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Verification Information 2014-2015


Click here for more information on Caution Flags
Click here for more information on Dependency Documentation

IMPORTANT! There have been a number of significant changes to the verification process for 2014-15. Please read the information below carefully to ensure you submit the necessary documentation and take appropriate action steps to successfully complete the verification process. 
What is verification?
Verification is the process by which the institution validates specific data elements you entered on your FAFSA for you and/or your parents/spouse. These data elements are vital to your student financial aid eligibility and SFS is committed to ensure these items are accurate.  The verification process must be completed prior to the disbursement of any federal or state funding to your student account.
Who goes through verification?
The Central Processing Service (CPS) for Federal Student Aid randomly selects financial aid applicants each year.  If you are one of the randomly selected applicants, there will be a message on your Student Aid Report (SAR) remitted to you after your FAFSA was processed.  SFS will also select students for verification when special circumstances arise or a need for clarification warrants it.
What documents are needed for verification?
All selected applicants are required to submit:
  • A CCC 2014-15 Verification Worksheet
  • Dependent students and parents should complete and submit the 2014-15 Verification Worksheet
  • Independent students should complete and submit the 2014-15 Verification Worksheet

Certain applicants may also be required to submit:
  • A ‘Child Support Paid Form’
  • Click HERE  for more information on who is required to submit this documentation and why we are requesting this information.
  • All forms can be obtained from the Forms and Application Page in the Resource  Center.
Tax Filers:
Federal guidelines prohibit institutions from accepting tax forms (i.e. Form 1040) from individuals selected for verification. If your FAFSA was selected for verification and you have filed or will file a 2013 tax return, you must either: 
  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval tool available at www.fafsa.ed.gov in order to complete the verification process; OR
  • Submit a copy of your 2013 IRS Tax Return Transcript to Student Financial Services (SFS). A free copy of your Tax Transcript can be requested at www.irs.gov or by calling 1-800-908-9946. Instructions for requesting your free Tax Return Transcript can be found here.

IRS Data Retrieval is an optional tool students and families can use when completing the FAFSA that allows the tax filer to transfer their tax information directly to the FAFSA via a secure web link. We encourage students and families to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval as this is the fastest way to submit the information to our office. However, in certain circumstances, students and/or parents should not use the IRS Data Retrieval feature as it will not accurately reflect their 2013 tax information.
  • Married and filed ‘married filing separately’ or ‘head of household’
  • Had a change in marital status after the end of the tax year (December 31, 2013)
  • Filed an amended tax return
  • Filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return
  • Filed a tax filing extension (applicant must submit a copy of form 4868 and all W2s to SFS)
  • Information retrieved via the IRS Data Retrieval is otherwise incorrect

If you or your parent(s) meets any of the above circumstances, a tax transcript should be requested and sent to SFS.
Non-Tax Filers:
For 2014-15, non-filers are required to submit copies of all 2013 W2s to SFS. Students or parents who indicate they did not file but were required to file will risk delays in processing of the student’s financial aid file.  For 2013, the filing requirements for most tax payers (except those claimed as a dependent/exemption) are listed below. More information about filing limits can be found at www.irs.gov.

Filling Status Single Married filling Jointly Married filling Seperately Head of Household
Under 65 $10,000.00 $20,000.00 $3,900.00 $12,850.00
Over 65 $11,500.00 $22,400.00 $3,900.00 $14,350.00
What documents are needed for Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant Verification?
If you have been awarded an Illinois MAP Grant, and you are selected for verification, you should submit a copy of the following documentation according to your status:

Dependent Student Independent Student*
Parent’s Valid Illinois Drivers License (front and back); Student’s Valid Illinois Drivers License (front and back);
Parent’s Valid Illinois State ID Student’s Valid Illinois State ID
Parent’s Illinois Voter Registration card with date of issuance Student’s Illinois Voter Registration card with date of issuance
*Independent Students must provide proof of residency in the state of Illinois for 1 full year prior to the beginning of the fall term and not solely for the purpose of attending college.

For 2014-15 Columbia College Chicago will not accept copies of student/parent 2013 Illinois State Tax Returns. If an Illinois State Tax return is received, Columbia College Chicago will assume the student or parent is unable to provide proof of Illinois residency.

Independent students may also be required to provide proof of Illinois residency if they are not selected for verification but answered ‘No’ to FAFSA question #19, “Did you become a legal resident of this state before January 1” of the printed year.
How does the verification process work?

All students who are selected for verification and confirmed/enrolled for the term will be sent a Missing Document email to their LOOP account.  This email will list all documents required for file processing and how to submit those documents to SFS.  Students also have the option of logging into their OASIS Student Portal account, selecting the Student Financial Services option, and looking under ‘Missing Documents’ to see the complete list of requested documents.

Documents that have been received, reviewed, and determined to be incomplete or insufficient will be destroyed and a second request will be made to satisfy the document requirement. SFS will not return original documents submitted to the sender. To avoid delays in student financial aid processing please be sure to submit clear, legible, and complete documents.

In order to have your student financial aid processed and ready for disbursement by the first day of classes, all valid and completed requested documents must be received by:

  • June 1st – Fall Semester
  • November 1st – Spring Semester
Where should I go if I have additional questions about verification?
For questions or concerns regarding the verification process, students and parents should contact SFS.