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Verification Policy

2014-2015

For more information about Verification, please view the updates page.

New Mexico State University (NMSU) 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. Requirements for verification of family-reported information for purposes of qualifying for Financial Aid must be cost effective, flexible, and based upon acceptance of a reasonable tolerance range for error applied to award amounts. While institutions vary widely by type, students served, and mission, 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 (NMSU) will verify 100% of the total number of aid applicants selected for verification by the Federal 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 undergoing 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.

Applicant Definition

An applicant is anyone enrolled at NMSU who is also eligible to receive Federal aid.

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, updating will occur unless that change is as a result of a change in marital status. Household size and number in postsecondary education can only be updated during the verification process.

Documentation

Documentation will consist of signed copies of the completed and signed appropriate NMSU requested forms. 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.
  • However, 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 will not be required.
  • The IRS Data Retrieval Tool can be used after the first Tuesday in February, every year. The applicant must have the previous year’s IRS Tax Return on file with the IRS.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT)

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 Tool. You will be required to submit both the original IRS Tax Return Transcript, as well as the amended IRS Tax Account Transcript, in addition to the original Tax Return that was filed, along with the original Amended Return that was filed.

Tax Filers with Special Circumstances:

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool may not be available for the applicant in the following circumstances:

  • A joint tax return was filed for 2013 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 previous year’s joint tax return.
  • If the parent or student was not married in the previous year, 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.

Non-Tax Filers:

If an IRS 1040 will not and is not required to be filed, then the filers must affirm and 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 copy of their previous year’s tax documents.

Requesting an IRS Tax Return Transcript

There are three ways tax filers can request an IRS Tax Return Transcript.

1. Online:

Print your IRS Tax Return Transcript online!
You may also make an online request for a paper transcript by mail at the preceding link.
The transcript will be mailed to you within 5 to 10 days.
Please sign the Tax Return Transcript and send it to the Office of Financial Aid at NMSU.

2. Telephone:

(800) 908-­9946 – A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days. Please sign the Tax Return Transcript and send it to the Office of Financial Aid at NMSU.

3. IRS Form 4506T-EZ:

Forms 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 Return 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.

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 when requested, there may be additional income and asset information 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 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.

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.

Interim Disbursements

No Title IV Aid will be released until the student has completed the required verification process.

Consequences

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

Tolerances

For the Federal Pell Grant Program, the tolerance values will be used in order to pay a student. If the student does not qualify for payment options based on tolerance, then a correction must be filed with the Central Processing System.

Notification

During peak periods, it may take a minimum of five (5) business days for documents to be reviewed and logged into the Financial Aid system as received. 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 within two (2) weeks. Students may also view their outstanding requirements on their myNMSU account.

Referral Procedures

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.