Federal Verification Policy and Procedures
FINANCIAL AID TV - A Playlist of Video answers to your verification questions!
When you submit your financial aid application (FAFSA), the Federal Processor determines who is selected for verification. Not all students are selected. If selected by the federal processor, the student is notified on their Student Aid Report (SAR), which is mailed or emailed to the students address shortly after the FAFSA is submitted. The SAR comes directly from the U.S Department of Education. The Financial Aid Office also has the authority to select students’ applications for verification if there appears to be a conflict of information.
If a student's application has been selected for verification, either by the federal processor or the Financial Aid Office, the student will be notified by written mail and must submit additional documents to the Financial Aid Office.
Please note that the verification process has changed starting with the 2012-2013 academic year. The type of acceptable documentation has changed.
New federal regulations, beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, do not permit acceptance of a copy of your and/or parents' federal tax return as acceptable verification documentation. You must, instead, obtain and submit an IRS tax return transcript. Students and parents who use the new IRS Data Retrieval Tool when submitting their FAFSA will not have to submit tax transcripts for verification.
If you are required to submit a tax transcript, choose one of the following choices to obtain federal tax return transcripts for you and/or your parents;
Tax Return Transcript
Students and parents who do not use the IRS Data Retrieval process may be required to submit an IRS tax return transcript directly from the IRS to complete the federal verification process. Copies of federal tax returns cannot be accepted beginning with the 2012-13 award year.
How to obtain a free tax return transcript from the IRS:
There are three ways to request your Federal Tax Return Transcript:
1. Call the IRS at 1.800.908.9946, and follow the automated instructions:
Enter & verify your SSN (social security number) or parents SSN if parent tax transcript requested.
Enter the number of your street address.
Request a transcript by selecting option 2 and provide the tax year number 2011.
2. Order Online at www.irs.gov, then select the following:
Click “Order a Tax Return or Account Transcript” located in the right-hand column
Click “Order a Transcript” under Step 3
Enter your SSN, date of birth, street address and zip code
Select “Return Transcript”
Then select the appropriate year—2011
Click “Continue” (If you amended your tax return, you must submit an IRS Tax Account Transcript as well as the IRS Tax Return Transcript)
3. Order by Mail:
Complete form 4506T-EZ (Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript) and mail to the address indicated on the form.
Form 4506T-EZ is available online at http://www.irs.gov
What documents are required to complete the verification process?
- Tax Transcript for 2011 - Please use one of the three choices outlined above to obtain a tax transcript. Transcripts do not need to be signed.
- If you do not file taxes, you need to submit a copy of 2011 W-2 forms for yourself and/or your parents and a non-filing statement. This non-filing statement should clearly state that a tax return will not be filed for 2011.
- Proof of Food Stamps (if requested)
- Proof of Child Support Paid (If requested)
- Verification Worksheet (if requested)
All requested documents should include the student ID number on the top of each document. Additional documentation may be deemed necessary on a case by case basis. A request for additional documentation can happen for two reasons:
- Incomplete documents
- The original documents reveal information that was not indicated on the FAFSA and requires further clarification.
If selected for federal or MCC verification, there are negative consequences resulting from failure to complete verification within specified deadlines. All students are strongly encouraged to submit documents requested within two weeks of notification from the Financial Aid Office. Please refer to the Missing Information Letter mailed to you for specific documents and deadlines.
We are required to inform you of these consequences. Our goal is to help you to avoid them. Federal verification regulations require the following in the case where verification is indicated:
- Federal and state financial aid cannot be disbursed (paid) until verification is complete.
- Verification may result in corrections that change your award amounts.
- Federal Stafford and Perkins Loans will not be paid until verification is complete.
- Students cannot work their hours in the federal Work Study program.
- Estimated financial aid awards may be removed if verification is not completed within specified deadlines.
Generally, the verification process can take 7 to 8 weeks depending on the time of year. If additional documentation is necessary after the initial review is completed, then the processing time will be extended until the additional documents are received and reviewed.