Verification Process for Applicants Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Federal verification is a process whereby institutions are required by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to verify the accuracy of information provided on a student’s FAFSA in an effort to assure federal aid is awarded to those who are eligible. Approximately 30% of FAFSA applications are selected by the federal processor for verification each year. Sinclair may also select any application for federal financial assistance for verification that the college believes is incorrect or has conflicting information.

For the 2014–2015 award year, the FAFSA information selected by DOE that an institution and an applicant and, if appropriate, the applicant’s parent(s) or spouse may be required to verify are:

  • Adjusted Gross Income
  • U.S. Income Tax Paid
  • Untaxed Portions of Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Distributions
  • Untaxed Portions of Pensions
  • IRA Deductions and Payments
  • Tax Exempt Interest Income
  • Other Untaxed Income
    1. Payments to tax-deferred pension and savings
    2. Child support received
    3. Housing, food and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy and others
    4. Veterans non-education benefits
    5. Other untaxed income
    6. Money received or paid on the applicant’s behalf
  • Education Credits
  • Income Earned from Work
  • Number of Household Members
  • Number of Household Members in College
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Food Stamps)
  • Child Support Paid
  • High School Completion Status
  • Identity/Statement of Education Purpose

Please note that Sinclair may select FAFSA items for verification beyond the items required by DOE. Students will receive notification that they have been selected for verification via their my.sinclair.edu email account. The email will specify the actions required by the applicant and the documents (if any) required for verification that must be submitted to Sinclair to complete the verification process. The applicant also receives a FAFSA processing e-mail notification from the DOE. This email states that their FAFSA was processed and a Student Aid Report (SAR) was generated that indicates their eligibility status and notifies them if they were selected for verification.

If the Department of Education or Sinclair selects an applicant for verification under this policy, the applicant must complete the required actions specified or provide the requested documents or information. Applicants are advised to complete the required actions or submit copies of the requested documents within 14 days of the request made by the Financial Aid & Scholarships office. However, the Federal deadline for submitting verification documents is 120 days from the applicant’s last date of attendance or the federal deadline, which is September 27th, 2014, whichever is earlier. This includes making any necessary corrections, submitting those corrections to the Central Processing System and submitting the new corrected Student Aid Report (SAR) to Sinclair.

The following consequences occur for applicants who fail to complete verification in a timely manner:

  • Applicants who do not complete verification within the required deadlines will not qualify for federal financial aid.
  • No federal grant or loan funds will be disbursed.
  • No federal financial aid loan will be originated.
  • If a loan was originated prior to the notice of verification, any undisbursed monies will be returned to the DOE.
  • Student employment in a Federal Work Study job will be terminated.
  • If federal grant funds were disbursed prior to being selected for verification and there was an overpayment, the monies must be returned to the appropriate federal grant programs.
  • Federal financial aid will not be disbursed, and refunds, if any, will not be available until verification is completed and corrections (if necessary) have been processed and received at Sinclair from the DOE.

The Financial Aid & Scholarships office is required to review each applicant’s student information reported to the school from the completed FAFSA for conflicting information. This review ensures that any conflicting information affecting a financial aid applicant’s eligibility are identified and resolved. Federal financial aid will not be awarded or disbursed if there are unresolved discrepancies.

Federal financial aid awards are based on the information provided on the applicant’s FAFSA. Federal Programs such as the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, Federal Perkins Loan and the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan Program have strict eligibility requirements. If the data reported on verification documents differs from the information reported on the applicant’s FAFSA, the applicant’s eligibility for funding from these programs may be affected.

Sinclair will report applicants to the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education after review, if any credible information indicates that the applicant engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with their application for federal student aid.

To obtain a copy of a Tax Return Transcript, go to www.irs.gov and click on “Get Transcript for Your Tax Records.” Then click on the button to either “Get Transcript ONLINE” or “Get Transcript by MAIL.” Once the applicant creates an account, they may order their transcript online for immediate review or via U.S. mail services. The applicant may also call the IRS Transcript Order line at 800-908-9946 or submit a Form 4506-T. This form is available at the Financial Aid & Scholarships office. The IRS Tax Return Transcript and not the IRS Tax Account Transcript should be requested when ordering via the telephone or by Form 4506-T.

Please see a Sinclair Financial Aid Officer for additional information or for a copy of the full Verification Policy.