Verification Process

Verification - The review of a student's financial aid application to ensure that the reported information is accurate and true based on the paperwork provided by the student themself or their Parent(s).

How do I view and submit my Verification requirements?

1.) Log on to your SF State Gateway with your SF State Login

2.) Find the To Do List section of your gateway and click on any financial aid related items listed on there

NOTE: All financial aid items on the To Do List must be in "Received" status in order for a student's file be assigned to a Financial Aid Counselor for review.

SF State Gateway - To Do List

3.) Click on each item to get more detailed information on what its about and what must be submitted to our office

4.) Submit all your documents through the DocuSign Portal Link included in the description of the To Do List item

SF State Gateway - To Do List Description

5.) Continue to monitor your SF State e-mail and/or SF State Gateway for any updates. If the Financial Aid Counselor assigned to your verification documents needs anything else from you, they will e-mail you directly.

6.) The expected timeline of completion for reviewing a student's verification file will be 3 to 4 weeks from the date of when all the documents were received by our office. Once the review is completed, the financial aid related items on the To Do List will disappear as confirmation.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: A student will NOT be awarded official awards to accept or receive a disbursement until ALL the financial aid related items on their To Do List has been submitted, reviewed, and cleared by our office.

Additional Verification Information

What is verification?

Verification is a process to confirm the information you provided on your financial aid application. The U.S. Department of Education may at any time select your application for verification based on the information you provided. Visit their website for more information about Verification and what happens after you submit your application.

How do I know if I am selected for verification?

You will receive an e-mail from the Office of Student Financial Aid that explains how to access To Do List on the SF State Gateway. Click on the links in your To Do List and read the instructions carefully. Download and complete the documents which are required, and be sure to read them thoroughly. Once completed, the documents should be submitted to our office through our DocuSign Portal, in-person submission, or by mail (Not recommended). 

Be sure to keep copies of all documents submitted for your personal records.

What happens once the documents are submitted?

Financial aid counselors review all submitted documentation and correct any discrepancies. In your student portal’s To Do list, you can monitor the status of the documents. Items will be removed from the To Do list once they are checked in for review. Once all items have been removed, your financial aid package should be ready to view within two to three weeks. If follow up is required, the checklist item will be added back and listed as “Incomplete.” Please be sure to monitor your To Do list after you have submitted your documents. Documents which are incomplete or illegible will cause a delay in receiving your award offer. In some cases we may require additional documents as we complete your file. You will be notified via e-mail and the document will be added to your To Do list, if applicable.

There is a "Student and Parent Tax Information" requirement on my To Do list. What do I need to submit?

Students and parents have two ways to submit tax information:

  1. The online IRS Data Retrieval Tool
  2. Order a Free IRS Tax Return Transcript

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Tax information can be securely and directly linked to your FAFSA application using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Click here for instructions on how to use the Data Retrieval Tool. You can also view this helpful IRS Data Retrieval Tool tutorial from UC Santa Barbara!


For electronic tax filers

IRS Data will be available to fill in the FAFSA within 2 weeks of filing

For paper tax filers

IRS Data will be available to fill in the FAFSA within 6 – 8 weeks of filing

Who is eligible to use the Data Retrieval Tool

You will be given the option to view/transfer your IRS information if you have:

  • Filed your Federal Tax Return(s)
  • A valid social security number
  • A Federal Student Aid ID (if you do not have a FSA ID, you will be given the option to apply for one)
  • Not changed your marital status since December 31 of the previous year

Who is not eligible to us the Data Retrieval Tool

The following circumstances make you ineligible to use the Irs Data Retrieval Tool:

  • Filed an amended Federal Tax Return
  • Will not file a Federal Tax Return
  • Are married but filed separate tax returns
  • Those without a valid SSN - filers who used a Tax ID Number (TIN)
  • Filed a foreign tax return (including Puerto Rico)

NOTE: Parents who are married but filing separately must submit two separate IRS transcripts. A signed and translated copy of foreign tax return must submit to our office are required for those filing a foreign or Puerto Rican tax return.

Students and Parents who are not eligible to use the Data Retrieval Tool must request a Tax Return Transcript.

Order a Tax Return Transcript

If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Option, you can print a tax return transcript from the IRS web site and submit it to the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Print it online

  1. Go to
  2. Click "Request Online”
  3. Create a log in and follow the instructions.
  4. Be sure that you request a "TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT ". (Not Tax Account Transcript).

Get Transcript by Mail (Allow 5 to 10 calendar days for your transcript to arrive)

  1. Go to
  2. Click "Request by Mail”
  3. Create a log in and follow the instructions.
  4. Be sure that you request a "TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT" (Not Tax Account Transcript).

Order by Phone (Allow 5 to 10 calendar days for your transcript to arrive)

  1. Call the IRS toll free at 1-800-908-9946.
  2. Follow the voice instructions and prompts.

Special Tax Filing Status

For the 2023-2024 school year (Fall 2023, Spring 2024, & Summer 2024) here at SF State, please see instructions below on how to submit 2021 tax information under uncommon circumstances.

1.) Married Filing Separate or Unmarried - Both Living Together

If your 2021 tax filing status was Married Filing Separate OR a parents' marital status was listed as "Unmarried - Both Living Together" on the FAFSA, submit:

If one or both parents DID NOT file taxes in 2021, an IRS letter of non-filing must be provided for each parent.

Change in marital status after 2021 taxes were filed

If your tax filing status was Married Filing Jointly and have since separated, submit:

2.) Amended Tax Filers

An individual who filed an amended IRS income tax return for tax year 2021 must submit:

  • 2021 Record of Account, in addition to one of the following:
  • Completed the IRS Data Retrival Tool on the FAFSA with all tax information from the original tax return; or
  • A 2020 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.

3.) Foreign Tax Filers

Those who filed taxes in another country must submit the following:

  • Foreign Tax Return reflecting 2021 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and taxes paid and
  • A translated copy of the foreign tax return

Those who lived in another country but did not file taxes in 2021 must submit:

  • Non-filing documentation from their relevant tax authority 

4.) Victims of Identity Theft

An individual who was the victim of IRS tax-related identity theft must provide:

  • A Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript obtained from the IRS, or any other IRS tax transcript(s) that includes all of the income and tax information required to be verified; and
  • A statement signed and dated by the tax filer indicating that he or she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS is aware of the tax-related identity theft.

To request aTax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) you may contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490