Verification of FAFSA Data
Your application for Federal Student Financial Aid may be selected by the U.S. Department of Education or SDSM&T for review in a process called verification. Verification is a systematic means of comparing various financial and informational documents with the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The following information is an outline of the policies and procedures that govern the verification process, your responsibilities and the appropriate deadline dates for the Federal Student Aid Programs. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the SDSM&T Financial Aid Office.
Our Verification Policy
According to federal guidelines, it is the policy of SDSM&T to withhold the awarding of Federal Student Financial Aid until the verification process is considered completed. This policy ensures that the information provided by the Federal Processor to our office and your aid eligibility determination is correct before any funds are awarded to you.
The verification process will be considered complete once the following has been accomplished:
- Fully complete and submit the Verification Form to the Enrollment Service Center (ESC).
- Provide tax documentation. Please be advised that we are no longer allowed to accept a copy of filed tax returns. The Federal government recommends using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (part of FAFSA on the Web) to provide your tax documention. If you and/or your parent(s) are unable to or choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you must request a tax return transcript from the IRS by calling 1-800-908-9946 or online at www.IRS.gov.
- Submit copies of any other documents as requested by the ESC.
- ESC will compare the Federal Processor results with the documents requested.
- If verification reveals that data provided by the Federal Processor is accurate or within allowable tolerances, you will receive an award letter from the SDSM&T Financial Aid Office.
- If verification reveals that data provided by the Federal Processor is incorrect, ESC will electronically correct your data with the Federal Processor. As a result, you will receive notification of the corrections, either by mail or e-mail, from the Federal Processor. After we receive the corrected information, you will be processed for an award letter.
Corrections to Previously Determined Aid Eligibility
If your aid record wasn’t originally selected for verification, then we would have had no reason to delay disbursement of aid to you. However, if you request that some data element on your aid record be changed or corrected after aid has been disbursed to you, then it is possible that the U.S. Department of Education could select your record for verification. If that occurs, then you will be asked to provide various financial and informational documents to verify the accuracy of your aid record. You will be required to provide the necessary verification documents according to the following deadlines:
Federal Pell Grant: If you have already received Pell Grant funds prior to being selected for verification, you must provide requested documents by August 31 of the aid year you are receiving assistance, or no later than your last date of attendance for the academic year, whichever is earlier. Subsequent disbursements of Pell Grant funds will be withheld until verification is completed.
Perkins Loan, Direct Loans, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and Work-Study: The requested Verification documents must be received at the ESC within 60 days of the first notification that documents are needed. Subsequent disbursements of Perkins Loan, Direct Loans and SEOG funds will be withheld. You will also be asked to suspend Federal Work-Study employment pending the completion of Verification.
If verification reveals that your aid eligibility has changed, it may be necessary to repay aid already disbursed to you. Failure to repay aid funds for which you have been determined ineligible will make you ineligible for further Federal Student Aid (whether grants, loans or work-study) at any institution until the aid is repaid in full. Your account will also be referred to the U.S. Department of Education to record your ineligibility for further Federal Student Aid.
The Consequences of Failing to Complete Verification:
- Under the Pell Grant Program, you forfeit the Pell Grant for the award year.
- Under the Perkins Loan, SEOG, Direct Loans and Work-Study programs, SDSM&T will withhold subsequent disbursements of Perkins Loan, Direct Loans and SEOG funds; discontinue your employment under the Work-Study Program and withhold certification of any further Stafford Loan applications.
In all cases, SDSM&T will take the necessary steps to secure repayment of aid funds already disbursed to you for which you have been determined to be ineligible.
Summary: The selection of an aid application for verification is a means to ensure that aid awards are based upon the most accurate information possible. Some applications are selected strictly on a random basis, while others may be selected due to inconsistent information. Whatever the reason may be, your cooperation is greatly appreciated and the sooner the requested information is provided the sooner your aid record will be considered complete and SDSM&T will be able to fully disburse aid to you.