Verification Policy

FAFSA Verification

Each year the Central Processing System (CPS) of the US Department of Education selects a number of FAFSAs for "verification." If your FAFSA is selected for verification, the Financial Aid Office will need to collect additional documentation from you and verify some information that you provided on the FAFSA; for example, income information, number of people in the household, or citizenship status, to name a few. The information on this page will give you an idea of what to expect if your FAFSA is selected for verification.

For instructions on how to order a Tax Return Transcript, visit the IRS website

Notifications to the Student

A student whose FAFSA information is selected for verification will be notified of his/her selected status as follows:

  1. the CPS will notify the student on his/her Student Aid Report (SAR). Next to the EFC will be an asterisk (*) referring to a comment in the student section of the SAR that tells the applicant that he/she will be asked by the Institute to provide documentation for verification; and
  2. the CalArts Financial Aid Office will send email notifications on a bi-weekly basis to a student selected for verification. Notifications to the student will begin as soon as a FAFSA selected for verification is received by the Financial Aid Office. Notifications will continue until either the student has submitted all documents required for verification or the deadline for submission has been reached.

CalArts email notifications sent to a student whose FAFSA information is selected for verification will include a link to the Hub to view any required documentation under the Financial Aid menu and this webpage for information about the student's responsibilities with respect to the verification process, deadlines, and the consequences of failing to complete any required action.

Deadlines and Failure to Submit Documentation

  • For federal aid programs, excluding the Federal Pell Grant Program: A student enrolled in the fall semester must submit required verification documentation by November 1. A student who begins enrollment in the spring semester must submit required verification documentation by March 1. If the student does not provide the verification documentation by the deadline, CalArts will cancel his/her subsidized federal aid (excluding the Federal Pell Grant) for the award year.If the student then provides the documentation after the deadline, CalArts will reevaluate the student’s eligibility for federal financial aid and will award aid based on the availability of federal funds at the time of documentation submission.
  • For the Federal Pell Grant Program: A Pell Grant applicant selected for verification must complete the verification process by the deadline published in the Federal Register. The deadline is the October 1, or 120 days after the last day of the student’s enrollment, whichever is earlier. The verification process is complete when the College has received all requested documentation and a valid processed FAFSA report is on file including any necessary corrections to the report.If the student does not provide the verification documentation or the Institute does not receive the valid processed FAFSA report (ISIR) by the deadline, the student forfeits his/her Pell grant for the award year.

Correcting Errors on FAFSA Information

Upon receipt of the SAR, the student should review all information listed on the SAR and submit for processing any errors reported on the original FAFSA to the CPS.

In order to avoid registration holds or delays, verifications documents should be submitted no later than one week prior to the registration deadline. To avoid the cancellation of the student’s financial aid award, the final deadline for submitting verification documents is November 1.

An electronic summary of a student’s original FAFSA and any corrected FAFSA information will be sent from the CPS to the Institute. Once received, all FAFSA data, Verification Worksheets, and any supplemental verification documents will then be reviewed by the Financial Aid Office to verify the accuracy of the student’s FAFSA information and to calculate his/her eligibility for need-based financial aid.

If a student’s FAFSA information changes as a result of the verification process, the Financial Aid Office staff will:

  • a) submit for processing changes to the FAFSA information determined to be in error*;
  • b) recalculate the student’s Federal Pell Grant on the basis of the recalculated EFC;
  • d) notify the student via CalArts email of any change to his/her financial aid package.
  • c) adjust the student’s financial aid package on the basis of the recalculated EFC; and

*Note: Although the Financial Aid Office will be able to submit most changes to FAFSA information, on occasion it may be necessary for the student to submit changes directly to the CPS. In such cases, the Financial Aid Office will notify the student via CalArts email as to which data items must be corrected by the student and submitted for processing to the CPS.

Referral of Fraud Cases

Students and parents are advised that the Institute must and will refer to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) any credible information indicating that an applicant for Federal Student Aid may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with FAFSA applications. Common misconduct includes false claims of independent status, false claims of citizenship, use of false identities, forgery of signatures of certifications, and false statements of income. Note that fraud is the intent to deceive as opposed to a mistake on an application.