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Financial Aid Verification

Overview

Each year, the Central Processing System (CPS) will randomly select a portion of all aid applications for the verification process.  The selection process is controlled by the Federal Government and is random.  In addition, each school has the authority to select other aid applications for verification if there is reason to believe errors have been made.  Once an application has been selected, the process must be completed prior to aid disbursement.

Authority for the school to collect any necessary verification information is provided through the FAFSA signature process.  By signing the FAFSA, students and/or parents "agree, if asked, to provide information that will verify the accuracy of your completed form.  This information may include U.S. or state income tax forms that you filed or are required to file." (Application and Verification Guide, USDOE)

Notification Process

Students selected for the verification process will be notified in two ways:

1.  Following FAFSA processing, each student is provided with a Student Aid Report (SAR).  The SAR for selected applications will include the following comment:

"Your FAFSA has been selected for a review process called verification.  Your school has the authority to request copies of certain financial documents from you and your parent(s)/spouse."

2.  Students selected for verification will also receive an official notification and request letter from the SUNY ESF Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.  This letter will alert the student of his or her selection status and specify the requested information.

Verification Results

In most cases, the school will automatically correct any errors found during the verification process.  Students will be notified of these changes with a new Student Aid Report (SAR), which will be created at the time corrections are made.  If verification corrections result in a change to the student's financial aid package, SUNY ESF will send an amended Financial Aid Notification E-Mail with the updated information.

If the school finds evidence of any intentional discrepancies in a student's application data, it may refer the file to the United States Department of Education for further review.  This step could result in legal action against the student, spouse, and/or parent(s).

Required Information

Different information will be requested based on each student's dependency status and verification tracking group, as determined by federal regulations.  The Student Aid Report (SAR) will identify each student as either dependent or independent and specify the tracking group.  Please note that dependency status is not a choice for the student.

Dependent Students

Dependent students who are selected for verification will need to complete the following steps:

1.  Students and parents who filed 2015 federal taxes - Verify Tax Data (use ONE of the following two options):

a. Complete the IRS Data Retrieval Process for the student and the parent(s) - this can be completed through the option to submit a FAFSA correction at http://www.fafsa.gov
b. Submit a signed 2015 IRS Tax Return Transcript for the student and the parent(s) - these can be obtained online at http://www.irs.gov or by phone at 1-800-908-9946 or 1-800-829-1040

2.  Students and parents who did not file 2015 federal taxes - Provide proof of income from work and proof of non-filing status (complete BOTH of the following two steps):

a. If either the student or the parent(s) are not required to file a federal tax return but had income from work in 2015, copies of all 2015 W-2 and other income statements must be submitted.
b. If either the student or the parent(s) are not required to file a federal tax return, proof of non-filing status must be submitted.  This can be done by submitting an IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter, available online through the IRS Get Transcript service.  If unable to use the online service, non-filers will need to complete Form 4506-T with box 7 checked and mail it to the IRS.  

3.  Submit a fully completed and signed verification worksheet.  If unsure of your verification tracking group please contact the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships:

a. 2017-2018 Dependent Student Verification Worksheet - Group 1 (most students)
b. 2017-2018 Dependent Student Verification Worksheet - Group 4
c. 2017-2018 Dependent Student Verification Worksheet - Group 5

Independent Students

Independent students who are selected for verification will need to complete the following steps:

1.  Students and spouses (if married) who filed 2015 federal taxes - Verify Tax Data (use ONE of the following two options):

a. Complete the IRS Data Retrieval Process for the student and spouse (if married) - this can be completed through the option to submit a FAFSA correction at http://www.fafsa.gov
b. Submit a signed 2015 IRS Tax Return Transcript for the student and spouse (if married) - these can be obtained online at http://www.irs.gov or by phone at 1-800-908-9946 or 1-800-829-1040

2.  Students and spouses (if married) who did not file 2015 federal taxes - Provide proof of income from work and proof of non-filing status (complete BOTH of the following two steps):

a. If either the student or the spouse (if married) are not required to file a federal tax return but had income from work in 2015, copies of all 2015 W-2 and other income statements must be submitted.
b. If either the student or the spouse (if married) are not required to file a federal tax return, proof of non-filing status must be submitted.  This can be done by submitting an IRS Verification of Non-filing Letter, available online through the IRS Get Transcript service.  If unable to use the online service, non-filers will need to complete Form 4506-T with box 7 checked and mail it to the IRS.  

3.  Submit a fully completed and signed verification worksheet.  If unsure of your verification tracking group please contact the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships:

a. 2017-2018 Independent Student Verification Worksheet - Group 1 (most students)
b. 2017-2018 Independent Student Verification Worksheet - Group 4
c. 2017-2018 Independent Student Verification Worksheet - Group 5

Last updated on January 27, 2017

Contact Information

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
113 Bray Hall
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 470-6706
(315) 470-4734 (Fax)
finaid@esf.edu

Important Codes

SUNY-ESF Federal School Code: 002851

SUNY-ESF TAP Codes:
 · Undergraduate-0950
 · Graduate-5555

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