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Verification Infomation 2011-2012

What is verification?

Verification is the process by which the institution validates specific data elements you entered on your FAFSA for you and/or your parents/spouse.  These data elements are vital to your student financial aid eligibility and SFS is committed to ensure these items are accurate.  The verification process must be completed prior to the disbursement of any federal or state funding to your student account.

Who goes through verification?

The Central Processing Service (CPS) for Federal Student Aid randomly selects 30% of each school's financial aid applicants each year.  If you are one of the randomly selected applicants, there will be a message on your Student Aid Report (SAR) remitted to you after your FAFSA was processed.  SFS will also select students for verification when special circumstances arise or a need for clarification warrants it.

In addition, if you have a Caution Flag on your SAR or you answered YES to certain dependency questions, you will also need to provide documents to verify these data elements entered on your FAFSA even if you were not selected by CPS or SFS for the verification process.  For more information on Caution Flags and the Dependency Questions, please visit Additional Verifiable Items.

What documents are needed for verification?

The standard documentation you will need to provide includes:

 

Your dependency status will determine which documents to submit.  For example, a dependent student will submit a dependent verification worksheet, a signed copy of student taxes and a signed copy of parent taxes.  An unmarried, independent student will submit an independent verification worksheet and a signed copy of student taxes.  Copies of both verification worksheets can be obtained from  the Forms and Application Page in the Resource Center.

Acceptable Federal Tax Returns include forms 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ; a tax return from Puerto Rico; a foreign income tax return (which must be translated and notarized if in a language other than English) and an IRS issued tax transcript.  All tax returns must be signed by the tax filer.  In the event that an amended tax return had to be filed, form 1040X must be submitted along with the original 1040 form or the transcript of the submitted return.

The tax year of the returns to be submitted are determined by the award year being processed.  For example; here are some award years and their corresponding year for the tax return being used:

Award Year:

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-2014

Tax Year Needed:

2009

2010

2011

2012

What documents are needed for Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant Verification?

If you have been awarded an Illinois MAP Grant, and you are selected for verification, you must submit the following documentation according to your status:

Dependent Student

Independent Student*

Signed Copy of Parent Illinois Tax Return, or Valid Illinois Drivers License/ID Signed Copy of Illinois Tax Return, or  Valid Illinois Drivers License/ID
* Independent Students must show proof of residency in the state of Illinois for 1 full year prior to the beginning of the fall term and not solely for the purpose of attending college.

Independent students must also provide proof of Illinois residency if they are not selected for verification but answered ‘No’ to FAFSA question #19, “Did you become a legal resident of this state before January 1” of the printed year.

How does the verification process work?

All students selected for verification and are confirmed/enrolled for the term, will be sent a Missing Document email to their LOOP account.  This email will list all documents required for file processing and how to submit those documents to the office of SFS.  Students also have the option of logging into their OASIS Student Portal account, selecting the Student Financial Services option, and looking under ‘Missing Documents’ to see the complete list of requested documents.

Documents that have been received, reviewed, and have been determined to be incomplete or insufficient may be returned to the sender, and a second request will be made to satisfy the document requirement.  To avoid delays in student financial aid processing please be sure to submit clear, legible, and complete documents.

In order to have your student financial aid processed and ready for disbursement by the first day of classes, all valid and completed requested documents must be received by:


Documents received after these priority processing dates will be processed in the order received.  Processing time for verification is 10-15 business days during peak season (May– September) and 7 – 10 business days during non-peak season.  Please add additional processing time to allow for corrections if necessary.  Failure to submit the required documents will result in the cancellation of the student financial aid award.

Once documents have been reviewed and it is determined certain data elements are different on the SAR, corrections will be made to the SAR to reflect the correct information on the submitted documentation.  Corrections to the SAR could take anywhere from 1 – 5 days depending on the processing season. When verification is completed an email notification and a revised award notice will be sent to the student’s LOOP email account. Students should not go back and make corrections to their SAR after their file has been verified and closed. Subsequent corrections to a verified SAR may result in the delay of financial aid disbursement and/or cancellation.

Note for 2011-12: the US Department of Education has issued guidance to schools that although the 2010 Making Work Pay Credit (1040 line 63; 1040A line 40; 1040EZ line 8) was not included on the 2011-12 FAFSA as untaxed income to be reported, schools are required to include the Making Work Pay Credit as untaxed income when completing verification. As a result, students and/or parents may see an additional amount reported under the untaxed income section on the student’s SAR if the Making Work Pay Credit was reported on their 2010 tax return.

In an effort to ensure maximum efficiency, files selected for verification may undergo a secondary audit procedure.  If the audit finds a need for additional documentation, an email communication will be sent to the student LOOP email account.  These audit documents are to be submitted within 14 days from the date of the email notification.  Failure to submit these documents within the 14 days will result in the cancellation of the student financial aid award.

What if I used the IRS Data Match?

Beginning with the 2010-11 award year, students and families have the option to transfer their tax information directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the appropriate tax year when completing their FAFSA. If you and/or your parent transferred your tax information from the IRS to your FAFSA as part of your initial application or during a correction and did not change any data elements, you may only be required to submit a Verification Worksheet. Students and families who made changes to the IRS data as part of their initial application or during corrections are required to submit copies of their federal tax returns.

Note for 2011-12: due to a recent update in the federal regulations regarding verification, all applicants selected for verification for 2011-12 who used the IRS Data Match feature may also be required to submit signed copies of their 2010 Tax Forms to SFS.

If you are unsure whether or not you should submit copies of you and/or your parent tax returns, check your LOOP email for the most recent Missing Document Letter which lists outstanding verification items. You may also log in to your OASIS portal to view missing documentation required to complete the verification process.

Where should I go if I have additional questions about verification?

For questions or concerns regarding the verification process, students and parents should contact SFS.