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. 12, 2020 for the 2019-2020 academic year, or by Sept. 20, 2021 for the 2020-2021 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 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, a signed copy of federal tax returns, 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 also be provided by utilizing the IRS Data Retrieval, made available on the FAFSA. 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 tax information for his/her parents and should also utilize the IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA to supply such information. 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.
Only individuals granted a filing extension by the IRS beyond the automatic six-month extension for tax year 2018 (for 2020-2021 applicants) or 2017 (for 2019-2020 applicants) may submit a copy of IRS Form 4868, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.”
Verification of Non-filing
Students who did not file taxes for the requested year must submit a Verification of Non-filing letter from the IRS. This letter can be obtained at IRS by requesting a transcript of Verification of Non-filing. If students/spouses/parents are unable to obtain this verification from the IRS, they must submit a signed statement certifying that she or he has attempted to obtain the Verification of Non-filing from the IRS but was unable to.
Victims of Identity Theft
Victims of identity theft, in addition to submitting a copy of the Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript, must also submit 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 has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft. If the Tax Return Database View (TRDBV) transcript is not available, students can submit a signed copy of the tax return or tax return transcript.
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.