Verification Policy 2014-2015
Each year the federal government requires schools participating in the distribution of financial aid to verify the consistency and accuracy of data submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The verification process entails the review of tax documents and household information to ensure the accuracy of the FAFSA application. To complete verification, applicants are asked to submit federal tax documents and forms to Student Financial Assistance.
Who is selected: Any student who completes a FAFSA may be chosen for verification by the US Department of Education.
Student Financial Assistance (SFA) will verify all mandatory items identified by the U.S. Department of Education (household size, the number in college, number of exemptions, adjusted gross income, taxes paid, untaxed income, untaxed IRS distributions, education credits, IRA deductions, tax exempt interest, receipt of food stamps and child support paid). In addition, some students will be required to verify High School/GED completion status as well as complete a statement of Educational Purpose. SFA can also verify discretionary items as we see fit.
SFA staff must resolve any conflicting information before disbursing financial aid. Applicants whose financial aid information requires reprocessing, based on the verification process, will have corrections electronically processed by SFA. These corrections will generate an updated Student Aid Report which will be sent to the student by the CPS. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) may change based on the corrections made. If conflicting information is discovered after aid is awarded or disbursed, SFA must resolve the conflicting information and the student will be required to repay aid received in excess of his/her eligibility. All conflicts must be resolved regardless of whether the student was selected for verification or not.
Timeline and deadlines: Please allow two weeks for the verification process to be completed. The process might take longer if we receive incomplete documents or require additional information.
Your financial aid funds cannot be applied to your S&T account until verification has been completed. Return the requested documents to us as soon as possible.
Verification must be completed by October 31st for the Fall Smester and March 1st for the Spring Semester to allow processing time for your financial aid.
Documents: Students choosen for verification will be required to submit a copy of their IRS Tax Return Transcripts (or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA) and W-2s. This is a requirement from the Department of Education to guarantee the accuracy of the information reported on the FAFSA to insure that federal aid is awarded properly.
If you filed your return electronically you should be able to request a Tax Return Transcript or be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool on the FAFSA within 2-3 weeks. If you filed a paper return, you should be able to request a copy within 6-8 weeks.
Applicants that are requested to submit a IRS Tax Return Transcript from have the option of logging back into their FAFSA and using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This will fulfill the Tax Return Transcript request. However, not all applicants can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If any of the following apply to the applicant than he/she cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and will have to submit a Tax Return Transcript to Student Financial Assistance.
- Parents with all zeros for SSN.
- Any student or parent with a marital status date of January 1, 2013 or later.
- Any student or parent who indicates they have not already filed a tax return or will not file a tax returnA married independent applicant and spouse who filed separate returns.
- Parents of a dependent student who filed separate tax returns.
- The applicant, parent, or spouse, as applicable, who have filed an amended return.
- If you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and alter the data, you will be required to submit a copy of the IRS Tax Return Transcript.
After the initial verification document request have been met, Student Financial Assistance will compare the information provided on the FAFSA and might ask for additional information if we find discrepancies that cannot be explained.
Student Financial Assistance will correct any variances and resubmit your FAFSA to the Central Processing System (CPS). CPS will then send you an updated Student Aid Report (SAR). If you have received a financial aid package before completing verification, your aid eligibility will be reevaluated by your financial aid adviser after verification has been completed. You will be notified if your awards change after verification.