Verification Update 2013-2014
The Federal Department of Education has instituted some changes to the verification process for the 2013-2014 award year. According to the Federal Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter GEN 12-11:
The 2013-2014 verification items include the same verification items that are in place for the 2012-2013 award year, plus two additional items as follows:
- High School Completion Status – For the 2013-2014 award year, certain applicants will be required to verify their high school completion status – high school diploma, recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, or homeschool.
- Identity/Statement of Educational Purpose – For the 2013-2014 award year, certain applicants will be required to verify their identity and resubmit a Statement of Educational Purpose, as was originally provided as part of the FAFSA submission.
What this Means
If the applicant has their high school completion status selected for verification, he/she is required to submit:
- A copy of the applicant’s high school diploma OR
- A copy of the applicant’s final high school transcript that shows the date when the applicant completed secondary school education OR
- General Educational Development (GED) Certificate OR
- A State certificate received by a student after the student has passed a State-authorized examination that the State recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma OR
- An academic transcript of a student who has successfully completed at least a two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree OR
- For a person who is seeking enrollment in an educational program that leads to at least an associate degree or its equivalent and has not completed high school but has excelled academically in high school, documentation from the high school that the student excelled academically in high school and documentation from the postsecondary institution that the student has met the formalized, written policies of the postsecondary institution for admitting such students OR
- For homeschooled students, a transcript or the equivalent, signed by the parent or guardian, that lists the secondary school courses completed by the applicant and documents the successful completion of a secondary school education OR
- A secondary school completion credential for homeschool (other than a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent) provided for under State law. (§§ 600.2, 668.32(e)(1) and (e)(4))
Note: In cases where a copy of an applicant’s high school diploma or final high school transcript is unavailable, e.g., the school is closed or located in a foreign country and the records are not available, an institution may accept alternative documentation to verify the applicant’s high school completion status.
If the applicant has their identity and statement of educational purpose verified, he/she must appear in person and present the following documentation to an institutionally authorized individual:
- A valid government-issued photo identification, such as but not limited to a driver’s license, non-driver’s license, military identification or passport AND
- A signed statement certifying that the Federal student financial assistance received will only be used for educational purposes to pay the cost of attending that institution for the 2013-2014 award year.
If an applicant is unable to appear in person, he or she must provide the institution with:
- A copy of a valid government-issued photo identification, such as but not limited to a driver’s license, non-driver’s license, military identification or passport AND
- An original notarized statement signed by the applicant certifying that the Federal student financial assistance received will only be used for educational purposes to pay the cost of attending that institution for the 2013-2014 award year. (§ 668.57(d))
The Federal Department of Education has instituted some changes to the verification process for the 2012-2013 Award Year. According to the Federal Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter GEN 11-03:
Since most applicants can quickly and easily access IRS data through the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval process, we no longer consider it reasonable for an institution to accept anything less reliable than IRS-supplied evidence for verification of income data. Therefore, if an applicant selected for verification has not successfully transferred information from the IRS, or one who did transfer the information but then changed it, the Department expects the institution to require the applicant, and if necessary the applicant’s parents, to provide an official IRS transcript of their Federal income tax information.
What This Means
- Students and parents can no longer submit a signed paper copy of the IRS 1040 as a way to confirm the income reported on the FAFSA. When completing the income sections of the FAFSA, the applicant is given the option to have this data retrieved directly from the IRS.
- If the applicant decides not to use the IRS data retrieval process and the application is chosen for verification, the applicant and the parents will be required to submit an IRS tax transcript.
- If the IRS tax retrieved information is changed on the FAFSA, the applicant will be required to submit an IRS tax transcript.
- However, the IRS data can be retrieved by the applicant when a correction is made to the FAFSA. If the retrieved data is not changed, then an IRS tax transcript will not be required.
- The IRS Tax Retrieval process will begin after February 1, 2012. The applicant must have a 2011 IRS tax return on file with the IRS.
Tax Filers with Special Circumstances
The IRS Tax Retrieval may not be available for the applicant in the following circumstances:
- A joint tax return was filed for 2011 and the student or the student’s parents have filed the FAFSA with a marital status of separated, divorced or widowed.
- If the tax filer is married to someone other than the individual included on the 2011 joint tax return.
- If the parent or student was not married in 2011 but is married at the time the FAFSA is filed. The current spouse’s income must be reported on the FAFSA.
- If the parents or the student is married but filed tax returns separately.
- If an amended tax return was filed.
Requesting an IRS Tax Transcript
There are three ways tax filers can request a tax transcript.
Go to www.irs.gov – A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days. Please sign the tax transcript and send it to the Office of Financial Aid at NMSU.
(800) 908-9946 – A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days. Please sign the tax transcript and send it to the Office of Financial Aid at NMSU.
3. IRS Form 4506T-EZ
Form can be downloaded from http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506tez.pdf. A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days. Please sign the tax transcript and send it to the Office of Financial Aid at NMSU. **Transcripts ordered using this method can be mailed directly to NMSU by the IRS only if the tax filer requests this on line #5, in which case the signature would be waived.
IRS Data Availability
In general, tax filers can anticipate that the IRS data will be available within:
- Two weeks if the tax return has been filed electronically
- Eight weeks if the tax returns have been mailed.
If the tax filer has changed or corrected the federal income tax return, the amended information may not be available through the IRS data retrieval process. You will be required to submit both the original IRS tax transcript as well as the amended IRS tax account transcript.
If an IRS 1040 will not and is not required to be filed
The filers must attest that an IRS 1040 has not and will not be filed and that the IRS 1040 is not required to be filed. Copies of all W-2 forms from all employers must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid at NMSU.
Applicants filing a Puerto Rico tax return or a foreign tax return may not use the IRS Tax Retrieval and must send a signed copy of their 2011 tax documents.
Food Stamp Recipients
Recipients of Food Stamps, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may be asked to provide the Office of Financial Aid with documentation that Food Stamps were received (FAFSA Question #75. If documentation is not provided, additional income and asset information may be requested by the Office of Financial Aid.
Child Support Paid
Applicants, who have been chosen for verification and who have indicated that child support was paid by the filer during 2011, the filer must confirm the amounts of child support paid, to whom the payments were made, the names and address of the children receiving the child support.