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Federal Verification 2021-22


Federal verification requirements for 2020-21.


The US Department of Education (ED) selects certain FAFSA files for a review process called verification. When this happens, our office is required to ensure that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate.

If your application has been selected, both ED and our office will provide you with instructions on how to proceed. Federal verification is an important part of the financial aid application process. We cannot process your financial aid award until the verification review is complete, so we encourage timely submission of all requested documents.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
Cornell’s federal verification deadline is the end of the term or academic year for which the student is enrolled, whichever is sooner.

Only complete federal verification documents if you have been selected for verification and have been notified by the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment or by ED.

Federal verification for the 2021-22 academic year requires 2019 income tax information.



All verification documents should be submitted to IDOC with your application documents. You will only be able to submit materials to IDOC after you have received an email from the College Board with IDOC submission instructions.

Required Documents

One or more of the documents below may be requested.

  • Federal Verification Worksheet: Be sure that you are submitting the worksheet that corresponds to the academic year for which you are applying and the dependency status on your FAFSA.

  • Tax Information: You can submit your tax information through any one of the following methods:

    • Preferred: The best way to verify income is by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) that is part of FAFSA.
    • If you are unable to use the IRS DRT, please provide a signed copy of your 2019 income tax return that was submitted to the IRS.
    • You may also submit a copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript for the 2019 income tax year. You can request a tax transcript through the IRS website or by calling 1-800-908-9946.
  • Nontax Filers: If you did not and were not required to file a federal tax return for 2019, the following documentation is required.

    • Dependent students: Nontax filers must provide a non-filing statement with supporting W-2s and/or 1099s if there is earned income. Students with no earned income should report $0. Forms that are blank will be considered incomplete.
    • Independent students and Parents of dependent students: Nontax filers must provide a non-filing statement with supporting W-2s and/or 1099s if there is earned income and Verification of Non-filing Letter from the IRS.

Verification Of Income Information For Individuals With Unusual Circumstances

  • Foreign Nontax Filers

An individual that lives in a foreign country and is unable to provide a Verification of Nonfiling Letter or confirmation of nonfiling from the relevant tax authority should provide Cornell with the following:

  • A signed and dated statement listing the sources and amounts of earnings, other income, and resources, that supported the individual for the tax year; and
  • If applicable, documentation of any earned income; and
  • Proof of that taxing authority's filing requirements (if available, documentation from their website is sufficient).

All verification documents should be submitted to IDOC with your application documents. You will only be able to submit materials to IDOC after you have received an email from the College Board with IDOC submission instructions.

  • Individuals Who Filed an Amended IRS Income Tax Return

An individual who filed an amended IRS income tax return for tax year 2019 must provide a signed copy of the 2019 IRS Form 1040X, “Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,” that was filed with the IRS or documentation from the IRS that include the change(s) made by the IRS, in addition to one of the following:

  • IRS DRT information on an ISIR record with all tax information from the original tax return; or
  • A signed copy of your original 2019 income tax return that was submitted to the IRS; or
  • A 2019 IRS Tax Return Transcript (that will only include information from the original tax return and does not have to be signed), or any other IRS tax transcript(s) that includes all of the income and tax information required to be verified.

All verification documents should be submitted to IDOC with your application documents. You will only be able to submit materials to IDOC after you have received an email from the College Board with IDOC submission instructions.

  • IRA/Pension Rollover

Students or parents who had an IRA or pension rollover during the 2019 tax year need to provide additional documentation. If you used the DRT when you filed your FAFSA, please submit the IRA/Pension Rollover Documentation Form. These forms require ink signatures. Electronic signatures will not be accepted.

If you are providing an IRS transcript, please include a signed and dated notation that includes the word "Rollover" beside the applicable item(s) on the transcript.

While we strongly encourage you to submit forms electronically, you may also submit by fax (607-255-6329) if needed.

  • Individuals Who Were Victims of IRS Identity Theft

An individual who was the victim of IRS tax-related identity theft must complete the following steps:

  • Contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.
  • Upon authentication of the tax filer’s identity, the IRS will provide, by U.S. Postal Service, an alternate transcript Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) of the tax filer’s IRS income tax return information or a signed copy of your 2019 tax return.
  • Provide a statement, signed and dated by the tax filer, indicating that he/she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft.

All verification documents should be submitted to IDOC with your application documents. You will only be able to submit materials to IDOC after you have received an email from the College Board with IDOC submission instructions.

  • Individuals Who Filed Non-IRS Income Tax Returns

A tax filer who filed an income tax return with a tax authority other than the IRS may provide a signed copy of his or her 2019 income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority. However, if we question the accuracy of the information on the signed copy of the income tax return, the tax filer must provide us with a copy of the tax account information issued by the relevant tax authority before verification can be completed.

All verification documents should be submitted to IDOC with your application documents. You will only be able to submit materials to IDOC after you have received an email from the College Board with IDOC submission instructions.

  • Individuals Granted a Filing Extension by the IRS

A tax filer who is required to file a 2019 IRS income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, beyond the automatic six-month extension for tax year 2019, must provide Cornell with the following:

  • A copy of IRS Form 4868, "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return," that was filed with the IRS for tax year 2019 (For an individual who was called up for active duty or for qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, in lieu of IRS Form 4868, Cornell will accept a signed statement from the individual certifying that he or she has not filed an income tax return or a request for a filing extension because of that service);
  • A copy of the IRS's approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension for tax year 2019;
  • Verification of Non-Filing Letter (confirmation that the tax return has not yet been filed) from the IRS or other relevant tax authority dated on or after October 1, 2020;
  • a copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 2019, and;
  • If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual's Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the U.S. income tax paid for the tax year 2019.

All verification documents should be submitted to IDOC with your application documents. You will only be able to submit materials to IDOC after you have received an email from the College Board with IDOC submission instructions. Please be advised that the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment will NOT move forward with a review of a student's institutional financial aid eligibility until we have received a valid tax return that has been received and processed by the IRS. We will not accept draft returns or extension approvals.

  • High School Completion Status

Provide one of the following documents to indicate the student's high school completion status when the student begins college in 2021-22:

  • A copy of the student's high school diploma;
  • For students who completed secondary education in a foreign country, a copy of the "secondary school leaving certificate" or other similar document;
  • A copy of the student's final official high school transcript that shows the date when the diploma was awarded;
  • A State certificate or transcript received by a student after the student passed a State-authorized examination that the State recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma (GED test, HiSET, TASC, or other State-authorized examination);
  • An academic transcript that indicates the student successfully completed at least a two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor's degree;
  • For a student who was homeschooled in a State where State law requires the student to obtain a secondary school completion credential for homeschooling (other than a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent), a copy of that credential.
  • For a student who was homeschooled in a State where State law does not require the student to obtain a secondary school completion credential for homeschooling (other than a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent), a transcript, or the equivalent, signed by the student's parent or guardian, that lists the secondary school courses the student completed and includes a statement that the student successfully completed a secondary school education in a homeschool setting.

All verification documents should be submitted to IDOC with your application documents. You will only be able to submit materials to IDOC after you have received an email from the College Board with IDOC submission instructions. A student who is unable to obtain the documentation listed above must contact the financial aid office.

  • Statement of Educational Purpose

You may be required to complete a Statement of Educational Purpose as part of the Federal Verification process. While our office is not open for in person traffic, you may complete this Statement of Educational Purpose in the presence of a notary public. The original notarized statement and a copy of the identification acknowledged by the notary public will need to be submitted to our office by mail.