Verification is implemented to reduce the error rates in the applicant-reported data and to assure, to the maximum extent possible, that eligible applicants receive the correct amount of financial assistance ( Federal Register. 3/14/86, Preamble p. 8946)
- The Office of Student Financial Aid will verify all applicants selected for verification through the Integrated Verification Criteria (IVC). In addition, the OSFA may select for verification independent students who are under the age of 24, and any other applicants where the information submitted by student and/or parent applicants indicate there is a need. The financial aid counselor(s) must resolve any conflicting information before awarding financial aid. If conflicting information is discovered after aid is awarded or disbursed, the financial aid counselor(s) must resolve the conflicting information and the student will be required to pay aid received in excess of his/her eligibility unless the student is no longer enrolled for the award year. All conflicts must be resolved regardless of whether the student was selected for verification or not.
- Selected applicants must provide requested documentation within thirty calendar days or by the last day of class for the academic period, whichever comes first. Applicants failing to provide the required documentation within the specified time will:
- Forfeit his/her right to priority funding
- Lose the right for consideration for financial assistance
- Students satisfying the verification requirements and who do not require reprocessing of financial aid forms will be notified within twenty-one days of their eligibility for financial assistance. Applicants whose financial aid requires reprocessing will have corrections electronically processed by the OSFA.
- The OSFA is required to refer applicants who may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with aid application to the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education, or if more appropriate, to a state or local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the matter. Referrals to local or state agencies must be reported on an annual basis to the Inspector General.
- The OSFA will verify all mandatory items identified by the U.S. Department of Education (adjusted gross income, non-taxable income, household size, number of exemptions, the number in college and taxes paid). In addition, the OSFA will verify discretionary items.
- Applicants who may be excluded from verification are:
- An applicant who dies before verification is complete
- Residents of Guam, America Somoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, the federal state of Micronesia, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Palau).
- Incarcerated students
- Applicants whose parents reside outside the U.S. and cannot be contacted through normal means of communication.
- Dependent students whose parents are deceased or mentally incapacitated or whose parents’ address is unknown
- Students who do not receive Title IV financial assistance
- PeopleSoft conducts an edit check to review the ISIR or SAR to determine if any edit checks exist. Automated check list procedure assigns all required tracking items and appropriate communication(s).
- If none, the file does not require verification and is ready for packaging.
- Primary data elements to review for verification are:
- Household size
- Number in college
- U.S. Income tax paid
- Adjusted gross income
- Certain untaxed income/benefits
- All required forms must be signed.
- The Financial Aid Counselor determines the need for additional documents and identifies those documents on PeopleSoft. A tracking letter must then be generated informing the applicant of the documents needed to resolve conflicting information.
- Upon receipt of all requested documents, the Financial Aid Counselor reviews the information for accuracy and completeness. The Financial Aid Counselor will complete the Verification Review Check Sheet to verify all required data elements.
- When the review is complete, the Financial Aid Counselor will return the application 1) to the applicant to correct errors; or 2) to the Processing Center for corrections; or 3) mark the file as “verified” and “complete” on the packaging status summary screen in PeopleSoft.
- Financial Aid Counselors are required to annually review The Verification Guide published by the U.S. Department of Education Student Financial Assistance Programs.