IONA

Verification Policies

Reviewing a student's file often involves more than just the verification process. In addition to verification, the aid administrator must review an applicant's file for database matches; reject codes, and "C" codes. The aid administrator must also review a student's file for other need analysis data elements that are not included in the federally required verification process but are designated as necessary verification data elements by the school. Schools must also review subsequent ISIR records for changes that may impact the applicant's aid eligibility. For these reasons, verification is considered under the broader process of file review. Applications are selected for verification either by the CPS or by the school.

It is Iona College's policy to verify all continuing students who are selected for verification before they are packaged for the upcoming award year. Freshman verification begins after they have enrolled for the upcoming academic year. All students, whether continuing or freshman, are verified before aid will be disbursed to their student accounts.

Applicants that are excluded from verification include, but are not limited to:

  • Applicants who die during award year (regardless of conflicting information).
  • Applicants who are legal residents (or dependents of parents who are legal residents) of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, or American Samoa.
  • Applicants who are citizens of (and dependents of parents who are citizens of) the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.
  • Incarcerated students.
  • Dependent students whose parents reside outside the United States and cannot be contacted by normal means of communication (exclusion is applicable to parental information only) calendar year of the award year.
  • An applicant whose parents' address is unknown and cannot be obtained (exclusion is applicable to parental information only).
  • A dependent applicant and both parents are deceased or physically or mentally incapacitated (exclusion is applicable to parental information only).
  • An applicant who will not receive Title IV assistance for reasons other than the applicant's failure to verify the information on the application.
  • Any other applicants excluded from verification by Iona.

Students who are dependents of their parents are required to submit a copy of your and/or your parents' IRS tax transcript for the prior year federal income tax returns. This year there is a link between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and your FAFSA information. Many families will be able to utilize a new IRS Data Retrieval Tool to allow the IRS to send your tax return data directly to the FAFSA. Not all families will have this option and there is no way to predetermine if you will be able to do this. However, based on answers you complete during the submission of your FASFA, you may be given this option and we recommend you use it if provided the opportunity. This option will become available by late January. You will want to file your taxes early in the season and before submitting the FAFSA in order to use this option.

If you are not able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or choose not to, your application will be selected by the Department of Education for verification of your FAFSA data. Both you and your parents will be required to obtain an official Tax Transcript of your 2012 tax return. The above process pertains to independent students as well.

Revised 10-2013

The required verification documentation must be submitted to the SFS Office within 2 weeks of notification by our office. If SFS does not receive the required documentation by the 4th week of the semester, a hold will be placed on the student's account which will prevent them from registering for upcoming terms. If documentation is not received by the 7th week of the term, all Federal aid will be cancelled. These students receive an email indicating their aid has changed. A bill will also be emailed to the student's Iona email reflecting the new balance due to Iona College.

Acceptable documentation and forms required for verification are listed below. Additional documentation may be requested.

  • Federal Verification worksheets are listed on Iona's website. Dependent students must complete the Federal Dependent Verification Worksheet while independent students must complete the Federal Independent Verification Worksheet.
  • IRS tax transcript available from the IRS website. Make sure to include your student id on the form. Please be aware that you may only request 1 copy of the tax transcript per year, so please make a copy for your records.
  • The term "untaxed income" means any income excluded from federal income taxation under IRS code. In addition to the untaxed income listed below, SFS is required to verify all other untaxed income reported on the tax returns. Untaxed income documentation (e.g., letters from the Social Security Administration to verify social security benefits, W-2 forms for contributions to retirement plans, etc. or a signed statement by the student (and parent/or spouse certifying that the amount of untaxed income reported on the application is correct.)
  • Dependent students must make sure they signed the verification worksheet as well as one parent. Independent students must sign the Independent Worksheet. If married, the spouse must also sign the form.

Below is the process by which Iona College assigns and collects the required documents for the verification process:

  • New students to Iona College are sent letters requesting the missing documentation. These are run on a bi-weekly basis starting in May.
  • Continuing students receive an email to their Iona College email account requesting the missing documentation beginning in February-March.
  • The required documents for verification are manually updated on our peoplesoft system. A checklist is assigned by the system for all students who are selected for verification when an ISIR is loaded. As the documents are received, the checklists are updated accordingly. Each item on the Checklists would be considered Completed. If there is still documentation missing or incomplete, the item would be considered Initiated. (see appendix) As documents are received, the verification counselor reviews the ISIR data against the documents submitted.
  • If the data is accurate then the student is coded as "Completed and Accurate" on the packaging status summary panel (see appendix 2) on peoplesoft. If ISIR data needs correcting, the corrections are made and student is coded as "Completed and Reprocessed" on the packaging status panel on peoplesoft.
  • If additional documentation is still needed or questions arise, the student is requested to see the verification counselor to resolve any discrepancy.
  • Depending on the time of year, either another missing information letter is sent or the student is sent an email to their Iona College email account.
  • Iona College has a "Verification Counselor" whose main responsibilities are verification. Even though Iona has a designated verification counselor, all counselors can and do handle verification.

Data Elements to be Verified

  • Adjusted gross income (AGI)
  • U.S. taxes paid
  • Household size
  • Number of family members enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution
  • Untaxed income
  • Any institutionally selected data elements

Certain data elements may be excluded from verification, such as:

  • Household size or number in college does not have to be verified if output document is received within 90 days of applicant/parent signing it.
  • Number of family members in the household or the amount of child support reported by an applicant selected for verification does not need to be verified or it is the same as that verified by the institution in the previous award year.
  • Enrollment of family members at least half-time in postsecondary educational institutions does not have to be verified if they are enrolled at the same institution as the applicant, and the institution verifies their enrollment status from its own records.
  • Untaxed income and benefits need not be verified if the applicant or the applicant's spouse or, in the case of a dependent student, the applicant's parents receive untaxed income or benefits from a federal, state, or local government agency determining their eligibility for that income or those benefits by means of a financial needs test.

Conflicting & Inaccurate Information

In addition to reviewing application and data match information from the CPS, Iona must resolve any other conflicting information, regardless of the source and regardless of whether the student is selected for verification. If we have conflicting information concerning a student's eligibility or any reason to believe a student's application information is incorrect, we must resolve the discrepancies before disbursing FSA funds. If we discover discrepancies after disbursing FSA funds, we must still reconcile the conflicting information and take appropriate action under the specific program requirements. Conflicting information could be but is not limited to the following:

  • We review all subsequent transactions for a student for the entire processing year, even if we have already verified an earlier transaction.
  • Discrepant tax data.

If Iona suspects that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain federal funds, we report our suspicions and provide any Evidence to the Office of Inspector General.

Once a student has completed the Federal Verification Process, an email generated through the Completed Verification Communication is sent in a bulk file, bi-weekly, to acknowledge and confirm the completion of verification to the student's Iona email address.

Revised 05-18-2012

Reviewing a student's file often involves more than just the verification process. In addition to verification, the aid administrator must review an applicant's file for database matches; reject codes, and "C" codes. The aid administrator must also review a student's file for other need analysis data elements that are not included in the federally required verification process but are designated as necessary verification data elements by the school. Schools must also review subsequent ISIR records for changes that may impact the applicant's aid eligibility. For these reasons, verification is considered under the broader process of file review. Applications are selected for verification either by the CPS or by the school.

It is Iona College's policy to verify all continuing students who are selected for verification before they are packaged for the upcoming award year. Freshman verification begins after they have enrolled for the upcoming academic year. All students, whether continuing or freshman, are verified before aid will be disbursed to their student accounts.

Applicants that are excluded from verification include, but are not limited to:

  • Applicants who die during award year (regardless of conflicting information).
  • Applicants who are legal residents (or dependents of parents who are legal residents) of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, or American Samoa.
  • Applicants who are citizens of (and dependents of parents who are citizens of) the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.
  • Incarcerated students.
  • Dependent students whose parents reside outside the United States and cannot be contacted by normal means of communication (exclusion is applicable to parental information only) calendar year of the award year.
  • An applicant whose parents' address is unknown and cannot be obtained (exclusion is applicable to parental information only).
  • A dependent applicant and both parents are deceased or physically or mentally incapacitated (exclusion is applicable to parental information only).
  • An applicant who will not receive Title IV assistance for reasons other than the applicant's failure to verify the information on the application.
  • Any other applicants excluded from verification by Iona.

Students who are dependents of their parents are required to submit a copy of your and/or your parents' IRS tax transcript for the prior year federal income tax returns. This year there is a link between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and your FAFSA information. Many families will be able to utilize a new IRS Data Retrieval Tool to allow the IRS to send your tax return data directly to the FAFSA. Not all families will have this option and there is no way to predetermine if you will be able to do this. However, based on answers you complete during the submission of your FASFA, you may be given this option and we recommend you use it if provided the opportunity. This option will become available by late January. You will want to file your taxes early in the season and before submitting the FAFSA in order to use this option.

If you are not able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or choose not to, your application will be selected by the Department of Education for verification of your FAFSA data. Both you and your parents will be required to obtain an official Tax Transcript of your 2011 tax return. The above process pertains to independent students as well.

The required verification documentation must be submitted to the SFS Office within 2 weeks of notification by our office. If SFS does not receive the required documentation by the 4th week of the semester, a hold will be placed on the student's account which will prevent them from registering for upcoming terms. If documentation is not received by the 7th week of the term, all Federal aid will be cancelled. These students receive an email indicating their aid has changed. A bill will also be emailed to the student's Iona email reflecting the new balance due to Iona College.

Acceptable documentation and forms required for verification are listed below. Additional documentation may be requested.

  • Federal Verification worksheets are listed on Iona's website. Dependent students must complete the Federal Dependent Verification Worksheet while independent students must complete the Federal Independent Verification Worksheet.
  • IRS tax transcript available from the IRS website. Make sure to include your student id on the form. Please be aware that you may only request 1 copy of the tax transcript per year, so please make a copy for your records.
  • The term"untaxed income"means any income excluded from federal income taxation under IRS code. In addition to the untaxed income listed below, SFS is required to verify all other untaxed income reported on the tax returns. Untaxed income documentation (e.g., letters from the Social Security Administration to verify social security benefits, W-2 forms for contributions to retirement plans, etc. or a signed statement by the student (and parent/or spouse certifying that the amount of untaxed income reported on the application is correct.)
  • Dependent students must make sure they signed the verification worksheet as well as one parent. Independent students must sign the Independent Worksheet. If married, the spouse must also sign the form.

Below is the process by which Iona College assigns and collects the required documents for the verification process:

  • New students to Iona College are sent letters requesting the missing documentation. These are run on a bi-weekly basis starting in May.
  • Continuing students receive an email to their Iona College email account requesting the missing documentation beginning in February-March.
  • The required documents for verification are manually updated on our peoplesoft system. A checklist is assigned by the system for all students who are selected for verification when an ISIR is loaded. As the documents are received, the checklists are updated accordingly. Each item on the Checklists would be considered Completed. If there is still documentation missing or incomplete, the item would be considered Initiated. (see appendix) As documents are received, the verification counselor reviews the ISIR data against the documents submitted.
  • If the data is accurate then the student is coded as "Completed and Accurate" on the packaging status summary panel (see appendix 2) on peoplesoft. If ISIR data needs correcting, the corrections are made and student is coded as "Completed and Reprocessed" on the packaging status panel on peoplesoft.
  • If additional documentation is still needed or questions arise, the student is requested to see the verification counselor to resolve any discrepancy.
  • Depending on the time of year, either another missing information letter is sent or the student is sent an email to their Iona College email account.
  • Iona College has a "Verification Counselor" whose main responsibilities are verification. Even though Iona has a designated verification counselor, all counselors can and do handle verification.

Data Elements to be Verified

  • Adjusted gross income (AGI)
  • U.S. taxes paid
  • Household size
  • Number of family members enrolled in a postsecondary educational institution
  • Untaxed income
  • Any institutionally selected data elements

Certain data elements may be excluded from verification, such as:

  • Household size or number in college does not have to be verified if output document is received within 90 days of applicant/parent signing it.
  • Number of family members in the household or the amount of child support reported by an applicant selected for verification does not need to be verified or it is the same as that verified by the institution in the previous award year.
  • Enrollment of family members at least half-time in postsecondary educational institutions does not have to be verified if they are enrolled at the same institution as the applicant, and the institution verifies their enrollment status from its own records.
  • Untaxed income and benefits need not be verified if the applicant or the applicant's spouse or, in the case of a dependent student, the applicant's parents receive untaxed income or benefits from a federal, state, or local government agency determining their eligibility for that income or those benefits by means of a financial needs test.

Conflicting & Inaccurate Information

In addition to reviewing application and data match information from the CPS, Iona must resolve any other conflicting information, regardless of the source and regardless of whether the student is selected for verification. If we have conflicting information concerning a student's eligibility or any reason to believe a student's application information is incorrect, we must resolve the discrepancies before disbursing FSA funds. If we discover discrepancies after disbursing FSA funds, we must still reconcile the conflicting information and take appropriate action under the specific program requirements. Conflicting information could be but is not limited to the following:

  • We review all subsequent transactions for a student for the entire processing year, even if we have already verified an earlier transaction.
  • Discrepant tax data.

If Iona suspects that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain federal funds, we report our suspicions and provide any Evidence to the Office of Inspector General.

Once a student has completed the Federal Verification Process, an email generated through the Completed Verification Communication is sent in a bulk file, bi-weekly, to acknowledge and confirm the completion of verification to the student's Iona email address.