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Verification Policy

Any student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information may be selected for a process called verification by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and/or the Financial Aid Office.  During the review, information reported on the FAFSA is verified for accuracy against documentation submitted by the student and/or their parents.  An application may be selected for verification at any time throughout the award year. 34 CFR 668.53. Mesalands Community College (MCC) will verify 100% of student files selected for verification.

Deadlines

Students are strongly encouraged to provide the requested documents within two weeks of the request.  Documents will be accepted until the last day of regular classes of the last semester of the award year that a student is enrolled in (July 1 – June 30).

Consequences

Financial Aid awards will not be finalized or disbursed until all verification requirements have been fulfilled.  If corrections need to be made to the student’s FAFSA, disbursements will not be made until the corrected application has been received by Mesalands Community College.

Verified Information

Students selected for verification may have the following information verified:

  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) (Student; Parent; and/or Spouse)
  • High School or Equivalency Completion
  • Proof of Identification
  • Proof of Citizenship
  • Household Size
  • Number enrolled in college
  • U.S. Income Tax Paid
  • Certain untaxed income and benefits.
    • Child Support
    • Untaxed Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Distributions and Deductions
    • Untaxed Portions of Pensions and Annuities
    • Education Credits
    • Tax Exempt Interest

Additional items will be verified when there is conflicting documentation on file or items selected by Mesalands Community College Financial Aid Staff.

Documentation

Students selected for verification must submit the required verification worksheet and any other required supplemental documentation.  Documents that will be accepted to fulfill requirements are as follows:

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Process in the FAFSA (preferred method)
  • Tax Return Transcript from the IRS (see irs.gov to order a copy)
  • Tax Account Transcript from the IRS (if original tax return was amended or adjusted)
  • Copy of IRS Form 4868 for Extension Filers
  • Mesalands Community College Verification worksheets (V1, V4 or V5).
  • Official High School or Equivalency Transcript
  • Government Issued ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.)

Disbursements

No Title IV aid will be released until the student has completed any required verification process and submitted an official transcript of high school completion or equivalency.

Notification

Students will be notified of verification and required documents via email.  In the case, a student does not provide an email, a letter will be sent to the student via mail.  Students may access their mymesalands account to see required documents and status. Students will be notified via email if there are changes to their EFC or awards, through the student award letter.

FAFSA Corrections or Data Correction

Once a student is notified of verification selection, the student must provide all requested documentation.  FAFSA corrections may be completed by the student or by the financial aid office.  Once corrections have been completed the corrected FAFSA will be submitted to the Central Processing Service (CPS) for validation. Once this process has been completed the students financial aid package will be finalized.

Professional Judgement

As per section 478A(a) of the Higher Education Act (HEA) financial aid administrators are authorized on the basis of adequate documentation, to make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to make adjustments to the cost of attendance or the values of the data items required to calculate the expected student or parent contribution to allow for treatment of an individual eligible applicant with special circumstances.  If a student feels that they have extenuating circumstances, they need to contact the financial aid office to determine if an override can be completed.

Referral Procedures

Mesalands Community College must refer for investigation to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) any credible information indicating that a Title IV aid applicant, school employee, or third party servicer may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with the Title IV programs. (Note: Fraud is the intent to deceive as opposed to a mistake.)

Common misconducts include but are not limited to:

  • Claims of independent student status
  • False claims of citizenship
  • Use of false identities
  • Forgery of signatures of certifications
  • False statement of income

If it is determined that a student received funds that they are not entitled to, the student will be required to repay the amount. If a repayment is not made, the overpayment may be referred to the US Department of Education.  (34 CFR 668.16 (g)).