Financial Aid Eligibility Verification Policy
Update: November 2019
to comply with Federal DOE regulations ensuring financial aid funding is applied to all students in a manner that is fair and equitable
Federal regulations require schools verify all files that are either selected by CPS or institutionally selected. The school is required to verify, or confirm, the data reported by students and their parent (s) on the FAFSA. Verification is a federal regulation; if you are selected for verification, you must comply with all requests for documentation from the OFA, (Office of Financial Aid). Verification means you were chosen randomly, the FAFSA was incomplete, your FAFSA contains estimated information, or the data you provided on the FASFA was inconsistent. Failure to comply will result in termination of your financial aid eligibility. All verification should be completed prior to disbursing financial aid. In a case where you were not initially selected for verification, but make changes to your FASFA, you may be selected for verification after the changes are processed. If this should happen and the first disbursement has already been processed your verification must be completed prior to any subsequent disbursement. Additionally, the funds from the first disbursement can be removed from your account or any impending refund delayed, but all aid and refunds will be reinstated after the verification is successfully completed. If you are selected for verification after your financial aid is awarded, but before it is disbursed, the pending disbursement will be on hold until verification is completed. It is very important to respond promptly to all requests for verification information, some funding is limited. Delays in response or submission of incomplete verification documentation will delay the offer of a student’s award package.
Definition: Students must submit to the Financial Aid Office all the requested and/or necessary documents in a timely manner in order for their aid to be processed and/or disbursed. Timely manner, for most students, means that their aid will be “Ready to Disburse” (RD) before payment to the school is required. The verification process ensures that eligible students receive all the federal financial aid to which they are entitled and prevents ineligible students from receiving financial aid for which they do not qualify.
Maine Media College implements several measures that the DOE encourages in order to safeguard the proper administration of federal funds. Only those students who are selected for verification by the Central Processor are subject to verification at Maine Media College in accordance with the following criteria. Our steps are listed below:
- Students are selected for verification by the US Department of Education (DOE) Central Processing System (CPS). Institutions must verify the information submitted on the FAFSA by the student.
- At the time the student’s ISIR is received by Maine Media College, a tracking letter is generated notifying the student that they were selected for verification and what documentation is needed to complete the verification process
- Students selected for verification are sent a “Missing Information/Verification Information Letter” via mail and email. The verification letter will contain the following information:
needed to complete verification
- Household size
- Number in College
- Untaxed Income
- SNAP Benefits/Food Stamps
- Child Support Paid
- For Non-Tax
- Income Earned from work
- For tax filers
- Adjusted gross income (AGI)
- U.S. income tax paid
- Education credits
- Untaxed IRA distributions
- Untaxed pensions
- IRA deductions
- Tax-exempt interest
- Timeframe in
which the student must submit the requested documentation
- Notification of procedures if documents are not submitted in above-mentioned timeframe
- Notification that financial aid cannot be processed until verification is complete
- Estimated award letter with estimated aid based off the current FAFSA submitted
- The student will also be sent a Verification Worksheet that must be completed and signed by both the student and at least one parent for dependent students or for an Independent student only the student’s signature is required, a copy of the student’s and parent’s or spouse’s IRS Tax Transcript (the tax year will be specified) as well as all copies of W-2 forms from all employers. Other documentation may be requested for clarification.
- Student submits documents within 15 days from the date of the verification letter as federally required. All student files will be on hold until the documents are received.
- After all documents are received, verification is completed by the OFA using Maine Media College Software System.
- If necessary, the student will be informed via a missing information letter to make any corrections themselves.
- The OFA will make the corrections to the CPS for the student unless those corrections require a student or parent signature or changes to the social security number of the student or parent. No federal or state aid is awarded to a student until the verification process is completed. This includes receiving an ISIR ,which accurately reflects any EFC changes determined as a result of verification.
- The student will receive a revised student aid report (SAR).
- An award letter will be generated upon completion of the verification process.
- All documentation submitted to the Office of Financial Aid will be scanned, or placed into the student’s file. Students are urged to make any needed copies before submitting as the originals documents are unable to be returned to the student.
Based on the Verification Tracking Code V4-V5:
Maine Media College will use FAA Access to go to the CPS Online website (http://faaaccess.ed.gov) to report the verification results using the Identity Verification Results feature.
Maine Media College implements several measures that the DOE encourages in order to safeguard the proper admission of federal funds. Students who wish to do a dependency override must submit the following documentation.
- A letter of explanation, written by the student explaining the extraordinary family circumstances that led to the student leaving the parent’s household. The letter must include information on the student’s means of support since leaving the parent’s.
- Letters (on letterhead) from three professionals verifying the family circumstances described by the student. Professionals may include guidance counselors, clergy members, teachers, doctors, family counselors, mental health professionals, and law enforcement.
- Copies of the student’s IRS Tax Transcript and W-2’s for the appropriate tax year, or signed Tax Returns (1040 etc.).
- A completed copy of the Maine Media College Independent or Dependent Verification Worksheet for the appropriate award year.
- Submission of documents does not guarantee approval of your request. Approval of your request does not guarantee receipt of additional aid.
- Please submit all information and documentation by mail, fax or in person to the Student Financial Aid Office. The appeal decision will be sent in written writing; the process may take up to two weeks after receipt of all documentation. Please note that additional information may be requested.
Referring a student to the Office of Inspector General (OIG)
Maine Media College has standard procedures for referring overpayment cases to the Department and procedures for referring a student to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for intentionally misreporting information or altering documentation to fraudulently obtain federal financial aid funds. Maine Media College Financial Aid can report its suspicions, and provide supporting evidence, to the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education for review.