected or reported that a student, employee or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation submitted in order for a student to fraudulently obtain federal funds.