Verification Policy and Procedure
The priority deadline for federal aid is six weeks prior to the term. The financial aid office will issue a request for additional information if a student is chosen for verification and follow up with one reminder before issuing a final request. While the final request gives a two-week deadline, the student's file automatically will reopen if the verification information is submitted after this date. Please note that while we have a priority deadline, all information will continue to be reviewed after this priority deadline and aid will continue to be determined.
In order to be considered for federal grant funds, students selected for verification must return all requested verification documentation within 120 days from the last date of enrollment, or by Sept. 19, 2016 for the 2015-2016 academic year, or Sept. 13, 2015 for the 2014-2015 academic year, whichever comes first. Please note that the school also must have received a valid FAFSA result before the end date of the term. If the student fails to complete the verification process, the file will remain incomplete and federal aid will not be awarded.
If a student was chosen for verification after aid has been determined, the student must complete the verification process within this time frame to remain eligible for the funds. If the student's eligibility for aid has changed due to the verification process, the aid will be recalculated. If the student fails to submit the verification information, any federal grants or Perkins loans will be returned to the Department of Education and any undelivered or undisbursed federal Stafford loans will be returned to the lender.
Documentation Needed to Satisfy the Verification Requirements
Once a student is chosen for verification, he or she will receive a request to submit additional information and/or materials. Federal regulations have customized the verification process. Therefore, not all students selected for verification will be required to verify the same data. Our office will notify the student which data must be verified and what information or materials will be required to verify that particular data. Some of the requested materials may include, but are not limited to a verification form, an official federal tax return transcript from the IRS, W-2 wage statement(s), a written statement declaring any untaxed income received, proof of high school completion status and verification of identity and a statement of educational purpose.
Tax data can be provided by utilizing the IRS data retrieval option on the FAFSA, or by obtaining it directly from the IRS and submitting an official federal income tax return transcript and his or her (and spouse if married) W-2 wage statement. Please note that if the student is a dependent he or she will be asked to supply parental information on the verification form and will need to obtain a parent signature on the verification certification. A dependent student also will be required to supply an official federal income tax return transcript for his or her parent(s) and W-2 wage statement. If any part of the verification documentation is not fully completed or if any discrepancies exist, the student may be asked to supply additional information or explanation.
If any of the persons required to report information on the FAFSA will, but hadn't yet filed a tax return at the time of application, he or she would have used an estimated AGI (adjusted gross income) on the FAFSA. At the time of verification, the necessary tax returns should have been filed and must be used for verification. If a return hasn't been filed by then and a filing extension was granted by the IRS, the school shall accept as alternative documentation copies of the W-2 forms, and as proof that the IRS has granted a filing extension either a copy of IRS Form 4868-Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (automatically grants the taxpayer a six-month extension beyond the April 15 deadline), or a copy of the IRS approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension.
In addition to supplying the above documentation, the student must submit the tax return documents to the financial aid office, once completed. When the financial aid office receives the completed tax documents, we will use them to reverify the required data.
Notification to Students
Once the verification process is complete, students will be notified through email of their award eligibility. Please note that if federal aid was awarded before a student was chosen for verification and eligibility has changed as a result of the verification process, the student will receive an email notification to view the awards online. If the aid has been reduced the student will be billed accordingly.
Correction Procedure for Students
Upon completion of the verification process, if the student feels an error has been made he or she may contact our office to request the file be reviewed again. If the student provided incorrect information, the student will need to submit in writing the correction and request that the file be reviewed again.
In the event that financial aid eligibility has changed due to a verification resulting in overpayment to the student, the necessary funds will be returned to the Department of Education or to the lender (if a student loan). The student will receive an email notification to view the awards online and will be billed by business services.