Point Park Financial Aid Verification Policy
The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) requires that Federal Title IV applicants provide documentation to verify the accuracy of the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal verification guidelines require that applicants are selected for verification by the Central Processing System (CPS) or by the school. Point Park University performs verification on all applicants selected by the CPS and any application that the university has reason to believe is incorrect or has conflicting documentation. Verification is required for applicants for most Federal Student Aid Programs with the exception of students receiving only an unsubsidized federal direct student loan. If the student is only eligible for non-need based aid at Point Park University and fails to complete the verification process, the verification requirement may be waived.
Federal verification must be completed prior to the end of the semester/term/academic year or before the student ceases enrollment, whichever occurs first. Students who fail to comply with verification requirements, including submitting documentation within required timelines, will not have Federal Title IV funds disbursed and may have Federal Title IV funds cancelled. For Pell Grant eligibility ONLY, verification can be completed up to 120 days after the last day of enrollment. Point Park University considers the student to be the responsible party for providing information and completing the verification process.
Point Park University identifies the students selected for verification during the financial aid application process by viewing the FAFSA output document called the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). The verification activity will initially compare applicant data for accuracy and completeness and continue to resolve conflicting information.
Conflicting Information Policy
For the 2017-2018 financial aid award year, FAFSA records may be selected by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) because of conflicting information between the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 award years. The FAFSA required the use of the same tax year of 2015 income to be used for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, which may cause a conflict of the information reported. Point Park must resolve any 2015 income and tax conflicts. The timeline to resolve any discrepancies from 2016-2017 will expire on September 9, 2017. Point Park will follow the same notification and communication procedures as stated in the next section of this policy. Resolution of conflicting information may result in changes to federal aid eligibility. Once resolved, the FAFSA record may require a correction submitted to the CPS. If federal funds were released on a 2016-2017 FAFSA, and subsequently a 2017-2018 FAFSA is flagged for conflicting information, adjustments to eligibility may alter the initial disbursements processed, possibly creating overawards or return of federal funds. If no federal aid was released or disbursed, the FAFSA will remain invalid until conflicting information is resolved. Scheduled disbursement or adjustments of federal aid cannot occur until a revised official FAFSA is released without a conflicting information code. If FAFSA remains unresolved and the student participated in the Federal Work-Study program, the student will be required to discontinue working immediately under the Federal Work-Study program until the conflicting information is resolved.
Notification and Communication
To complete the verification process, students/parents may use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) at FAFSA on the web or contact the IRS to obtain a print out of their IRS Tax Return Transcript. Directions to obtain the IRS Tax Return Transcripts or DRT can be found on the Point Park University website under financial aid forms.
Acceptable documentation may include IRS Tax Return Transcripts, Verification Worksheets, and other specific information based on the type of verification group required (i.e. w-2 forms, documentation of untaxed income). For the 2017-2018 financial aid award year, USDE changed verification requirements to include a Statement of Non-filing for students, student spouses, parents, and stepparents who indicated on their FAFSA that they will not file a 2015 IRS Tax Return. Additional documentation of untaxed income may be required based on the review of information. Examples of untaxed income include child support, workman’s compensation benefits, or an explanation of unusually low income. The Office of Financial Aid will notify the student of required documents by mail to the student’s permanent home address or by email to the student’s Point Park University email account.
Verification documents should be submitted as soon as possible. We recommend that the documents are submitted within two-three weeks of the initial request. This will ensure the Office of Financial Aid has the amount of time necessary to review the information, make corrections if needed, and award aid. Failure to submit the required documentation (or submit it in a timely manner) will delay or eliminate the disbursement of federal funds (Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Perkins Loans, Direct Loans, PLUS loans, and Federal Work Study).
Verification results that require changes to the applicant information and subsequent changes to the student’s financial aid award package will be submitted to USDE electronically. This will ensure that corrections made will generate a correct and valid ISIR. This process will provide an accurate need analysis according to federal standards. The student will be notified of any changes to the financial aid award package through an electronic version of a revised financial aid award letter.
Verification results that reveal possible fraud or criminal misconduct will result in the matter being referred by Point Park University to the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education for investigation.
Verification can uncover minor errors that will not significantly affect the student’s eligibility. Regulations provide tolerance for verification changes. A change that is less than $25 per item (defined as the verification tolerance option) between the incorrect and correct data elements is allowable and corrections are not required.
Federal Title IV Funds Disbursements
In compliance with Federal verification guidelines, Point Park University completes federal verification for selected applicants by inputting the applicable verification code. Federal Title IV funds will not be disbursed until the code is submitted.