The U.S. Department of Education announced that they will be making temporary changes to the federal student aid verification process for the 2022-2023 award year. This temporary change aims to mitigate the barriers that have prevented students in need from accessing the financial aid they need to attend college, barriers largely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The verification process is the process of confirming the accuracy of the information, reported by you or your parents, on your FAFSA application. The Department will be shifting focus of the verification process to identity theft and fraud for the 22-23 award year. The Department of Ed reported that this shift in the verification process will help approximately 200,000 more students from low-income backgrounds and students of color enroll in college.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:
Most students who have been selected for the verification process will no longer be required to provide supporting documentation. Students may still have to submit documents if requested by HCC Financial Aid in instances where conflicting information was provided on a student’s FAFSA application, or other special circumstances.
How to Submit Verification Documents
Students are selected at random or by system edits at the U.S. Department of Education, or by the school. Whatever the reason, your next step is to find out which verification documents need to be submitted and who needs to submit the documents.
- Visit HCC MyEagle https://myeagle.hccs.edu, select ‘Student Sign-in’ and select the “Checklists” tile to view your “To-Do List” items. Your “To-Do List” will outline all of the additional financial aid documentation we need to verify your account.
- Submit the form online or at a campus near you. Most of our forms can be completed online and signed electronically by going to http://www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/financial-aid/financial-aid-forms. **Please ONLY submit forms that appear on your To-Do List.
- Do not submit original documents unless required. Make copies of documents submitted.
- Submit all requested documentation as soon as possible. It’s important that you make submitting requested documentation a priority. Not doing so will result in processing delays.
- Check the email address listed on your FAFSA application. This is how we will update you on your verification status.
Who Must Submit Verification Documentation
When a student is selected for verification, the following individuals must provide documentation:
- The student.
- The spouse of the student (if the student is married).
- Each parent of a dependent student whose financial information appears on the FAFSA, or whose information should appear on the FAFSA. Please click here to see how the Department of Education determines if you're a dependent student.
What Type of Verification Documentation
Students should only submit forms that appear on their To-Do List.
For your reference, the U.S. Department of Education annually publishes the type of documentation that may be required for students selected for verification.
- Verification of Household Size and Number in College: The Independent and Dependent worksheets are available online at https://www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/financial-aid/financial-aid-forms/. Please click here to see how the Department of Education determines if you're a dependent or independent student.
- Tax Return Transcript: If the student, parent, or the student's spouse has filed a tax return for the year reported on the FAFSA, a federal income tax return transcript must be submitted, unless the student or parent utilized the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).
- If the student, parent(s), or spouse is having difficulty obtaining a tax return transcript, then the financial aid office may, on a case-by-case basis, permit the submission of a signed photocopy of the IRS tax return. If permission to submit a tax return is granted, the College will obtain a tax return transcript after July 15, and will reconfirm the data used to verify the application.
- In the event that the student, parent, or spouse of the student has filed an amended federal income tax return, then signed copies of both the original federal income tax return and the amended tax return must be submitted to the College. A copy of the original federal income tax transcript will be collected and the updated tax account transcript indicating the amended change.
- If the student and spouse were not separated or divorced at the time the FAFSA was filed, tax returns from a spouse who is separated from the student applicant must be submitted.
- In some circumstances, the FAFSA application can be corrected to retrieve tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
When You Should Submit Verification Documentation + What Happens When You Don't Provide Documentation
- Before the Award | Students who have not been awarded federal student aid will not have their application processed until the required verification documentation is received.
- Before Disbursement and Refunds | In the event the student has been awarded federal student aid, any future disbursements of all need-based federal student aid for the current academic year will be withheld until documentation is received.
- After Disbursement | If a student is notified they are selected for verification after their aid has disbursed, he or she has 30 days to submit required documentation.
Failure to submit any required documentation may result in repayment of all need-based federal student aid received prior to verification selection. This will put a hold on the applicant’s academic records and prevent future registration. We're here to help, so please contact us for help during the verification process.
What Happens After Verification is Completed
Once the Financial Aid Office completes verification, students will receive an email outlining the steps to check on their updated financial aid award pacakge.