Verification is the process of evaluating the accuracy of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S Department of Education (ED) selects a percentage of FAFSA applications for verification each year. The University of Southern Indiana (USI) also reserves the right to select additional students for verification.
Applicants selected for verification cannot receive Federal or State Financial Assistance until the verification process is completed. If you are selected for verification after aid has been disbursed, certain types of aid such as the Pell Grant will be returned to ED until verification has been completed.
Applicants are initially notified of their selection for verification by ED on the Student Aid Report (SAR). Students are notified by USI primarily through the myUSI portal. Instructions for checking myUSI may be found online at www.usi.edu/finaid/Handouts/myusi.pdf. In addition, the Office of Student Financial Assistance sends letters and e-mails beginning in March/April to remind students of their responsibility.
For the 2012-2013 award year, students are required to complete a 2012-2013 Verification Worksheet and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on FAFSA on the Web to transfer 2011 tax information to the FAFSA. Applicants who are selected for verification and do not or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval option or who retrieve IRS data but change it will be required to provide an IRS Tax Return Transcript (obtained directly from the IRS) to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Do NOT submit personal copies of Federal Tax Returns. For more information on 2012-2013 Verification Materials visit www.usi.edu/finaid/handouts/1213verifaq.pdf.
Beginning with the 2013-2014 award year ED is customizing verification; therefore, not all students selected for verification will have the same requirements. You will need to check myUSI to see what requirements are specific to you.
For more information about Acceptable Tax Documentation visit www.usi.edu/finaid/taxes.asp.
For FAFSA and Verification, "Parent" refers to a biological or adoptive parent. Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older siblings, and aunts or uncles are not considered your parents unless they have legally adopted you. In case of divorce or separation, give information about the parent you lived with most in the last 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give information about the parent who provided you the most financial support during the last 12 months or during the most recent year you received support. If your divorced or widowed parent has remarried, also provide information about your stepparent.
To expedite your financial aid application, you should respond IMMEDIATELY. If all required documentation has not been received by our office at least two weeks before the end of the semester, certain financial assistance will be canceled. Please note that returning only a part of the required documents will not prevent your aid from being canceled if the due date passes. Only some types of Financial Assistance can be reinstated after the semester ends. Processing times vary, but during peak times of the year such as July and August processing may take up to 8 weeks or more.
Please remember that Federal and State Financial Assistance cannot be disbursed until this process has been completed. Failure to complete verification within the required time frame will result in reduction or cancellation of State and Federal financial assistance.
Once all requested verification documents have been received, USI will compare your documents to your FAFSA. If discrepancies are found, USI will make the necessary corrections to the FAFSA and it will be resubmitted electronically to ED for processing. Note: We are required to address any conflicting information; therefore, if there is conflicting information on any of the worksheets they may be sent back to you for confirmation and/or additional documentation may be requested.
If verification results in discrepancies that require a correction to the FAFSA, you will receive an updated Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR will detail the items that were corrected and it will provide a recalculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You will need to check myUSI for updated award information.
Most FAFSA items cannot be changed after Verification has been completed. After the verification process has begun, it is best to work directly with the Student Financial Assistance Office to make corrections.
Students who purposely give false or misleading information on any of the verification documentation may be fined, sentenced to jail, or both. In cases where intent to commit fraud to obtain federal funds is suspected, USI will refer the case to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General for review and resolution. No further processing of financial aid will occur until the case has been resolved.