Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid Verification Policy
Verification is a federal review process required to confirm the accuracy of information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). NAU’s philosophy is that financial aid should be accurately awarded to students based on their need. To this end, under the auspices of the Department of Education, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) strives to administer efficient application and verification processes to ensure accuracy and integrity in determining eligibility for students and the awarding of funds.
Please note that the information below is specific to students selected for verification for the 2019-2020 aid year. If a student is selected for verification for the 2018-2019 aid year, they will be asked to submit documents for the 2016 tax year.
Verification documents Accordion Closed
Students selected for 2019-2020 verification are required to submit any combination of the following, with each student’s specific requirements listed on the LOUIE To-Do List:
- Verification form (Blue, Gold, or Sage)
(Go here to determine if you are dependent or independent for purposes of the FAFSA.)
- Student 2017 tax return transcript (and tax account transcript if an amended return was filed)
- If you are unable to obtain a tax transcript, a signed tax return is acceptable
- Student W2(s)
- Parent 2017 tax return transcript (and tax account transcript if an amended return was filed)
- If you are unable to obtain a tax transcript, a signed tax return is acceptable
- Parent W2(s)
- Verification of Non-Filing Letter (VONF) – parents and independent students only
Tax return transcripts are different from copies of a federal tax return; transcripts are an official record of the information on file with the IRS. Tax return transcripts and Verification of Non-Filing must be obtained from the IRS through one of the following methods:
- Get Transcript Online – Go to www.irs.gov, click “Get My Tax Record.” Click “Get Transcript Online.” Create an online account or log in with your current account. Make sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and NOT the “IRS Tax Account Transcript.”
- Get Transcript by Mail – Go to www.irs.gov, click “Get My Tax Record.” Click “Get Transcript by Mail.” Provide your SSN, Date of Birth, and Street Address. Make sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and NOT the “IRS Tax Account Transcript.”
- Automated Telephone Request – 1-800-908-9946
- Paper Request Form – IRS Form 4506T-EZ (for Individual Tax Return Transcript) or IRS 4506-T (for Tax Return Transcript, Verification of Non-Filing, or W2s)
Tax return transcripts are preferred, however, if you are unable to obtain, a signed tax return will suffice.
Verification documents should be submitted in one submission to OSFA via email (preferred) at email@example.com, mail, or in-person. Incomplete documents will not be processed and will be shredded for security purposes.
Process Accordion Closed
1. The Department of Education selects students for verification; once NAU receives students’ FAFSAs, OSFA updates their respective LOUIE To-Do Lists with items they must submit to OSFA. Students receive an email and a letter with this information. They will also receive reminder notifications every two weeks.
Selection: Not all students are selected for verification, nor are the same students selected each year. Students may never be selected, may be selected only one year, or may be selected every year. This is out of NAU’s control.
Professional judgment: NAU is mandated to complete verification for a selected student before exercising professional judgment to adjust any values that are used to calculate the EFC, i.e. before reviewing a student/parent contribution appeal. However, making a professional judgment does not require OSFA to verify an application that is not selected.
Throughout the verification process OSFA staff may find that additional information is required beyond what was previously requested. This new request will be emailed to the student and added to his/her LOUIE To Do List.
2. OSFA requests that students submit the necessary documentation (listed above) within 30 days of receipt of the first notification. Once received, documents can take up to 10 business days to be logged to a student’s account. This is especially true during peak times.
Submission deadline: Students must submit all verification documents by the earlier of 120 days after the last day of enrollment or by the deadline published in the Federal Register (generally mid-September following the end of the aid year). Verification is considered complete when all requested documentation has been received, all errors corrected, and a valid FAFSA/ISIR is on file. If required verification documentation is not submitted by the deadline, the student will not be eligible for any Title IV aid for the period of time the FAFSA was used to determine eligibility.
Late disbursement: Once a student is no longer enrolled, the student may still submit verification documentation (by the deadline above) and receive a late disbursement if, during the period of enrollment, the U.S. Department of Education had processed a FAFSA with an official Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If the EFC changes based on the documentation received, any Pell Grant award will be based on the higher EFC. Pell Grant recipients are subject to certain Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) restrictions.
3. Once all verification documents are received, NAU will review each student’s file in the order in which it was completed. The verification process can take up to 15 business days. If corrections to the FAFSA must be made, a final file will come back from the Department of Education within 10 business days. Students will receive an email if corrections result in a change to the EFC.
4. Once the FAFSA is finalized, awarding and disbursement can take place.
Awarding for incoming freshmen: Incoming freshmen may be awarded prior to the completion of the verification process. Awards will post to their LOUIE accounts but will not disburse the following August until verification is complete. Awarding begins in December for the following academic year and continues every Friday. Once verification is complete, awards may be adjusted depending on corrections made to each student’s file. Students will receive an automated email if changes were made to their awards on LOUIE.
Awarding for transfers and continuing students: Transfer will be awarded starting in early spring and continuing students will be awarded in early-to-mid June, after spring grades post and after verification is complete.
5. Disbursement of funds occurs no sooner than 10 days before the start of each term. Disbursements are never made until verification is complete.
Unusual circumstances Accordion Closed
Tax filing extension
An individual who is required to file a 2017 IRS income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, must provide:
- A copy of IRS Form 4868, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,” that was filed with the IRS for tax year 2017;
- A copy of the IRS’s approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time for tax year 2017;
- Verification of Non-filing Letter (confirmation that the tax return has not yet been filed) from the IRS or other relevant tax authority dated on or after October 1, 2018;
- A copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 2017; and
- If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the U.S. income tax paid for tax year 2017.
An individual who was the victim of IRS tax-related identity theft must provide:
- A Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript obtained from the IRS, or any other IRS tax transcript(s) that includes all of the income and tax information required to be verified; and
- A statement signed and dated by the tax filer indicating that he or she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS is aware of the tax-related identity theft.
Non-IRS income tax returns
Many students and parents have tax returns from U.S. territories or foreign countries.
- A tax filer who filed an income tax return with Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands may provide a signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority. However, if the accuracy of the information on the signed copy of the income tax return is questioned, the tax filer must provide OSFA with a copy of the tax account information issued by the relevant tax authority before verification can be completed.
- A tax filer who filed an income tax return with the tax authority for American Samoa must provide a copy of his or her tax account information.
- A tax filer who filed an income tax return with tax authorities not mentioned above, i.e. a foreign tax authority, and who indicates that he or she is unable to obtain the tax account information free of charge, must provide documentation that the tax authority charges a fee to obtain that information, along with a signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority.