Verification of Financial Aid Information
In an effort to limit fraud and abuse of the financial aid programs, the federal government requires that colleges and universities confirm, on a select population of students, the accuracy of information that appears on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA). This confirmation is performed through a process called “verification,” and the federal government itself randomly selects the students. The Campus also has the right to select students for this process as well. Regardless of how the student is selected, the verification process has to be successfully completed in order for the student to be awarded federal funding.
The process begins when the federal government’s processor for the FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA receives the student’s electronic information (FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA) and shares it with several other federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, etc. If the information from the FAFSA does not match the database of these other agencies, the student’s records will be flagged with a comment code that generates a message on the student’s Student Aid Report (SAR), which is mailed or e-mailed to the student by the federal government. The SAR is the first source of information for the student which indicates that there may be a problem on the FAFSA. We encourage students and parents when completing the FAFSA to link and retrieve the IRS database to populate your tax information into the FAFSA.
The message on the SAR indicates what database match did not take place – for example, the student’s Social Security number does not appear in the records of the Social Security Administration. To resolve this issue, this student would have to provide proof of his/her Social Security number to Integrated Student Financial Services and a message would appear on the SAR instructing the student to contact that office.
There are other reasons that a record may be selected for verification – for example, if the income listed was “estimated,” or it is very low, etc. Whatever the reason, when a record is selected for verification, a small asterisk (*) will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the SAR, next to the EFC number, along with a message on Part I of the SAR, indicating that the student was selected for verification and should contact Integrated Student Financial Services.
In all cases where database matches have not been confirmed, or if a student is selected for verification, the student has to contact Integrated Student Financial Services in order to provide the documents needed to resolve any discrepancies and/or to prove income and assets.
Integrated Student Financial Services may send a reminder to the student as well, by using a “Missing Information Letter,” which lists all of the documents a student must submit in order to complete the “verification” process and/or resolve comment code issues. In addition to this, these documents are listed on the student’s “To Do List” in their My LIU account. Until the student supplies the missing information and completes the verification process, he/she will not be able to be awarded financial aid or receive a financial aid award notice.
To assist with the verification process, the student must complete a Verification Supplement which is available on this Web site in the Brochures & Forms section. This form must be submitted with the accompanying required documentation.
Upon review of the Verification Supplement and accompanying income documentation, or the information provided to resolve a federal database non-match issues, Integrated Student Financial Services will determine if the information is correct, and whether or not the student may be awarded financial aid. A financial aid award notice will be generated for the student whose information is correct.
If information must be changed, and the student must make corrections to the FAFSA, he/she may do so by using their Federal Student Aid PIN, and may make corrections online at www.fafsa.gov. Financial aid counselors are available to assist students in making corrections. These students must wait for the corrected information to come in from the federal government in the form of a new SAR. The new SAR has a different transaction number (higher than the previous one) and the University will take action on the SAR with the highest transaction number on file. Sometimes, when changes are made, different edit checks are performed by the federal government, which may require that the student provide additional information, previously not requested.
Upon receiving the final, accurate electronic information on the new SAR, Integrated Student Financial Services will review it, and if all corrections have been made, ISFS will proceed to offer the student financial aid. Unless “verification” or the comment code issues are satisfactorily completed for a selected student, he/she will be unable to receive federal Title IV financial aid. This includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal SEOG Grants, SDS Scholarships, Federal Perkins Student Loans, Federal Work Study/America Reads and Counts, Health Professions Student Loans and all Federal Direct Loans.
In order to gain eligibility for financial aid, the “verification” process or comment code issue must be completed and resolved. This must be done in a timely manner. The deadline for doing so is within one month of the end of the term or the academic year for which the student is applying for financial aid.