What is Verification?

Verification is a review process required by Federal student aid regulations. Approximately 30% of all students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are selected by the Federal Processor to complete the process. Verification requires the Financial Planning Office staff to verify that the information submitted on your FAFSA is accurate, by having the student and parent(s) provide supporting documentation. The documents required for Verification are specific to the student. If your FAFSA has been selected for Verification, you will be placed into one of five “Verification Groups” that specifically define the documents you are required to submit to the Financial Planning Office.


Students are expected to complete the Verification process at least 30 days prior to the end of the semester. Otherwise, the student is in jeopardy of not receiving any Federal funds for that period of enrollment and will be responsible for paying their entire balance from their own resources.

Federal Verification Deadline:

Verification cannot be completed after the Federal Deadline. All Federal Aid will be forfeited if verification is not complete by the Federal Deadline.

2022-2023 Academic Year Verification Deadline: September 1, 2023

Documents must be submitted by 11:59pm on September 1, 2023 in order for verification to be completed by the deadline.

How will I know if I have been selected?

You may be selected for Verification either by the Federal Processor or by the Office of Student Financial Planning. If selected by the Federal Processor, the Student Aid Report you receive after completing your FAFSA will indicate that you have been selected for Verification and you will receive an email informing you of the next steps. If you have been selected by Mercer, you will receive an email from us advising you that your information has been selected for Verification by our office. Do not submit any documents until we have notified you of your selection.

All required Verification tasks will be posted on

How can I verify my (and my parents) income?

The best way to verify income is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which is part of FAFSA on the Web. If the student has not already used the tool, go to, log in to the student’s FAFSA record, select “Make FAFSA Corrections,” and navigate to the Financial Information section of the form. From there, follow the instructions to determine if the student is eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. It takes up to two weeks for IRS income information to be available for the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for electronic IRS tax return filers, and up to eight weeks for paper IRS tax return filers.

If the student is unable or chooses not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in FAFSA on the Web, the student will need to submit an IRS tax return transcript, not a photocopy of the income tax return. To obtain an IRS tax return transcript, go to and click on the “Get Your Tax Record” link, or call 1-800-908-9946. make sure to request the “IRS tax return transcript” and NOT the “IRS tax account transcript.”

What documents are required to complete the Verification process?

The documents required for you to complete verification will be based on your FAFSA data and verification group. Login to to review what documents you need to submit.

What happens if there are discrepancies?

After all required documents are received from you, the Office of Student Financial Planning will compare that information to the information received on your FAFSA. If discrepancies are found, corrections will be made to your FAFSA data.  If the errors are significant enough to change your financial aid package, your package will be revised and an email notification will be sent, advising you to review your updated financial aid package. Any additional balance created by changes in your award package due to verification is the responsibility of the student. Payment arrangements for any remaining balance must be made through the Office of the Bursar.

How long does the Verification process take?

You should allow 10 business days for the Verification review process to be completed by our office after we receive all required documentation; and an additional 5 business days if corrections are required. Please also note the following:

  • Additional time may be needed during peak processing periods of the summer months.
  • Verification must be completed BEFORE any funds will be disbursed to your account; therefore, it is vital that you complete the verification process as soon as possible.