STUDENT FINANCIAL SERVICES

Thanks for your patience

Now through September 15 is our busiest time of year, and we apologize for any wait times that are longer than normal.

Verification

The U.S. Department of Education selects students for verification. During the verification process, we validate the information about you and/or your parent/spouse that you included on your FAFSA. This information is vital to your student financial aid eligibility, and SFS is committed to ensuring these items are accurate. The verification process must be completed prior to the disbursement of any federal or state funding to your student account.

To ensure your student financial aid is processed and ready for disbursement by the first day of classes, all valid and completed documents must be received by June 1 for the Fall semester and December 1 for the Spring semester. Summer students must complete the verification process by the stated deadline.

Prospective students: if you do not complete the verification process prior to the established deadline, your aid will be suspended.

Current students: you will not be eligible for financial aid for the next school year unless your documents are submitted by the established deadline.

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 Loopmail account. This email will list all documents required for file processing and describe how to submit those documents to SFS. Students can also into their OASIS portal, select the Student Financial Services option, and look 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 submit clear, legible, and complete documents.

The student's verification documents must be submitted no later than 120 days from the student's last day of enrollment for the term. SFS cannot guarantee that late documents will be evaluated by the federal deadline.

Who goes through verification?

Federal Student Aid selects financial aid applicants for verification, and Columbia is required to collect the information necessary for verification and report any updated information to Federal Student Aid. A student can also be selected for verification by SFS if he or she presents conflicting information to the college or is requesting an exception due to special circumstances. 

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 also selects students for verification when special circumstances arise or a need for clarification warrants it.

What documents are needed for verification?

If you are selected for verification, log in to your OASIS portal to view the list of documents you must submit. Generally, you will need to provide information on your household size, number of members of your household in college, and income.

You must also submit a Columbia College Chicago Verification Worksheet. For dependent students, parents should also complete and submit this worksheet. 

What happens if I do not submit my documents?
If you are selected for verification and do not submit your documents by the priority deadline, you are responsible for paying any portion of your bill that would have been covered by financial aid.
Columbia does not consider you to be eligible for federal or state financial aid, and some institutional scholarships, until you have submitted all outstanding documents. 
What documents are needed for the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP Grant) Verification?
Students who are awarded the MAP Grant must submit any outstanding documents for the federal verification process and may also be asked to submit proof of Illinois residency.
Depending on whether or not you were required to file federal taxes, there are different things to keep in mind for the verification process:
Tax Filers

If the individuals listed on your FAFSA were required to file taxes and you are selected for verification, you are required to provide an IRS Tax Return Transcript for each tax filer on the FAFSA.

You may visit irs.gov/transcript to view and download your most recently-filed tax return transcript (for example, your 2016 year return for the 2018-19 FAFSA). You must verify your identity to use this tool. You may also call 800-908-9946, and your tax return transcript will be delivered to your address of record in 5-10 days. More information about the IRS Get Transcript service can be found at irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript-faqs

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 tax return, you must either:

  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval tool available at fafsa.gov in order to complete the verification process, OR
  • Submit a copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript to SFS. 

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. It is the fastest way to submit 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 most recent tax information. 

For the 2017-18 Award Year: Tax filers with the following exceptions should submit a Tax Filer Exception form along with the required documentation listed for your circumstance:

  • Filed an 2015 amended tax return
  • Filed a 2015 Puerto Rican or foreign tax return
  • Filed 2015 a tax filing extension (applicant must submit a copy of form 4868 and all W2s to SFS)
  • Is a victim of IRS identity theft/fraud 

2017-18 Tax Filer Exemption Form

For the 2018-19 Award Year: Tax filers with the following exceptions should submit a 2018-19 Tax Filer Exception form along with the required documentation listed for your circumstance:

  • Filed an 2016 amended tax return
  • Filed a 2016 Puerto Rican or foreign tax return
  • Filed 2016 a tax filing extension (applicant must submit a copy of form 4868 and all W2s to SFS)
  • Is a victim of IRS identity theft/fraud 

2018-19 Tax Filer Exemption Form

Non-Tax Filers

All non-filers with earnings in the relevant year (for example, 2016 wages for the 2018-19 FAFSA) are required to submit copies of that year's W2s to SFS. In addition, independent students and parents of dependent students are also required to submit an ISR confirmation of non-filing. Students or parents who indicate they did not file, but were required to file, will risk delays in the processing of the student's financial aid file. 

Information about filing limits can be found at irs.gov

IMPORTANT DATES

More Dates

About

Student Financial Services is here to help you determine ways to finance your education at Columbia College Chicago.

Read about disclosures here.

×