U.S. Department of Education Verification Process
Please be aware that even if you are not selected for Federal Government Verification, the University has the authority to conduct its own verification and audits under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education guidelines.
About the Process
- Review and Eligibility Certifications Required for All Applicants
- Applications Selected for Verification by USED Edits
- Documents Required for Verification
- Corrections and Notification to Student
- Consequences of Noncompliance with Deadlines
- More Information on Verification
- Missing Information Letter Request (MIL) – This email is sent with our request for verification documents. This link will take you to a page that describes the email in more detail.
- Dependent Verification Worksheet
- Independent Verification Worksheet
- Child Support Verification
- High School Completion Status
- Educational Purpose Statement
- Untaxed Income Verification Worksheet
- IRS Tax Return Transcripts (or complete the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA)
The federal government has legislated a financial aid application review process called “verification.” This process will be applied to all federal, state, and institutional programs including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Grants, Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loans, Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, state scholarships, and institutional need-based scholarship awards.
Verification is designed to ensure that the data provided on the application for financial aid is correct and complete. Students and their families may be asked to provide additional documentation through a Missing Information Request Process or to update their data to complete the verification process. Eligibility for aid may be recalculated based upon the verified data received. Federal regulations allow the institution to require an applicant to complete verification before processing Stafford Loan applications, crediting aid to the bill, or disbursing funds.
Review and Eligibility Certifications Required for All Applicants
The counselor must review all applications for accuracy and must document and resolve any conflicting information in the file. Examples of conflicting information include:  the reported number of people in the household on the FAFSA does not equal number of people listed in Drew’s family members information,  unexplained differences in reported home value/debt from prior year to current year, and  database mismatch messages on the Financial Needs Analysis Report or the Pell Grant Student Aid Report.
There also are several general eligibility requirements (set by federal/state regulation or institutional policy) that must be met in order to be eligible for financial assistance. To be eligible for aid, a student must:
- be at least half-time for some programs, full-time for others;
- be a citizen of the U.S., Trust Territories or an eligible non-citizen;
- not be in default on a federal loan nor owe a refund on a federal grant;
- be registered with Selective Service, if so required;
- document self-supporting/independent status if s/he does not meet the statutory definition of a self-supporting/independent student;
- be making satisfactory academic progress as defined by the institution (College/Grad/Theo Academic Standing Committee);
- not be in the fifth year of College studies unless an EOS student or originally enrolled as a transfer student who lost credits as a result of transferring to Drew, and
- have reported assets that fall within acceptable tolerance levels as described in the Office of Financial Assistance Policies and Procedures Manual (see your financial assistance counselor for details).
Other eligibility criteria are listed in the aid brochure, “Financing Your Drew Education,” the University Supplemental Forms, and the Financial Aid Award Agreement.
Applications Selected for Verification by USED Edits
Drew’s Office of Financial Assistance verifies all applicants who are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education edits. An applicant may be selected for the federal verification process through the Central Processing System (CPS), which performs need analysis computations, verification edits and national data base matches. If selected, the application must be verified by the counselor.
Documents Required for Verification
For each application selected, the counselor must review and verify the accuracy of selected data elements by collecting specific documentation and comparing actual data with the information reported on the need analysis document. Required documentation will be requested using the institutional Missing Information Request email.
The following documents must be submitted by an applicant selected for federal verification:
- IRS Tax Return Transcripts (or complete the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA) for base year to verify adjusted gross income, taxes paid, and some sources of untaxed income:
a. if dependent, both student’s/spouse’s and parents’ IRS Tax Return Transcript(s) (or IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA).
b. if independent, only student’s/spouse’s IRS Tax Return Transcript(s) (or IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA).
c. if student was deemed independent for the prior year (not based on the statutory definition of independence), the parents’ IRS Tax Return Transcript for base year is collected. The student also must submit a signed statement certifying that s/he was not claimed as an exemption by anyone other than a spouse during the base year. (The statement is on the Independent Verification Worksheet.) If claimed as an exemption by anyone other than a spouse, the student must be treated as dependent for future years.
d. if no tax return was filed, then the student/spouse/parent(s) must submit the Dependent/Independent Verification Worksheet stating this and list all sources of earnings received during the base year on this form.
- Verification Worksheet to verify household size, number in college, and untaxed income received during the base year. There are separate Verification Worksheets for Dependent and Independent students.
Students selected for verification must complete all verification requirements by the established deadlines for the type(s) of aid received in order to be eligible to receive financial assistance.
- Federal Pell Grant. A student who is eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant must have their FAFSA information on file in the Office of Financial Assistance no later than 12/18/15 (if enrolled for 2015/Fall only) or 5/11/16 (if enrolled for the 2015-2016 academic year or 2016/Spring only). If the student takes a leave of absence or withdraws, the initial FAFSA must be received by the student’s last date of attendance. The valid FAFSA information must be received by the Office of Financial Assistance by 6/30/16 or 60 days from the student’s last date of class attendance, whichever is earlier. (NOTE: If a reprocessed Federal Pell Grant Student Aid Report is received after the student has ceased to be enrolled but during the 60-day verification extension period, the reprocessed SAR may be used for payment only if it results in a lower Pell Grant award.)
- Campus-Based, Federal Direct Loan, State And Institutional Need-Based Awards. The deadline at Drew is 60 days following the student’s last day of enrollment on at least a half-time basis. Failure of a student to meet the deadline may result in the loss of financial assistance and/or referral to the U.S. Department of Education.
- The Reduction of Income Questionnaire may also be required. Download this form here.
- NJ State Grants: All information must be received by the Office of Financial Assistance at least 2 weeks prior to the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority’s (NJHESAA) deadlines for submitting data changes. The NJHESAA deadlines are 11/15/15 (for fall awards) and 3/15/16 (for spring awards).
- All Other Aid Programs: The Office of Financial Assistance asks that all requested documentation be received within 2 weeks of the date of the request. All requested documentation must be received no later than 60 days following your last day of enrollment on at least a half-time basis.
Corrections and Notification to Student
The counselor will notify the student about any information that must be corrected and about changes to the financial aid award package that result from verification. Notification will be provided if the corrected information will alter the eligibility for state grant aid. This office can send corrections electronically to the FAFSA processor. The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) will send a revised Student Eligibility Notice to the student if the award changes as a result of verification.
Corrections will be made to the need analysis information in our system and eligibility for financial aid will be recalculated. Appropriate changes will be submitted to United States Department of Education, CPS (Federal processor), and the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (i.e. State processor). Eligibility for all other aid programs will be recalculated by the Office of Financial Assistance and your financial aid package will be updated on TreeHouse if there are changes as a result of verification.
Consequences of Noncompliance with Deadlines
Your failure to provide the requested documentation within the specified time period may result in the following:
- denial of financial aid for a semester or academic year;
- future applications for financial aid not being processed;
- your financial aid application material being forwarded to the U.S. Department of Education for review.
More Information on Verification
Please contact your financial assistance counselor if you have any questions about verification.