Students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be selected by the federal government to have the information verified. All students who have outstanding documents to the Office of Financial Aid will be notified in writing every three weeks until the file is complete.
- The Office of Financial Aid is required to verify all of the applicants who are selected to be verified by the United States Department of Education.
- In the case where a student is eligible for non-need based aid only, the student will still be required to complete the verification process.
- If a student fails to complete the verification process and is the recipient of non-need based only, the Director of Financial Aid will waive the verification requirement on a case-by-case basis only.
Reconsideration of Aid
- All students who request reconsideration of their financial aid package due to change in financial circumstances will also be required to be verified before a recalculation of their eligibility is conducted.
- In addition, a counselor may choose to require verification of any student whom they suspect may have reported their initial information incorrectly.
- All new incoming students to the university will be packaged before the verification materials are received. However, their aid will not be disbursed until the verification process has been completed. All returning students will be required to provide verification materials before the aid is awarded.
- All students who are selected for verification will be required to complete the verification worksheet.
- In addition, students and parents who are required to file a federal income tax return must provide the Office of Financial Aid a signed copy of their federal tax return with W-2 forms.
- In the case where the income earned from work is less than $10,000, the financial aid counselor may at his or her discretion, waive the W-2 requirement.
- For incomes over $10,000, the Director of Financial Aid will provide guidance on whether or not to waive the W-2 forms in consultation with the individual counselor.
- Additional documentation of untaxed income is not required unless the financial aid counselor finds discrepant information between the verification worksheet at the information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that exceeds the tolerance level of $400.
- Examples of untaxed income include child support, workman’s compensation benefits, and/or an explanation of unusually low income.
- Each student is requested to provide the documentation for completion of the verification process within two weeks of the date of the missing information letter.
- The counselors, when making follow up telephone calls to students in November for the end of the Fall semester, April for the Spring semester, and in August for the Summer semester, should indicate to the student the deadlines for completing verification and the consequences for not meeting the stated deadline.
- Each counselor should provide electronic comments regarding their contact with individual students as a documentation of the contact.
- Within 30 days of the end of the semester, the student will be sent a Verification Deadline letter detailing the last date that the verification materials can be received in order to assure proper time for the verification to be completed.
- This letter is mailed on a weekly basis with follow up telephone and/or electronic mail contact being attempted to the students whose files are still incomplete. Any contact with the student whether successful or unsuccessful is documented.
- The consequences for failing to complete the verification process within the time period established is that the student must make alternative payment arrangements with the Office of Student Accounts.
On the last day of the semester, the counselor may, with permission of the Director of Financial Aid, certify a Federal Loan application with the hopes that the student will provide the required documentation before the loan proceeds are received by the university. In these cases, the Director and counselor will make a decision as to the return of loan funds if verification is not completed upon receipt.
Notification after verification is completed
- After verification is completed, the counselor should send the verification letter with the appropriate statement regarding the outcome of the verification.
- The outcomes explained are:
- The information is accurate,
- information corrected with no changes to the award, or
- Corrections have been made as a result of verification with the appropriate revised award letter enclosed.
- The counselor should mark folders to be sent for corrections accordingly and filed in the appropriate place for the corrections to be sent.
Publicizing Verification Requirements
- The information for students use should be listed in the university catalog and in the financial aid section of the university Internet site.
- This information should include the student’s responsibilities, deadlines, and consequences for failing to complete the required actions.
Reporting Overpayments to the United States Department of Education
- Overpayments are avoided by not permitting disbursement of funds until verification is completed.
- However, in the unlikely case that an overpayment should occur, the Director of Financial Aid will report the overpayment information immediately to the Department of Education.