Verification 2015-2016 Betty Yeatman Mississippi State University What is Verification? The U.S. Department of Education defines verification as the process a school follows to check the accuracy of information reported by a student on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Verification requirements are established by the Department of Education and are subject to change annually. Who Do You Verify? Applications selected for verification by the Central Processing System, unless one of the verification exclusions applies. Applications selected for verification by the School. Student Verification Exclusions Student dies during the award year Not a Title IV aid recipient Eligible only for Unsubsidized aid programs (TEACH, Unsub Stafford, PLUS) Verified by another school for same award year – Need statement from other institution If selected for verification after all disbursements were made and student is no longer enrolled at your school. Parent and Spouse Verification Exclusions Parent: Both are mentally incapacitated Resides outside of the U.S. and cannot be reached by normal means of communication Cannot be reached because contact information is unknown and cannot be obtained. Spouse: Is deceased. Is mentally incapacitated Resides outside of the U.S. and cannot be reached by normal means of communication Cannot be reached because contact information is unknown and cannot be obtained. 2015-2016 Verification Federal Register notice published June 25, 2014 http://ifap.ed.gov/fregisters/FR062514.html Dear Colleague Letter (GEN-14-11) published June 30, 2014 http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/attachments/GEN1 411.pdf The ISIR Guide, 2015-2016 published October 2014 http://ifap.ed.gov/isirguide/attachments/1516ISI RGuide.pdf 2015-2016 Verification Retained the same items subject to verification in 2014-2015 Retained all the same Verification Tracking Groups V1,V3,V4,V5 & V6 Will not provide verification worksheets for 2015-2016, however will provide suggested text for verification items on IFAP as in the past ◦ Not required to use text except for the “Statement of Educational Purpose” language Additional Guidance IRS Form W-2 - If required, replacement copy of IRS W-2 should be requested from the employer who issued the original W-2 V6 Group - Institutions should use reasonable judgment when evaluating the validity of the income information provided in Verification Tracking Group V6. Support may include: public assistance, veteran’s benefits, or other income not on the FAFSA, shared-living arrangements, instances of poverty or homelessness; or documentation of low-living costs. Additional Guidance Tax Filers: All applicants placed in Verification Tracking Group V6 must provide a copy of their IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment for tax year 2014 Nontax Filers: If you question a claim that a student or parent did not file a 2014 IRS income tax return, the school must require a “Verification of Non-filing Letter” from the IRS. It must be dated on or after June 15, 2015. ◦ Note: This does not address whether or not the tax filer was required to have filed a tax return. Additional Guidance Dependency Status and Number of Household Members - needs to be coordinated with the dependency questions on the FAFSA and any necessary corrections should be reported to the CPS. FAFSA Parental Information for unmarried parents of a dependent student must include both of the student’s “legal” parents if the parents live together, regardless of gender of parents (Dear Colleague Letter GEN-13-12) Additional Guidance The Defense of Marriage Act – As noted in Dear Colleague Letter GEN-1325, a student or parent is considered married if the student or parent was legally married in any domestic or foreign jurisdiction that recognizes the relationship as a valid marriage, regardless of gender. Additional Guidance High School Completion Status – Applicants in Groups V4 and V5 must provide documentation verifying their reported high school completion status. Test transcripts for GED, HiSET, TASC, or other State-authorized exam, are acceptable documentation only if: ◦ They are considered by the State to meet requirements of high school equivalency, or ◦ The official test transcript includes language that the final score is a passing score. Verification Requirements Verification Tracking Group Information Required to be Verified V1 Standard Group Household size V5 Aggregate Group V6 Household Resources Group X X X Number in college X X X Child support paid* X X X X Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program* X X X X High school completion X X Identity/educati onal purpose X X Income/tax data** Other untaxed income V2 Reserved for FSA Use Only V3 Child Support Group X V4 Custom Group N/A X X X X *Information must be verified only if reported on the FAFSA. **Income tax data will only be required for tax filers; verification of income earned from work will only be required for non-tax filers. IRS Data Retrieval Tool When using FAFSA on the Web, student and parents who indicate they filed federal income tax returns may be directed to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to populate the FAFSA fields with tax data directly from the IRS. The ISR Date Retrieval Tool will not be available if the: ◦ The person did not indicate on the FAFSA that the tax return has been completed ◦ The marriage date is January 2015 or later ◦ First three digits of the Social Security Number are 666 ◦ The tax return was amended ◦ The person filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return ◦ The person is married and filed the tax return either as head of household or married but filing a separate return ◦ Neither married parent entered a valid SSN ◦ A non-married parent or both married parents entered all zeroes for SSN IRS Tax Transcripts Requesting Tax Transcripts There are multiple ways tax filers can request a tax transcript, most of which do not involve payment of a fee to the IRS: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Using Get Transcript online at www.irs.gov/transcript By phone at 1-800-909-9946 Using the IRS2Go Mobile App on a mobile device By mail using IRS From 4506T-EZ General Documentation Requirements Income Earned from Work for non-tax filers – Required for V1,V5,V6 Signed statement: ◦ Indicating sources and amounts of income earned from work in 2014 ◦ Certifying the applicant has not filed and is not required to file taxes for 2014 Copy of a W-2 Form for each source of employment income received in 2014 If the school believes information provided is inaccurate, the applicant must provide to the school a “Verification of Non-Filing” from the IRS. If the applicant is unable to obtain the W-2, the school may accept a signed statement listing the source and amount of income earned from work, and the reason the W-2 Form is not available. General Documentation Requirements Household Size – Required for V1,V5,V6 ◦ Signed statement from the applicant (and one parent, if the applicant is dependent) listing the name and age of each household member and the relationship to the applicant. Not required when: Dependent student lists 2, and the parent is single, divorced, separated or widowed. Dependent student lists 3, and the parents are married or unmarried and living together. Independent student lists 1, and the student is single, divorced, separated or widowed. Independent student lists 2, and the student is married. A dependent student's legal parents who live together, regardless of marital status or gender, are required to provide information on the FAFSA and for verification. General Documentation Requirements Number in College– Required for V1,V5,V6 Signed statement from the applicant (and one parent, if the applicant is dependent) listing the name and age of each household member attending a Title IV-eligible school at least half time during the 2015-2016 award year, and the name(s) of the applicable school(s). Not required when the number in college is 1. If the school believes information from the FAFSA or the signed statement is inaccurate, it must obtain a statement from each listed school unless the household member is not yet registered or will attend the applicant’s school. General Documentation Requirements Child Support Paid – Required for V1,V3,V4,V5,V6 Signed statement from the applicant or parent listing: ◦ Name of the individual who paid the support ◦ Name of the child support recipient ◦ Name of the child/children for whom support was paid ◦ Amount of support paid during the calendar year Not required if child support paid is not reported on the FAFSA. If the school believes information provided on the signed statement is inaccurate, it must obtain documentation such as a copy of a separation agreement/divorce decree showing the amount to be paid, a statement from the child support recipient showing the amount paid, or copies of canceled checks, money order receipts or electronic payment records. General Documentation Requirements SNAP – Required for V1,V4,V5,V6 Signed statement from the applicant (or parent, if the applicant is dependent) certifying that the applicant or another household member received SNAP-Food Stamps in calendar year 2013 and/or 2014. Not required if receipt of SNAP-Food Stamp benefits is not reported on the FAFSA. If the school believes information provided on the signed statement is inaccurate, the applicant must provide the school with documentation from the applicable Food Stamp issuing agency. General Documentation Requirements High School Completion Status – Required for V4,V5 Documentation of either a: High School Diploma Recognized equivalent: ◦ GED or transcript ◦ State certificate recognized as an equivalent to a diploma. ◦ Academic transcript showing successful completion of at least a two-year program fully acceptable toward a bachelor’s degree. ◦ Documentation that the student excelled in high school, if the student did not complete high school and enrolls in at least an associate degree program. Home school credential General Documentation Requirements Identity Statement of Educational Purpose – Required for V4,V5 An applicant must provide the following in person and the school must maintain a copy of the ID provided by the applicant, including the following information: Government-issued photo ID such as passport or DL Signed statement of educational purpose for the 20152016 award year – You must use the exact language given by the Dept of ED A student unable to appear in person at your school must go to a notary public and sign the statement of education purpose. Then submit to the school the notarized statement along with a copy of the same ID confirmed by the notary. General Documentation Requirements Other Untaxed Income – Required for V6 Signed statement from the applicant and one parent, if dependent, listing the sources of other untaxed income on the 2015-2016 FAFSA: ◦ Payments to tax-deferred pension and savings plans ◦ Child Support Received ◦ Housing, food and other living allowances paid to member of the military, clergy and others ◦ Veterans’ non-education benefits ◦ Other untaxed income ◦ Money received or paid on the student’s behalf Copy of a W-2 Form for each source of employment income received in 2014 If the school believes information provided is inaccurate, the applicant must provide to the school a “Verification of Non-Filing” from the IRS. If the applicant is unable to obtain the W-2, the school may accept a signed statement listing the source and amount of income earned from work, and the reason the W-2 Form is not available. Special Tax Situations Filing Extensions ◦ IRS Form 4868 ◦ W-2 Form or, if self-employed, a signed statement with amount of AGI & Taxes Paid Filers of joint returns no longer married ◦ W-2 Form(s) Non-Tax Filers ◦ W-2 Form ◦ Signed statement with sources & amounts of income earned from work, certifying that the person has not filed and is not required to file a tax return Special Tax Situations Filers of non-U.S. tax returns ◦ Copy of tax return signed by one of the filers on the return Filers of amended returns ◦ Signed copy of IRS From 1040X ◦ Signed copy of the original tax return that was filed or tax return transcript Special Tax Situations Victims of Identity Theft ◦ Victims must call the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 800-908-4490. ◦ IRS will mail her a TRDBV (Transcript DataBase View) to use for verification Using a Tax Return ◦ When the DRT and return transcript are not available Completing the Process If you find the FAFSA Information is accurate, you are free to proceed with processing financial aid for the student. If the information is incorrect of inconsistent, however, you are required to correct this data and submit the application to the CPS for reprocessing. Common Documentation Errors Failing to review tax documentation for students not selected for verification. Documentation must be reviewed for conflicting information, even if the student is not selected for verification. Failing to obtain tax documents for both parents of a dependent student when both parents are on the FAFSA and file separate tax returns. Failing to obtain tax document of the spouse of an independent student Accepting income documentation from a noncustodial parent. You must determine which parent’s information should be on the FAFSA. Questions ?