What is Verification?
The verification process is the way in which a college must confirm the information listed on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is accurate and ensures that eligible students receive all the federal financial aid to which they are entitled. If you are selected for Verification, you must complete the process in its entirety before your FAFSA is considered to be complete. Not everyone’s FAFSA is verified, but being selected does not mean you’ve done anything wrong in the application process.
How do I know if I was selected for Verification?
If you are selected for Verification by the federal processor, there will be an asterisk next to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on your Student Aid Report (SAR). You will also be informed of having been selected for Verification in the SAR Acknowledgement Letter. Additionally, LVC will notify each student regarding their selection via a letter mailed to the student’s home address. The College will provide the student with a Verification Worksheet along with instructions on completing the verification process. LVC reserves the right to select applicants based on discrepant or incomplete information reported on the FAFSA.
How do I complete the verification process?
In order to complete the verification process, you must submit a completed Verification Worksheet along with all of the required documents that are listed on the worksheet. If you need another copy of the worksheet, you may contact the Financial Aid Office. Please note that we are unable to complete Verification until all required paperwork has been submitted.
In order for your FAFSA to be verified, you must submit:
- Completed and signed Verification Worksheet
- Copy of all your (student) W-2’s and schedule C (if applicable)
- Copy of all your parents’ W-2’s and schedule C (for dependent students only and if applicable)
- Copy of Tax Return Transcripts or successful use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA (see below for more information) for both you and your parents (for dependent students only)
It is your responsibility to provide copies of the above-listed documents to the Financial Aid Office.
Remember: Do not mail your documentation to the Department of Education. Submit everything directly to the Financial Aid Office.
Individuals who either have amended their taxes or are victims of tax-related identity theft are required to submit additional documentation (see below).
What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)?
As you complete the FAFSA, you are given the option to use the IRS DRT in the income section for both the parents and the student. The DRT allows you to automatically link your FAFSA with your tax information which is provided directly from the IRS. Therefore, in order to use the DRT you must have already filed your taxes. Please be aware that there is a two week delay for electronic tax filers and an eight week delay for paper tax filers from the time you file your taxes until you are able to use the DRT. If you successfully use the DRT, you are not required to submit a signed Tax Return Transcript; however, if you are unable to use the DRT for whatever reason, you may enter your tax information on the FAFSA and satisfy the DRT verification requirement by requesting a signed Tax Return Transcript. Official Tax Return Transcripts can be ordered free of charge by visiting http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=232168,00.html
or by calling 1-800-908-9946. Please note that copies of the federal tax return do NOT satisfy this requirement.
What happens to the documents that I send to the Financial Aid Office?
Documents that you send to the Financial Aid Office for verification are reviewed and stored with your financial aid file in a secure location. If any information is missing, you will receive a letter indicating what you must still submit. If you believe you received a missing information letter in error (i.e. you previously sent an item that is listed as missing on the letter), please contact the Financial Aid Office to follow up regarding that document.
The Financial Aid Office will use the documents you submit to confirm that the information you and your parents provided on the FAFSA is correct. Any errors and/or omissions will be corrected by LVC and resubmitted to the FAFSA federal processor. You and LVC will be notified electronically of any corrections to your FAFSA through a subsequent FAFSA transaction. Your financial aid eligibility may change based on corrections made to your FAFSA. If this is the case, you will be notified within 7-10 days after Verification by the Financial Aid Office through either:
- A financial award package, if you have not yet received one for the academic year under review
- A letter and/or a revised award package if you’ve already received your initial award package.
Am I eligible for financial aid if I do not complete the verification process?
If you do not complete the verification process, you are not eligible for any need-based institutional or federal aid (i.e. LVC Grant-In-Aid, LVC Multicultural Fellowship, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Stafford Loan, Federal Direct PLUS Loan, etc.). If you receive one of the Presidential Scholarships (Vickroy, Leadership or Achievement Award) and you do not complete Verification, you are still eligible to receive this award; however, you must notify the Financial Aid Office that you will not be completing the verification process in order for the award to be credited to your student account.
When do I need to complete the verification process?
The verification process must be complete prior to crediting financial aid to your student account. Therefore, failure to complete Verification in a timely manner may result in the loss of financial aid eligibility. Financial award packages for new students are mailed beginning the first week in March and are mailed on a rolling basis upon completion of the applications. Upperclass award packages are mailed the first week in July. You must submit all required documents prior to those dates in order to receive a financial award package on time.
deadline to submit verification documents in order to receive financial aid for the fall semester is December 1st and the final
deadline to submit verification documents in order to receive financial aid for the spring semester is May 1st. Financial aid cannot be processed for those semesters if Verification is not completed before the respective deadlines.
What if I am a victim of tax-related identity theft?
If you and/or your parents are victims of tax-related identity theft, the documentation you must submit will vary slightly from what is listed above. Any person not experiencing identity theft will submit the required Verification documents as bulleted above. However, a victim of identity theft will be unable to use the DRT or request a TRT. Therefore, to replace this requirement, the identity theft victim must instead submit a copy of the Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript, which can be obtained by calling the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 1-800-908-4490.
Once the tax filer's identity is authenticated, he/she can request a TRDBV. We realize obtaining the TRDBV may be delayed until the identity authentication is resolved and will work with victims of identity theft as best as we are able. Please be aware that LVC has no ability to expedite this process with the IRS.
In addition to a copy of the TRDBV for the identity theft victim, this person must also submit a statement signed and dated by the tax filer indicating that he or she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft.
What if I amended my taxes?
If you were selected for Verification and either you or your parents amended your taxes, you will need to submit the following documentation in addition to the standard documents required for Verification:
PHEAA Income Validation Review
- An IRS Tax Return Transcript that includes information from the original tax return OR any other other IRS tax transcript that includes all income and tax information from the original tax return required for verification (neither of which has to be signed); AND
- A signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X that was filed with the IRS.
In addition to completing the verification process through LVC, you may or may not be required to complete a similar verification through PHEAA (Income Validation Review), which is completely separate from the College’s verification process. If you are required to complete PHEAA’s review process, you will be notified by PHEAA and you must submit all required documents directly to them. You may contact PHEAA directly by creating an online account through Account Access at www.pheaa.org
or by calling 1-800-692-7392 regarding any questions about the Income Validation Review.
Referrals to the Office of Inspector General
If the Financial Aid Office suspects that a student, employee or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain federal funds, the office will report its suspicions and provide any evidence to the Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Education.