COVID-19 Campus Update
Policy 03:15:00 Federal Verification and Conflicting Data Policy
Revision Responsibility: Director of Financial Aid
Responsible Executive Office: President
Purpose: To explain Platt College's process mandated by the Federal government in which schools are required to and have the authority to collect documentation to verify data provided on a student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), in accordance with Federal Guidelines 668.16 (f) and 668.54 (a) (3).
Verification is a process mandated by the Federal government in which schools are required to and have the authority to collect documentation to verify data provided on a student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students are selected for verification by the United States Department of Education's Central Processing System (CPS) at the time the student completes the FAFSA. Platt College reserves the right to select any student not already selected by the CPS if it believes that any application information is incorrect or if there is evidence of conflicting information.
About 30% of all FAFSA filers are selected for the verification process, which requires the school to collect documentation to check the accuracy of the FAFSA information.
At Platt College, students are notified of needed verifications via College email and/or the College portal. If verifications are not completed by students within 30 calendar adays from the first notification, then the only aid students will be allowed to receive will revert to non-need base as an unsubsidized loan.
The best action a student can take to help finish verification is to use the IRS data retrieval process to automatically populate tax information (either from student and/or student's parents) directly from the IRS into your FAFSA.
Once the IRS tax filing deadline has passed, the student and his/her parents (if a dependent student) should log into your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and make a correction to use the IRS data retrieval. This step allows a student to link to the IRS from the FAFSA and retrieve the tax information to populate the FAFSA tax questions. When using the IRS data retrieval, the tax information is considered to be already verified so a student may not have to submit any documentation, like tax transcripts, to the Financial Aid Office at Platt College.
There may be other documents that we are requesting (like a Verification Worksheet) that you will still need to complete and submit.
Some students and/or parents will be ineligible or will choose not to use the IRS data retrieval. In these cases, only the signed tax return transcript will be accepted as documentation to verify tax information. The tax return transcript must be requested directly from the IRS by calling 1-800-908-9946 or visiting the IRS Website. Be sure to request the tax return transcript, and not the tax account transcript. Platt College cannot accept 1040s to verify tax information.
Applicants Selected for Verification: If Platt College has reason to believe that any information on the application used to calculate the expected family contribution (EFC) is discrepant or inaccurate, the financial aid department will require the applicant to provide adequate documentation to resolve conflict.
Applicants Not Selected for Verification: Platt College will resolve conflicting infomraiton regardless of whether or not the applicant was selected for verification. The financial aid office will review all tax returns provided to teh school even if they were not requested. All C Codes on the ISIR will be reviewed and resolved by the financial aid office.
All students selected for verification are reviewed upon submission of the required documents. Student may not skip the verificaiton process and obtain financial aid. If a student's FAFSA is selected for verification after the student has been awarded, the student has 45 days to complete verification.
The following list identifies all applicants who are excluded from Verification:
Eligible applicants for whom modification and waiving of some statutory and regulatory provisions apply under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act:
Students who are not selected for Verification, who are awarded and then make a subsequent ISIR change are subjected to Verification on subsequent transactions.
Accepted Documentation and Forms
V1 Standard Verification Group
V4 Custom Verification Group
V5 Aggregate Verification Group
Once verification begins, Platt College may need to ask for additional documentation based on the documents submitted by students.
Students or parents selected for verification –If the College has reason to believe that any information on the application used to calculate the EFC is discrepant or inaccurate (or if any supporting documentation is discrepant or inaccurate), the College requires the student or parent to provide adequate documentation to resolve the conflict.
Students or parents not selected for verification –the College must resolve conflicting information regardless of whether or not the student or parent was selected for verification. The financial aid office must review all tax returns/transcripts provided to the College even if they were not requested. All C Codes on the ISIR must be reviewed and resolved by the financial aid office.
Other student or parent information received by the College –Platt College must have an adequate internal system to identify conflicting information that it may have regardless of the source. The office lead for each office is required to provide information that could impact the financial aid status of each student or parent e.g. (Admissions Office: High School Diploma, Fiscal Office: Report outside awards, Graduate Aid Office: Report outside awards, Registrar: Report changes in enrollment, Federal Work Study Office: Report FWS earning in a calendar year, National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS): Review financial aid history, (e.g. review aid received from prior colleges attended).
The following list provides examples of conflicting data. Please note: the list is not construed as an all-inclusive list.
Examples of issues not considered Conflicting Data, but should be reviewed:
Additional Documents (to Resolve Conflicting Information)
Interim Disbursements and Resolution of Conflicting Information
The College may not disburse aid until you have resolved conflicting information. Even if the conflict concerns a previous award year, the Financial Aid Department must still investigate it. The matter will be resolved when financial aid has determined which data are correct; this might simply be confirming that an earlier determination was the right one. The Financial Aid Department will document the findings and explain why, not simply assert that, the decision is justified.
Correction of Information
Once the requested information is received, Student Financial Services submits the verified corrections to the Central Processing System (CPS) electronically. This will ensure that corrections are made known to all parties and that the needs analysis will be updated accurately and according to federal standards. Once corrections are received back at the school, the student is reviewed and rewarded through Quality Control process. All interactions are communicated with the student via email communication.
Important Note about Verifying Tax Information
Students should use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which allows them to link to the IRS from the FAFSA and retrieve tax information directly from the IRS to populate the FAFSA tax return questions. Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool simplifies the FAFSA filing and may result in quicker processing of a student's verification. The documents that Platt College can now accept to verify tax information have changed based on policy changes from the U.S. Department of Education. Either a federal tax transcript from the IRS or the FAFSA filed using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool are the only two ways to verify tax data with the 2018/2019 academic year. If a student does not, or cannot, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, s/he will be required to obtain a federal tax return transcript from the IRS. If a student has filed his/her taxes with the IRS, log into your FAFSA and make a correction to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update tax information. If a student does this, s/he will not be required to submit a tax transcript.
To request a tax return transcript from the IRS, go to http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript or call 1-800-908-9946.
Submitting your FAFSA and completing verification is required before aid can be awarded.
Failure to meet the verification deadlines may result in certain types of aid not being offered. In addition, delays in sending documentation may result in the student not having aid by the time their bills are due each quarter. In this case, the student is obligated to pay the account balance on the student account, or their classes could be canceled. Once verification has been completed students will be notified by the Financial Aid Department.
Important Tips for Completing the Verification Process
If you suspect that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation to fradulently obtain federal funds, you should report your suspicions and provide any evidence to the Office of the Inspector General:
Inspector General’s Hotline
Office of Inspector General
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1500
Hours: M, W 9:00–11:00 a.m. T, Th 1:00–3:00 p.m.
To submit a complaint online (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/hotline.html) and click on the appropriate link.
Policy Appendices: Dependent Verification Worksheet (if student is dependent on parents), Independent Verification Worksheet (if student is independent of parents)
Created in Formalized Policies: June 6, 2014, Revised June 9, 2015 to reflect changes in policy appendices; Revised May 18, 2018 to reflect updates in verification worksheets; Notification date of January 28, 2019 with an effective date of March 15, 2019 regarding a 30 calendar day time period to resolve verifications.