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 be 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’s verification process was waived, it could be the student is only eligible for non-need based aid at Point Park University and fails to complete the verification process.
Federal verification must be completed prior to the end of the semester/term/academic year or before the student ceases enrollment, whichever occurs first. Financial aid applicants, 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
A Financial Aid Counselor may choose to require verification of any student that may have reported their initial information incorrectly or finds conflicting information on a student’s ISIR that would affect a student’s eligibility. Point Park University must resolve the discrepancies before disbursing federal student aid funds and will practice the same timelines as noted in this policy document.
If financial aid was disbursed and a subsequent ISIR transaction was selected for verification or there is conflicting information, further disbursement will be discontinued until verification is completed or resolution of conflicting information is resolved. Failure of the student to submit requested information will result in the cancellation of federal funds.
Notification and Communication
To complete the verification process, students/parents may use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) at FAFSA on the web, submit a signed copy of their IRS 1040 tax return documents 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, IRS Tax Returns and applicable schedules, 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 2020-2021 financial aid award year, USDE requires the verification process to include an IRS Verification of Non-filing tax status for independent students/and or student spouses, dependent parents, and stepparents who indicated on their FAFSA that they did not file a 2018 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, 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/Student Aid Report. 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.