Laws & Guidance HIGHER EDUCATION
Program Integrity Questions and Answers
Verification - Archived Guidance


Archived Guidance
beginning with the 2012-2013 award year

Verification Q&A | Program Integrity Q&A

Questions on this topic are divided into the following categories:

Introductory Verification Questions (IVQ)

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General Questions (VER)

VER-Q1. Where can I find guidance on the verification requirements?

VER-A1. The following resources provide guidance on the verification requirements:

2012-2013 Award Year

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Applicants Selected for Verification by the Department (DS)

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Applicants Selected for Verification by the Institution (IS)

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Verification Items (VI)

VI-Q5. Must an institution complete verification of all FAFSA information identified by the Secretary in the July 13, 2011, Federal Register notice for selected applicants who are eligible for either of the alternate expected family contribution (EFC) calculations: Automatic Zero EFC (Auto Zero EFC) or Simplified Needs Test (SNT)?

VI-A5. Generally, yes for SNT eligible applicants and no for Auto Zero applicants.

The only difference in the EFC calculation for SNT eligible applicants is the elimination of assets and assets are not items that are required to be verified. Therefore, SNT eligible applicants are required to verify all FAFSA information listed in Federal Register notice published July 13, 2011.

For Auto Zero EFC eligible applicants, the information that must be verified varies slightly between those applicants who are dependent and those who are independent.

Auto Zero EFC for a Dependent Applicant Selected for Verification—If the "Automatic Zero EFC Indicator" field on the ISIR is set to "Yes," only the following FAFSA/ISIR information must be verified:

  • The parent’s AGI if the parent(s) was a tax filer;
  • The parent’s income earned from work if the parent(s) was not a tax filer; and
  • The receipt of SNAP benefits (food stamps) by any household member if used to qualify for Auto Zero EFC.

Auto Zero EFC for an Independent Applicant Selected for Verification—If the "Automatic Zero EFC Indicator" field on the ISIR is set to "Yes," only the following FAFSA/ISIR information must be verified:

  • The applicant's (and spouse's, if applicable) AGI if a tax filer;
  • The applicant's (and spouse's, if applicable) income earned from work if not a tax filer;
  • The number of household members to determine if the independent applicant has one or more dependents other than a spouse; and
  • The receipt of SNAP benefits (food stamps) by any household member if used to qualify for Auto Zero EFC.
    [Section 668.56] [Guidance issued 05/04/2012 and applies only to the 2012-2013 award year]

VI-Q8. What is the language in the "Statement of Educational Purpose" that institutions must use for students placed in Verification Tracking Groups V4 or V5?

VI-A8. The following Statement of Educational Purpose must be used by an institution for students placed in Verification Tracking Groups V4 or V5, except that the student’s identification number is optional if collected elsewhere on the same page as the statement.

Statement of Educational Purpose

I certify that I [Print Student's Name] am the individual signing this Statement of Educational Purpose and that the federal student financial assistance I may receive will only be used for educational purposes and to pay the cost of attending [Name of Postsecondary Educational Institution] for 2013-2014.

[Student's Signature] [Date]
[Student's ID Number]

For Spanish Speakers:

Declaración de Propósito Educativo

Certifico que yo, [Imprimir Nombre del Estudiante], soy el individuo que firma esta Declaración de Finalidad Educativa y que la ayuda financiera federal estudiantil que yo pueda recibir, sólo será utilizada para fines educativos y para pagar el costo de asistir a [Imprimir Nombre de Institución Educativa Postsecundaria] para 2013-2014.

[Firma del Estudiante] [la Fecha]
[Número de Identificación del Estudiante]

The institution may insert the name of the institution and the student, where indicated, prior to providing the statement to the student.
(Section 668.57) [Guidance issued 03/13/2013; revised 07/11/2013 and applies only to the 2013-2014 award year]

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Updating Applicant’s FAFSA Information (UPD)

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Acceptable Documentation for FAFSA Information Selected for Verification (DOC)

DOC-Q11. In some cases, tax filers who have visited an IRS field office have been provided with a copy of their IRS tax return stamped "official" in lieu of an IRS Tax Return Transcript. May an institution use an IRS tax return that has been stamped "official" by the IRS as a substitute for an IRS Tax Return Transcript to meet the verification requirements?

DOC-A11. An IRS tax return that has an "official" stamp by the IRS is not a substitute for an IRS Tax Return Transcript. However, as provided in the April 16, 2012 Dear Colleague Letter (GEN-12-07), institutions may, until July 15, 2012, accept a signed copy of the relevant (i.e., applicant, spouse, or parent) 2011 IRS Tax Return as acceptable verification documentation for the 2012-2013 award year. After July 15, 2012, or if an institution chooses not to accept the tax return prior to that date, the applicant, spouse or parent must obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript, if unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. [Section 668.57(a)] [Guidance issued 06/21/2012 and applies only to the 2012-2013 award year]

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Changing Applicant's FAFSA Information (CHD)

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Verification Q&A | Program Integrity Q&A


 
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Last Modified: 04/08/2014