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MSJC > Student Services > Financial Aid > 2015-2016 Verification Guidelines

2015-2016 Verification Guidelines

 
Verification is the process by which the FAO compares the information on the financial aid application with source documents provided by the student to verify the accuracy of the application information.  These policies are to be used in conjunction with the Department of Education and the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) verification guidelines.  Mt. San Jacinto College will verify the information on the Student Aid Report (SAR) or ISIR for all students who complete the application process for federal & state financial aid and who are selected for verification by the Department of Education or the California Student Aid Commission edits.  In addition, MSJC may select files for verification to resolve conflicting information or institutional edits.
 
At Mt. San Jacinto College, financial aid will not be awarded to those selected for verification until all documents required are submitted and the verification has been completed.
 

Verification Deadlines for 2015-2016

The key application deadline, regulated by the U.S. Department of Education, will be followed at MSJC and can be located in the Department of Education Verification Guide.
 
Deadline for 2015-2016: Students who fail to turn in all documents required to complete verification by the appropriate deadline at MSJC (2015-2016 final verification deadline at MSJC is May 19, 2016) will be ineligible for financial aid for 2015-2016. MSJC reserves the right to cut off applications earlier based on workload.
 
 

Corrections

 
If discrepancies are found between the documents submitted for verification and the information on the SAR or ISIR, the following procedures will be used for making the corrections:
·       SAR – corrections to income or asset figures, household size, and dependency must be made in Colleague and a new need analysis performed.  If the corrections result in a changed EFC, the data must be transmitted to the Central Processor to produce an electronic student aid report.
·       Award changes – If corrections to the SAR due to verification result in a change in the student’s award, the student will be sent a revised award letter notification by email.  Financial aid notifications are produced weekly for new awards and changes to awards made during the previous week.

Verification Selection

 
A random selection of the financial aid population may be selected for verification by the Department of Education or California Student Aid Commission. The FAO at MSJC will perform additional verifications on all students who have conflicting data in the file documents.
 

Notification of Verification Requirements

 
Students will be notified of the documents that must be submitted to the FAO in order to complete verification by a FA acknowledgement and missing information letter (email). The FA acknowledgement and missing information letter (email) will list the required verification items, any other actions required to complete verification, and other items required by the FAO.  FA acknowledgement and missing information letters (email) are generated to the students MSJC student email account.
 
Students who fail to bring in the documents may lose their priority standing for campus-based awards.

Dependency Status

 
Federal regulations consider you a dependent student for financial aid purposes unless you meet one of the following criteria An independent student may be required to verify his/her status by filling out specific documents related to the specific application item that makes the student independent:
 
 
 
Verification of Household Size
·       Parent remarriage after applying
If the applicant is a dependent student and his parent remarries between the application and the verification process, the household size must include the new stepparent. 
·       Other adult legal dependents (other than spouse and children)
Other adult persons who live with the student and/or parents of a dependent student and receive more than half their support from the student or dependent student’s parent as of the FAFSA signing date and will continue to do so for the academic year must submit documentation to verify this in order to be included in the household size.
 
Example: Alan’s parent pays $4000 support to his grandmother who lives with them. Alan’s grandmother receives $200 a month ($2,400 a year) from a retirement fund and $4,000 from Social Security.  She uses all of this support for her support.  Alan’s parents cannot consider his grandmother a dependent since the $4,000 they provide is not more than half of her total support of $9,400.
 
Verification of Income
 
All students selected for verification must submit a copy of his/her tax transcripts and/or parents’ tax transcripts (if the IRS Data Retrieval was not used).   If the student or parent did not file taxes and was not required to file taxes, copies of the student’s or parent’s W-2 forms will be requested.  If a student or parent was required to file taxes and did not, verification cannot proceed until the student or parent submit a tax transcript or use the IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA. 
 
  If the student and his/her spouse or parents of a dependent student are separated or divorced, but filed a joint tax return, W-2 forms are required so as to determine the amount of income and taxes paid for the student or the custodial parent of a dependent student.  (Custodial parent refers to the parent who had custody of the student or who the student last lived with.)  In the case of stepparents, both incomes will be used in the calculation..
  If the student’s parent(s) filed an amended 2014 IRS tax return, the parents must provide both a 2014 IRS Tax Transcript and a signed copy of the 2014 IRS Form 1040X “Amended US Individual Tax Return that was filed with the IRS. 
  If an individual has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, provide the following documents: A copy of the IRS Form 4868 “Application for automatic Extension of Time to file US Individual Tax Return and copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment received for tax year 2014 and if self employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individuals AGI and US Income tax paid for tax year 2014.
  A victim of IRS identity theft who has been unable to obtain a 2014 IRS Tax Return Transcript or use the IRS DRT must provide a signed copy of the 2014 paper IRS income tax return that was filed with the IRS and a signed copy of IRS Form 14039 “Identity Theft Affidavit” if one was submitted to the IRS.  If a copy of Form 14039 was not retained or the IRS did not require you to submit one, the student or parent (if dependent) may provide one of the following:
o   A statement signed and dated explaining he/she was a victim of IRS identity theft and that IRS is investigating the matter.  The statement must also indicate that the individual submitted a Form 14039 to the IRS but did not keep a copy or that he/she was not required to file the form: or
o   A copy of a police report if it was filed related to the IRS identity theft.
 
2014 Tax filing requirements
IF your filing status is...
AND at the end of 2014 you
were...*
THEN file a return if
your gross income
was at least...**
single
under 65
$10,150
65 or older
$11,700
married filing jointly***
under 65 (both spouses)
$20,300
65 or older (one spouse)
$21,500
65 or older (both spouses)
$22,700
married filing separately
any age
$3,950
head of household
under 65
$13,050
65 or older
$14,600
qualifying widow(er) with dependent child
under 65
$16,350
65 or older
$17,550
*
If you were born on January 1, 1950, you are considered to be age 65 at the end of 2014.
Self-employed individuals generally must file a tax return if their net income from self employment was at least $400.
 
Income Reduction Policy
 
Income reductions will not normally be considered upon the student’s submission of the required documents.  The independent student or parent of a dependent student must wait until January of the award year and provide documentation of actual earnings from the tax year that just ended.  This will avoid the pitfalls of trying to project an income.
Students are requested to follow the procedures for completing an Income Reduction request. Keep in mind, that an EFC can only be adjusted with proper documentation.
Income reduction adjustment will be made only one time.
 
Subsequent ISIR transaction
 
If the Financial Aid Office receives another ISIR transaction after the student’s file has already been awarded, the new ISIR transaction must be verified.  Any changes to data elements that result in a change in EFC must be verified by requesting additional documentation and placing a hold on the financial aid disbursement until resolved.
 
Updating marital status
 
A student’s dependency status may be updated based on a change in the student’s marital status if it is determined the update is necessary to address an inequity or to reflect more accurately the student’s ability to pay.  The deadline to appeal for consideration of change in dependency status due to change in marital status is July 29th, 2015.
 
Professional Judgment
 
The Financial Aid Administrator may make exceptions to the above guidelines for unusual/extenuating circumstance of the student and/or parent.  All verification requirements must be met before applying professional judgment. Professional judgment cannot be used to waive general student eligibility requirements or to circumvent the intent of the law or regulations.