What is verification?
Each year the federal government and/or UMass Dartmouth Financial Aid Services randomly selects financial aid recipients for verification. The verification process requires that we review the information reported on the FAFSA and check for accuracy against documentation you provide to our office.
The U.S. Department of Education has moved towards a more individualized verification process where only certain elements of verification are performed on particular students. This means that UMass Dartmouth may not require the same documentation from each student selected for verification.
If you are selected for verification, you will be asked to submit a verification worksheet (available on our website under the forms section) and may also need to provide copies of Federal Return Transcripts (see the IRS Data Retrieval Tool section below) and W-2 forms. You should not submit tax return or other verification documentation unless it is requested by Financial Aid Services.
How will I be notified?
- Newly admitted students will be notified by mail via a missing information letter. In addition, required items may be viewed on your To Do list via www.umassd.edu/undergraduate/ Select Check Admissions Status from the left menu. Log in then select View Financial Aid.
- Current students will be notified through your UMD email account. In addition, you will see your required verification items under your “To Do” list in COIN.
How does using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool ease verification requirements?
In most cases, if you or your parents (if a dependent student) have utilized the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing your FAFSA, we will no longer require a copy of your Federal Return Transcript. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool helps streamline the FAFSA by allowing tax filers to pull specific tax return data directly from the IRS into the FAFSA. The retrieval tool saves you time and increases the accuracy of your FAFSA information.
If at the time you filed your initial FAFSA, you or your parents (if dependent student) had not yet filed a Federal Tax Return, you should update your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool once your tax return has been filed with the IRS.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool cannot be used until you and/or your parents have filed taxes.
- Electronically filed tax return information will be available online from the IRS site within 2-3 weeks after the return has been filed.
- Data from paper tax returns will be available in 6-8 weeks.
You are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if:
- You did not file a federal tax return .
- You filed an amended federal tax return.
- Your marital status changed after December 31st.
- Your federal tax return filing status is "married filing separately".
- You filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
- You filed a tax return using a Tax ID Number.
- You applied for a Federal IRS Tax Filing Extension.
- Your home address on the FAFSA does not match the address on the tax return.
For more information about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please visit www.fafsa.ed.gov
What if a student or parent filed for a tax return extension?
- An institution may not delay completing verification for an applicant when a tax filing extension has been granted by the IRS. The income and tax verification regulatory requirements are met if a tax filer who has been granted a filing extension by the IRS provides the institution with a copy of IRS Form 4868 and a copy of IRS Form W–2 for each source of employment income received for the tax year; and if self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the AGI and the U.S. income tax paid for the tax year.
- A student and/or parent who has filed a tax return extension and who submits the appropriate documentation to the financial aid office will receive an estimated financial aid award. However, funds will not be disbursed until after the tax return is filed, and the filer either uses the IRS DRT on the FAFSA, or submits an IRS Tax Return Transcript. If the required documentation is not submitted by the established institutional deadline of December 5th, any federal, state, or institutional aid previously received for that award year must be returned by the student and no additional subsidized student financial assistance may be disbursed for that award year.
What are the deadlines?
Verification documents should be submitted as soon after notification as possible or at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the semester. In addition:
- For Pell Grant recipients, all verification documents, along with a verified SAR or ISIR must be received no later than the earlier of 120 days after the student's last day of enrollment in the award year or by September 23, 2015 (for 2014-15 award year) or September 16, 2016 (for 2015-2016 award year).
- For Direct Loan and other various financial aid program recipients, all verification documents, along with a verified SAR or ISIR must be received ten business days prior to the last day of the student’s enrollment.
There are negative consequences resulting from failure to complete verification within a timely manner including limited funding availability. Our goal is to help you to avoid these consequences. Verification regulations require the following:
- Verification may result in FAFSA corrections that change your award amounts and the amount you owe.
- Estimated financial aid awards may be removed if verification is not completed within specified deadlines.
- Financial aid funds will not be applied as payment to your student account or disbursed to you until the verification process is completed.
What happens after all verification material has been submitted?
Depending on the time of year, a financial aid award notice may be sent to prospective students pending verification. Financial Aid Services has the right after reviewing verification information to change or cancel an award based on the information provided. If verification results in changes to an applicant's financial aid eligibility, a revised award notice will be mailed to the permanent address and/or sent to the student's UMass Dartmouth email address.
Please keep in mind that due to heavy volume in the summer and early fall, there may be a delay in the review of verification materials submitted.
What happens if the school suspects fraud?
Individuals who have purposely misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain financial aid funds will be reported to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General.