If selected for verification, the student will receive an email stating you have been chosen for verification and a form that needs to be included will be attached.

Because students sometimes make errors on their FAFSA application, the Central Processing System (CPS) requires Sterling College to assist with verifying FAFSA applications and making corrections. The CPS selects which applications are to be verified.

Being selected for verification means you will be asked to provide documentation to Sterling College that is specific to the answers you provided to FAFSA questions. No further action can be taken on your request for financial aid including all federal, state, or need-based university funds until you submit the required information and complete the verification process.

Students should respond within two weeks of receiving the college’s request for documentation. An official financial aid award cannot be made until all required documents are submitted to the Financial Aid Office. You may e-mail your scanned documents to the the Financial Aid Office at

If there are differences between your FAFSA data and the verification documents, the university will make corrections electronically. Your financial aid awards may be adjusted as a result of the correction process.

Option 1 — IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Students and parents are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import data from their tax return. It is the fastest, easiest, and most secure method of meeting verification requirements. Students and parents do this either when initially filling out the FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) application or later as a correction. For the retrieved data to be acceptable documentation of tax data, it is necessary that neither students nor parents change the data after it is transferred from the IRS—if the data is changed after importation the student will need to provide other documentation.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is not available to students and parents if any of these conditions apply.

  • The person did not indicate on the FAFSA that the tax return has been completed.
  • The person is married and filed the tax return either as “Head of Household” or “Married Filing Separate”.
  • The marriage date is January 2014 or later.
  • The tax return was amended.
  • Neither married parent entered a valid SSN.
  • A parent entered all zeros for the SSN because parent does not have a Social Security Number.
  • The person filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
  • If taxes have been completed within the last 3 weeks.

Option 2 — IRS Tax Return Transcript

If students cannot or will not use IRS Data Retrieval Tool they must document income data by providing an IRS Tax Return Transcript for the student and spouse or parents, as applicable. Request an IRS TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT.

If you are having trouble obtaining a tax transcript or using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, call the Financial Aid Office for Assistance at 800-346-1017.