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Verification Policy

New Mexico State University adheres to the following verification principles developed by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). To ensure that limited Financial Aid funds are awarded to eligible students in an equitable and consistent manner, all institutions must develop policies for verification of family reported information. While institutions vary widely by type, and students served, minimum standards for verification must exist for all institutions. Verification procedures will be uniformly applied to all financial aid programs which require demonstrated financial need as eligibility criterion.

Who

New Mexico State University will verify applicants selected for verification by the Central Processing System (CPS) and/or NMSU. In addition, we will resolve all comments on the ISIR, and conflicting documentation. The NMSU Financial Aid Staff may also question any aspect of an application.

What

For applicants selected for verification, NMSU will verify the items specified in the 34 CFR Part 668.56. Specifically, these items include for Title IV applicants:

  • U.S. income tax data
  • Number enrolled in college;
  • Household size;
  • Certain untaxed income and benefits:
    • Child support
    • Food stamps (SNAP)
    • IRA/Keogh deductions
    • Tax-exempt interest
    • Untaxed portions of pensions
    • Payments to tax-deferred pension/savings plans (found on W-2)
  • Statement of Educational Purpose
  • Statement of Identity

Additional items will also be verified when there is conflicting documentation on file or items selected by the NMSU Financial Aid Staff.

Applicants’ Responsibilities

It will be the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all documents requested are submitted with proper signatures. If an applicant’s dependency status changes during the award year, please contact the Financial Aid Office before making changes. Household size and number in post-secondary education can only be updated during the verification process.

Documentation

Documentation requested must be submitted with all necessary information, including wet (physical) signature(s). Some exceptions to documentation may be made in conjunction with what is allowed by Federal Regulation.  The Federal Department of Education has instituted some changes to the verification process regarding income-tax return data as follows:

  • 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 Tool and the application is chosen for verification, the applicant and the parents, if applicable, will be required to submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript.
  • If the IRS tax retrieved information is changed on the FAFSA, the applicant will be required to submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript. The IRS data can be retrieved by the applicant when a correction is made to the FAFSA, after the first submission.
  • If the retrieved data is not changed, then an IRS Tax Return Transcript may not be required.

UPDATE: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Department of Education have announced that the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is unavailable indefinably. The two agencies hope the DRT will be available for the academic year 2018-2019 Financial Aid application cycle beginning October 1, 2017. For now, students selected for verification have two options in which to provide theirs, their spouse (if married), or parent(s) (if considered dependent) 2015 tax return information to our office.

  • You may submit a tax return transcript request to the IRS on the following site: www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript. Once you have received the tax transcript from the IRS, you may submit the document the NMSU Financial Aid Office. OR
  • May provide a signed paper copy of the 2015 IRS tax return that was used for submission to the IRS.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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).

Child Support Paid

Applicants who have been chosen for verification and who have indicated that child support was paid by an individual listed during the previous tax year, must confirm the amounts of child support paid, to whom the payments were made, and the names and address of the children receiving the child support. Documentation may be requested.

High School Completion

Applicants who have been chosen to verify high school completion, and have not already provided documentation to the NMSU Admissions Office  will be required to provide a copy of one of the following documents to the NMSU Financial Aid Office:

  • A copy of the student high school diploma.
  • A copy of the student’s final official high school transcript that shows the date when the diploma was awarded.
  • For students who completed secondary education in a foreign country, a copy of the ‘secondary school leaving certificate’ or other similar document.
  • A state certificate or transcript received by a student after the student passed a State-authorized examination (GED test, HiSET, TASC,or other State-authorized examination.
  • An academic transcript that indicates the student successfully completed at least a two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree.
  • For a home schooled student in a state where state law requires the student to obtain a secondary school completion credential for homeschool (other than a high school diploma or recognized equivalent), a copy of that credential.
  • For a homeschooled student in a state where the state law does not require the student to obtain a secondary school completion credential for homeschool (other than a high school diploma or it recognized equivalent), a transcript or the equivalent, signed by the student’s parent or guardian, that lists the secondary school courses the student completed and includes a statement that the student completed a secondary school education in a homeschool setting.

If you are unable to obtain the documentation list above, please contact the NMSU Financial Aid Office.

Confirmation of Identity and Statement of Educational Purpose

Applicants who have been chosen to verify identity and to sign a statement of educational purpose are required to appear in person at the Financial Aid Office with a non-expired, government-issued photo id (i.e. US passport, driver’s license or other state issued id) to complete the Identity and Statement of Educational Purpose form.

Applicants who are unable to appear in person must go to a notary public to sign the Identity and Statement of Education Purpose Notary form. The original form along with a copy of the non-expired, government-issued photo id presented to the notary must be mailed or hand delivered to the Financial Aid Office. Faxed copies, photocopies, emailed pdf, etc. are not acceptable.

Time Period

All applicants are encouraged to submit the required forms and documentation as quickly as possible. For Federal Aid recipients, the deadline for submitting verification documents is 120 days from the applicant’s last date of enrollment. This includes making any necessary corrections, submitting those corrections to the Central Processing System, and submitting the new corrected Student Aid Report (SAR) to the institution.

Consequences

If a student fails to provide documentation or information within the required time frame, no Title IV Aid will be released.

Notification

During peak periods, it may take up to (21) business days for documents to be reviewed. Students may track the documents by logging onto their myNMSU account to see the updated status after the five days have passed. If additional information is required, email notifications will be sent to your NMSU email address.

Referral Procedures

NMSU must refer for investigation to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) any credible information indicating that a Title IV aid applicant, school employee, or third party servicer may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with the Title IV programs. (Note: Fraud is the intent to deceive as opposed to a mistake.)

Common misconducts include but are not limited to:

  • Claims of independent student status
  • False claims of citizenship
  • Use of false identities
  • Forgery of signatures of certifications
  • False statement of income

Prior to notifying the OIG, the individual who is suspecting fraud is being committed will consult with NMSU’s Office of General Counsel. If it has been determined that intent to fraud has occurred, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) can be contacted at 1-800-MISUSED.

If it is determined that a student has received funds that they were not entitled to receive, the student must repay the amount. If a repayment is not made, the overpayment may be referred to the US Department of Education.