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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 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:

  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
  • US Income Tax Paid
  • Income Earned from Work (wages)
  • Certain Untaxed Income
    • Untaxed Portions of Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Distributions
    • Untaxed Portions of Pensions
    • IRA Deductions and Payments
    • Tax-exempt Interest Income
    • Education Tax Credits (American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit).
  • Child Support Paid
  • Number of Household Members
  • Number of Household Members in College
  • High School Completion Status
  • Identity/Statement of Education Purpose

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:

  • When completing the income sections of the FAFSA, the applicant is given the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (or DRT) to collect income data reported to the IRS. If the applicant decides not to use the DRT  and the application is chosen for verification, the applicant and the parents, if applicable, will be required to submit an IRS Tax Return with applicable schedules or Tax Transcript from the IRS.
  • If the IRS tax 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 transaction.
  • If the retrieved data is not changed, then an IRS Tax Return Transcript may not be required.
  • Effective January 9, 2019, schools can now accept signed copies of tax returns and self-certification of non-filing to complete verification. What this means is that students selected for verification have two options in which to provide theirs, their spouse (if married), or parents’ (if considered dependent)  tax return information ( 2019 for 2021-22 or 2020 for 2022-23). They may submit a tax return transcript or you may provide a signed paper copy of the required tax return information and applicable schedules that were submitted to the IRS when faxes were filed.

Update

Temporary Guidance for the 2021-22 FAFSA Cycle:

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that beginning July 13, 2021, and for the remainder of the 2021-22 FAFSA processing and verification cycle, it is waiving verification of FAFSA information, except for Identity & Statement of Educational Purpose and High School completion status for V4 or V5 students. If there is conflicting information within a student’s file at NMSU, the Financial Aid Office still has the duty to resolve conflicting information concerning a student’s eligibility and reserves the right to request any necessary documentation.

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’s 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 documentation.
  • 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 documentation.
  • 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 homeschooled 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.
  • For students in an “eligible career pathway program,” documentation that they passed an approved ATB test or completed at least 6 credit hours or 225 clock hours that are applicable toward a degree or certificate offered by your school.

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 were selected 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 another 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 and Deadlines

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

For Federal Pell Grants, Teach Grant, and Federal Direct Loans

For the 2020 – 2021 academic year, you must submit all required documents to complete the verification process by whichever date is sooner:

  • Within 120 days from the applicant’s last date of enrollment
  • By September 17, 2021
  • Federal Direct Loans must also be accepted and originated prior to the applicant’s last date of enrollment.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, you must submit all required documents to complete the verification process by whichever date is sooner:

  • Within 120 days from the applicant’s last date of enrollment
  • By September 17, 2022
  • Federal Direct Loans must also be accepted and originated prior to the applicant’s last date of enrollment.

For Supplemental Grants – SEOG, SSIG, LEAP, AND CAG

  • The deadline for submitting verification documents is 30 days from the start of the semester.  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.  For the semester start date, see the University Student Records website.  Students who have not satisfied or completed their requirements by the deadline date will have their grant canceled for the entire academic year.
  • This affects the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), NM Student Incentive Grant (SSIG), Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Grant (LEAP), and the NM College Affordability Grant (CAG).

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 the 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 Financial Aid Office will consult with the NMSU’s Office of General Counsel regarding any cases suspected of fraud.  If it has been determined that intent to commit 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.