University of South Carolina

Financial Aid & Scholarships

FAFSA Verification

The FAFSA Verification Process
Each year, a number of Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs) are selected for Verification, a process required by the U.S. Department of Education through which information on the FAFSA must be documented to assure its accuracy. An email will be sent to your Gamecock email address notifying you that you need to check your eligibility and unsatisfied requirements on SSC where instructinons for completing your verification responsibilities can be found.

Documentation Required: Students will need to provide the appropriate institutional verification form (dependent or independent), federal tax return information for the student and parents (if dependent), and/or W2s if you were not required to file tax returns. You will be notified if additional documentation is needed for other specific information reported on your FAFSA.

Click here to access our forms. Please do not leave any section blank or incomplete.

  • How to provide your tax return information: If you have filed a tax return, you can document your tax information by one of the following methods:
    • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool provided through the FAFSA (preferred method)
    • -OR-
    • Order a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS

IRS Data Retrieval Tool: For assistance in using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please watch this video tutorial created by the financial aid office at University of California Santa Barbara.

You or your parents will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if any of the following apply:

  • You (or your parent) filed as married filing separately
  • You (or your parent) filed as Head of Household
  • You (or your parent) filed an amended tax return
  • You (or your parent) filed a Puerto Rican or Foreign Tax Return
  • Note: Tax information filed electronically within the last two (2) weeks or submitted by mail within the last eight (8) weeks may not be available through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Tax Return Transcripts: If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool provided through the FAFSA, you must order a Tax Return Transcript directly from the IRS and submit it to our office. There are several options for ordering a Tax Return Transcript; most are offered through the IRS website at Once you are on the IRS website, you can find information about ordering a Tax Return Transcript by clicking on "Order a Return or Account Transcript" under the Tools section on the homepage. Be sure to order a Tax Return Transcript (not a Tax Account Transcript) for the necessary documentation.

If you have ordered a Federal Tax Return Transcript and are experiencing difficulties receiving it in a timely manner, you may want to locate and visit a local IRS office to request one in person. The IRS provides a locator service here.

Amended Tax Returns: If you filed an amended tax return, the U.S. Department of Education allows us to accept your federal tax returns. We will need a signed copy of your original Federal Tax Return (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) AND your amended Federal Tax Return (1040x).

Filing Extensions: If you have filed an extension for your tax return, please contact our office so that we may send you the appropriate form necessary for completing verification.

Submitting Income Tax Information: If you are able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool provided through the FAFSA, your tax return information will be sent to us electronically within 7-10 days of your signing and submitting your FAFSA to us.

Once you have received your Tax Return Transcript, it should be submitted to our office by email, mail, or fax. Please refer to our Contact Us page for this information. If you are submitting parent's Tax Return Transcripts, be sure to write your name and the last four digits of your social security number on the top of each page so we know that it can be linked correctly to your file.

Documentation Deadline & Participation: Our office begins awarding aid on our priority deadline of April 1st. To prevent missing out on any limited funding sources, verification must be finished and your requirements on SSC satisfied. Even after April 1st, be sure to satisfy your requirements as soon as possible. If selected, the verification process is required to be completed before you may be awarded federal financial aid.

Note: If verification becomes necessary after you are initially awarded, your previously awarded aid may be placed on hold until your file once again becomes complete.