Each year a random number of students are selected by the U.S. Department of Education for verification. The verification process requires the Financial Aid Office to confirm the data supplied by the student and/or parent(s) for accuracy and completeness. You will need to submit a verification worksheet along with financial and/or other documentation to verify the information reported on the FAFSA.
With the rise in identity theft, the U.S. Department of Education selects a random number of students to verify their identity and reaffirm federal aid awarded is being utilized for educational purposes. Students have the option of completing the verification worksheet in-person with a financial aid officer or with a notary. Students must present a valid federal or state issued identification at the time the statement is signed. If a student utilizes a notary, the original paperwork must be returned to the financial aid office along with a photocopy of the valid id used front and back. The verification process requires the Financial Aid Office to confirm the data supplied by the student and/or parent(s) for accuracy and completeness. You will need to submit a verification worksheet along with financial and/or other documentation to verify the information reported on the FAFSA.
Beginning with the 2024-25 award year, otherwise dependent students who indicate that they have unusual circumstances that prevent them from providing parent data will no longer receive a rejected FAFSA but will instead have their FAFSA processed with a provisional independent status. This will allow institutions to provide that student with an estimate of federal student aid eligibility. Aid administrators will then reach out for additional documentation to make a final determination whether these students should receive a dependency override.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education selects certain applicants for verification. The verification process requires the Financial Aid Office to confirm the data supplied by the student and/or parent(s) for accuracy and completeness. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, immediately submit all requested documentation to our office for review since timeliness is necessary for certain financial aid awards.
Your Student Aid Report (SAR) will indicate whether or not your file has been selected for verification. The SAR is typically accessed via a link sent to you by the Department of Education after you file your FAFSA. You will also receive a letter and/or email notification from the Financial Aid Office alerting you to what documentation you will be required to submit before your financial aid application is fully processed.
You need to reapply for aid each year using the FAFSA. Aid changes each year based upon changes in the family’s financial situation and changes in college expenses. Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards will also apply, along with the established renewal requirements for state and institutional aid.
The Office of Financial Aid is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term. The federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations.
If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term, the Office of Financial Aid recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV Funds formula:
Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.
Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:
Aid to be returned = (100 percent of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.
If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a balance to the institution.
If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student’s withdrawal.
The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the determination of the date of the student’s withdrawal.
It’s important to understand that the student and the parent may not share an FSA ID: Your FSA ID is your signature, so it has to be unique to you. If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child’s FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications, but each child must have his or her own. Please note: Each FSA ID user must have a unique mobile phone number and/or e-mail address.
The U.S, Department of Education (ED) stated, beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, all students and FAFSA contributors must create a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA username and password).If the contributor has an SSN, that SSN will be used to create the FSA ID. For a contributor without an SSN, there will be a knowledge-based match to validate/authenticate their identity. Guidance and instructions for using the updated FSA ID process will be forthcoming
“There are two alternative options for contributors to provide consent who do not want to or refuse to create an FSA ID. The first example would be the student applies using the paper FAFSA and obtains wet signatures from all contributors, including the parents who also affirm their consent. And the other option is the student completes their section and self-reports information for the parent section on the FAFSA. When the student submits their FAFSA without the parent signature, it will be placed in rejected status by the FPS [FAFSA Processing System]. The parent can then provide their signature and consent on a paper copy of the FAFSA Submission Summary. Now this method is not recommended due to complexity and increased processing time.”
If the contributor provides their signature and consent on a FAFSA Submission Summary, that Summary must be mailed to the FPS; it cannot be entered by the financial aid administrator
A contributor is anyone who is asked to provide information on an applicant’s FAFSA including:
The student’s spouse (if applicable);
A biological or adoptive parent; or
The spouse of the remarried parent who is on the FAFSA–the stepparent.
The new FAFSA is student driven, so that means the student’s answers on their section will determine who will be a contributor (in addition to the student). Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to complete the required portion of the FAFSA. Contributors will need to provide personal and financial information on their section of the FAFSA.
All contributors are required to have an FSA ID and to provide consent to have their federal tax information (FTI) transferred from the IRS, have their tax data used to determine the student’s eligibility for aid, and allow the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to share their tax information with institutions and state higher education agencies for the administration of Title IV aid. Consent is provided once for the award year and cannot be revoked in that award year. This consent is necessary even if the contributor does not have an SSN, did not file taxes, or filed taxes in another country.
Contributors cannot avoid providing consent by manually entering FTI on the FAFSA. If a student or spouse (if applicable) contributor does not provide consent, they will not be eligible for any Title IV aid. If a parent contributor refuses to provide consent, the student will be given the opportunity to indicate they would like to receive only a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
Effective with the 2024-25 award year, the parent of record on the FAFSA is noted below.
For divorced or separated parents, income and assets are reported for the parent who provides the most financial support over the 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA even if the student does not live with that parent or lives with the other parent.
If neither parent provided support in the 12-month period in #1, the parent of record is the parent who provided the greater portion of support during the most recent year that the student received financial support from a parent.
If both parents claim an equal amount of support, then the parent of record is the parent with the greater amount of income or assets.
Parents who live together
Parental income and assets in the case of student whose parents are married and not separated, or who are unmarried but live together, shall include the income and assets of both parents.
Divorced or separated parents
Parental income and assets for a student whose parents are divorced or separated, but not remarried, is determined by including only the income and assets of the parent who provides the greater portion of the student’s financial support.
Death of a parent
Parental income and assets in the case of the death of any parent is determined as follows:
(A) If either of the parents has died, the surviving parent shall be considered a single parent, until that parent has remarried.
(B) If both parents have died, the student shall not report any parental income or assets.
If a parent whose income and assets are taken into account and they have remarried the income of that parent’s spouse shall be included in determining the parent’s assessment of adjusted available income if the student’s parent and the stepparent are married as of the date the FAFSA is completed.
If a dependent student’s biological parents are unmarried and living together – both parents will be contributors and will need to provide consent. Both parents will be required to have separate FSA IDs.
If a dependent student’s biological parents are married to each other and filed their U.S. income tax return as Married Filing Jointly – only one parent is needed as a contributor
If a dependent student’s biological parents are married to each other and filed their U.S. income tax return separately – both parents will be considered contributors will need to provide consent. Both parents will be required to have separate FSA IDs.
If a dependent student’s biological parents are divorced and the contributor is remarried – the income of that parent’s spouse shall be included in determining the parent’s assessment of adjusted available income if the student’s parent and the stepparent are married as of the date of application for the award year concerned
If a dependent student’s biological parents are divorced or separated, the contributor will be the parent who provides the most financial support over the 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA even if the student does not live with that parent or lives with the other parent.
If neither parent provided support in the 12-month period, the contributor is the parent who provided the greater portion of support during the most recent year that the student received financial support from a parent.
If both parents claim an equal amount of support, then the parent of record is the parent with the greater amount of income or assets
If a dependent student’s biological parents are divorced and the contributor is remarried – the income of that parent’s spouse shall be included if the student’s parent and the stepparent are married as of the date of application for the award year concerned.
If an independent student is married and filed their U.S. income tax return as Married Filing Jointly – only the student needs to provide consent and have and FSA ID.
If an independent student is married and filed their U.S. income tax return separately – both individuals are contributors, must provide consent and both must have FSA IDs.
Starting with the 2024-25 award year, FAFSA contributors (student and spouse or parent/stepparent, as applicable) must give the U.S. Department of Education (ED) consent to retrieve federal tax information (FTI) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for purposes of determining a student’s eligibility for Title IV federal student aid whether or not a tax return was filed for the prior, prior year. If the student, spouse, or parent fails to provide consent, the student is not eligible for Title IV aid–no exceptions
In cases where an applicant or contributor files a foreign tax return or is not required to file a federal income tax return, they will be manually prompted to enter the data after the IRS verifies a tax return was not filed.
The definition of family size has changed to align with the number of individuals reported as dependents on the applicant’s (if independent) or applicant’s parents’ (if dependent) U.S. tax return. Applicants may update family size if it changes after filing the tax return.
The number of family members in college is no longer a factor in the need analysis.
Do not change the tax information entered on your FAFSA; however, you may submit documentation to the Concord University Financial Aid Office, and a professional judgment can be performed (form can be found here). Please keep in mind the following that may be considered.
The following conditions may be considered:
Loss of Employment/Reduction of Income
Death of Parent/Spouse
Reduction/Loss of Child Support
Healthcare and Dental Expenses Out of Pocket, Paid in Full
One-time Income Used for Essential Items
The following conditions generally may not be considered:
Loss of overtime or bonus
Bankruptcy, foreclosures or collection costs associated with outstanding debts
Consumer debt (credit cards, car payments, loans, etc.)
Payments on back taxes owed to the IRS
Debt forgiveness that reflects as income on a tax return
Lottery or gambling winnings or losses
One-time income used for non-life essential items (e.g. family vacation)