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Verification

7.1.1 Selection of Applicants to be Verified

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Each year, the Department of Education (DOE) selects applications for the verification process. The selection is performed by the Central Processing System (CPS) and 100 percent of the federally-selected applications must be verified if the applicant wishes to receive Federal Financial Aid. The Federal Student Aid Handbook includes detailed information on acceptable documentation required for applicant verification.

Florida Tech's policy is to complete verification prior to disbursement of any Federal Student Aid and other need based state and institutional aid. While the institution is permitted to self-select applications for verification, Florida Tech verifies only those applications selected by DOE.

Florida Tech online and continuing main campus students must complete verification before their financial aid award can be posted. New main campus students will have an estimated award posted to their account; however, the award is subject to change pending any FAFSA corrections required by the verification process. No aid will disburse for any student, main campus or online, until verification has been completed and the updated ISIR has been received from CPS. Verification can be completed at any time during the aid year; however, late disbursement rules may apply for students who withdraw or have a break in enrollment prior to verification completion.

The DOE excludes a select few applicants from verification. Absent conflicting information, the entire application (both student and parent data) may be excluded under the following circumstances:

Applicants who die during the award year (regardless of conflicting information)

Applicants who will not receive Title IV aid for reasons other than failure to complete verification

Applicants who are only eligible to receive unsubsidized Title IV student financial assistance-Direct Unsubsidized Loans, parent or graduate PLUS Loans, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants (IASGs)

Transfer students who completed verification at the previous school and the current school obtains a letter from the previous school indicating verification was completed and the ISIR transaction of the verified application

Applicants who are selected for verification after they are no longer enrolled and all Title IV disbursements have been made (including late disbursements)

Parental data (but not student data) can be excluded from verification in the following circumstances:

Dependent student's parents when both parents reside outside the United States and cannot be contacted by normal means of communication

Applicant's parents when both parents cannot be located because their contact information is unknown Dependent applicant's parents when both parents are mentally incapacitated

An applicant's spousal information may be excluded when the spouse is deceased, mentally incapacitated, residing in a country other than the United States and cannot be contacted by normal means, or the spouse's contact information is unknown.

Modification and waiving of some statutory and regulatory provisions applies under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act applies to a select number of applicants. Eligible applicants include persons:

Serving on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency;

Performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency;

Residing or employed in an area declared a disaster area by any federal, state, or local official in connection with a national emergency; or

Who have suffered direct economic hardship as a direct result of a war, other military operation, or national emergency Florida Tech follows the guidance of GEN-17-08 when a federally declared disaster affects the awarding of aid.

Procedures

Selected applications are identified by the indicator flag on the applicant's ISIR. Should a student submit multiple applications and have a subsequent application selected for verification, verification must be completed before the student will be eligible for Federal Aid unless the student ceases to be enrolled at the university before the selected ISIR is received. All students who are selected for verification will have a requirement placed on their account that will not be cleared until verification is completed.

7.1.2 - Acceptable Documentation and Forms

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DOE publishes an annual notice in the Federal Register that details acceptable documentation for the FAFSA information subject to verification for a given award year. Acceptable documentation is as follows:

Household size and number in college:

Selected applicants must submit completed Florida Tech or KHEAA verification worksheet to document household size, unless:

The applicant is a dependent student, the household size reported is two (2) with a single, divorced, separated, or widowed parent, or is three (3) with parents who are married or are unmarried and living together.

The applicant is an independent student, the number reported is two (2) if he is married or one (1) if he is single, divorced, separated, or widowed.

High School Completion:

Students must provide one of the following documents to affirm their high school completion status (if the document is collected as part of the admissions process we are not required to request and additional copy):

A copy of a high school diploma.

A copy of a final, official high school transcript that shows the date when the diploma was awarded.

A copy of the "secondary school leaving certificate" or similar document from the proper government agency for students who completed secondary school in a foreign country. If your college doesn't have the expertise to evaluate foreign secondary school credentials or chooses not to do so, there are evaluation services available.

A copy of a General Educational Development (GED) certificate or GED transcript that indicates the student passed the exam.

Certification of a passing score on a test that the student's state authorizes and recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma. This includes tests similar to the GED, such as the High School Equivalency Test or the Test Assessing Secondary Completion. Test transcripts are acceptable documentation if they indicate that the final score is a passing score or that the student's state considers the test results to meet its high school equivalency requirements.

An academic transcript that indicates the student successfully completed at least a two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor's degree at any participating school. You do not have to collect proof of high school status for graduate students if admission into their program required the completion of at least two years of undergraduate coursework. For a student who has not completed high school and is seeking enrollment in a program that leads to at least an associate degree or its equivalent, documentation from the high school that he excelled academically and from your school that he meets your written policy for admitting such students. This should be a rare occurrence.

For homeschooled students, a copy of a secondary school completion credential for homeschool (other than a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent) if state law requires homeschooled students to get that credential. If it is not required, a transcript or the equivalent signed by the parent or guardian that lists the secondary school courses the student completed and documents the successful completion of a secondary school education in a homeschool setting.

For students in an "eligible career pathway program," documentation that they passed an approved ATB test or completed at least 6 credit hours or 225 clock hours that are applicable toward a degree or certificate offered by your school. See the margin note.

DOE makes certain exceptions for documentation when the above are unavailable, such as when the school is closed and the information is not available elsewhere [i.e. at the district level or other school], the guardian by whom the student was homeschooled is deceased). In these instances, the institution may request a DD214 or alternative documentation. Self-certification is only acceptable in rare instances relating to refugees, asylees and victims of human trafficking. Guidance in these rare cases can be found in the Application and Verification Guide.

Identity and Statement of Educational Purpose

The student may visit the school's financial aid office in person to complete the form and present a valid, unexpired,* government-issued photo identification (ID) such as a passport or a driver's license or other state-issued ID. The Financial Aid Representative will then keep the original copy of the form and make a photocopy or scan of the student's government issued ID for our records.

If unable to appear in person, the student may have the statement notarized, presenting a a valid, unexpired,* government- issued photo identification (ID) and mail the original notarized copy along with a valid, unexpired,* government-issued photo identification (ID), such as a passport or a driver's license or other state-issued ID. Note that the form specifies that a valid, unexpired,* government-issued photo identification (ID) is required and forms notarized without a government issued ID (i.e. with school ID or personally known to the notary) will not be accepted.

AGI, taxes paid and other tax data

The preferred delivery method for tax information is the IRS data retrieval tool (DRT) through the FAFSA. If the student (and spouse, if applicable), and if dependent, parent are unable to use the DRT tool, they may present an official IRS tax return transcript,

If the filer of a joint tax return is no longer married, he/she must submit an IRS tax transcript and a copy of each W-2 form for the parent whose tax information is on the FAFSA.

Independent students and spouses, and dependent student parent/s who are non-filers must submit an IRS verification of non-filer status letter. Dependent students who are non-filers are not required to submit this letter.

Filers of non-IRS tax returns may submit a transcript obtained from their government entity if a free transcript is available. If a free transcript is not available, institutions may accept a copy of the return, which must be hand signed by the filer, or one of the filers, if it is a joint return.

Victims of identity theft who are unable to obtain a tax return transcript may submit a IRS TRDBV, or Tax return database view, as well as a signed and dated statement indicating that they were victims of tax-related identity theft and the IRS has been made aware of it.

Filers who have filing extensions must be able to document that they have received an extension beyond the automatic 6-month extension. If this is the case, the filer can:

A copy of IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, A copy of the IRS's approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension for tax year 2016.

Confirmation of non-filing from the IRS dated on or after October 1, 2017. copies of all their W-2 forms (or equivalent), and

If self-employed, a signed statement with the amounts of their AGI and U.S. Income taxes paid.

Students are encouraged to complete verification as soon as possible so that they may receive their financial aid in a timely manner. Verification can be completed at any time during the aid year; however, late disbursement rules may apply for students who withdraw or have a break in enrollment prior to verification completion.

Florida Tech refers to the Application and Verification Guide of ED's Federal Student Aid (FSA) Handbook for special verification situations and additional guidance.

Procedures

As of March 2018, Florida Tech has contracted Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) to complete a vast majority of its verifications.

Once Florida Tech receives an application that is selected for verification, the file is electronically reviewed for C-Flag requirements (such as NSLDS issues, citizenship, selective service, unusual enrollment, etc.), independent status review and admissions status. Students who have C-flag or independent status reviews will not be sent to KHEAA for verification until the issues are resolved. If a student is admitted to the main campus and is a new student, their file will not be sent to KHEAA for verification until they have accepted admissions and either paid the tuition deposit or have accepted aid in their package, indicating that they will be attending. Returning undergraduate main campus students and undergraduate online students' files will be sent to KHEAA the following day for the verification process.

Graduate students selected for verification tracking group V5 will be verified by Florida Tech and a requirement will be placed on their account, viewable in ACCESS once any C-flag issues are resolved. The student will receive electronic notifications to check requirements and submit the requested information. Note that KHEAA will not be verifying any Florida Tech applications for the 2019/2020 year until March 2019 or later.

Upon the data transfer to KHEAA, Florida Tech sends an automated email to all students whose file was transmitted to KHEAA. The letter introduces the partner and website. The following day, KHEAA then sends an email introducing themselves and their platform and instructing the student to create a login and to submit the requested documentation to complete verification. Each student's account will reflect requirements for acceptable documentation for the verification elements in their specific verification tracking group. Students will upload their documents directly through the secure KHEAA website and will have the option of electronically signing select verification documents or hand signing them. The electronic signature process utilized by KHEAA is in accordance with requirements for the use of electronic documents and signatures found in GEN-01-06, the U.S. Department of Education Standards for Electronic Signatures in Electronic Student Loan Transactions, and other ED guidance.

After the initial introduction, students are sent reminder emails bi-weekly and reminder calls are placed at least once a month.

Once the documents are received they are reviewed for acceptability and completeness. If additional documentation is required, an email request is sent to the student and the student's KHEAA account is noted.

KHEAA creates monthly document uploads that include all verification documents for students whose verification has been completed since the previous document upload. These documents are then transferred to our system and uploaded to each students file in xtender.

Students who appear in office or who have difficulty with the verification process can be verified directly by the Financial Aid office at Florida Tech. The student will communicate with one of the senior counselors and their verification will be completed once all documentation is received. Again, all documents will be stored in the student's xtender file for recordkeeping purposes.

All students will be assigned verification tracking requirements, regardless of whether they are verified through KHEAA or through Florida Tech directly. Tracking requirements are as follows:

VERIFY VKHEAA IDEP

In rare cases, some students may submit unsolicited documentation to Florida Tech, causing requirements such as IVER, DVER, TXTR, STXTR and LOW. In these cases, the documents may be re-routed to the VERIFY requirement in xtender.

The following statuses will be used to determine where the student is in the verification process:

Status

Description

B

Student did not or chose not to complete the verification process

C

Completed

J

Student is on hold with KHEAA until other issues are corrected

K

File has been sent to KHEAA

N

Documents received, additional information is required

P

Documents are Pending

Q

Verification Canceled at KHEAA

R

Item is required, no documents received

U

File has not yet been sent to KHEAA

W

File was not sent to KHEAA, and will not be sent to KHEAA

7.1.3 Data Elements to be Verified

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The DOE publishes an annual notice in the Federal Register that details the FAFSA information subject to verification for each award year. There are currently three (3) different verification tracking groups. The groups and required verification elements are as follows:

V1-Standard Verification Group Students in this group must verify the following if they are tax filers: adjusted gross income

U.S. income tax paid

untaxed portions of IRA distributions untaxed portions of pensions

IRA deductions and payments tax-exempt interest income education credits

household size

number in college Students who are not tax filers must verify the following: income earned from work

household size number in college

V4-Custom Verification Group. Students must verify high school completion status and identity/statement of educational purpose.

VS-Aggregate Verification Group. Students must verify high school completion status and identity/statement of educational purpose (SEP) in addition to the items in the Standard Verification Group.

Corrections must be made to any dollar figure that is off by $25 or more and any inaccurate non-monetary data. Conflicting information discovered during the verification process will also be corrected and additional documentation will be requested to make the correction, if necessary.

Corrections made directly by the institution will be made in Banner and sent to CPS for processing. Turnaround time for such corrections is 3 business days. Corrections made by KHEAA will be made directly to CPS. Turnaround time for such corrections will be 5-7 business days, as KHEAA will then transmit the verification completion data to the institution.

Procedures

The verification process is as follows:

ISIRS selected for verification are reviewed for c-flags and independent status issues If none exist, enrollment is reviewed

If c-flags and independent status issues exist, these are resolved before proceeding. The system systematically checks for c- flag and independent status resolution daily and sends files as they are ready.

The student's file is reviewed for enrollment.

Online students' and returning main campus students' files are prepared for upload to KHEAA for verification

New main campus students' files are reviewed for either deposit paid and/or aid acceptance

If deposit is paid and/or aid has been accepted, the student's file is sent to KHEAA for verification

If deposit is not paid and/or aid has not been accepted, the file will not be sent until one of the aforementioned conditions is met. The system systematically checks for deposit/aid acceptance and sends files as they are ready.

Once a student's file is sent to KHEAA, a systematic email is sent to the student introducing KHEAA as a trusted partner.

KHEAA receives the file, loads the data into their system and sends an email to the student with instructions on how to create an account and details on the required documents and how to submit them.

Once a student submits information, KHEAA will review the documents within 3-5 business days.

If documentation is incomplete, KHEAA will email the student to request complete documentation.

If all documentation has been received, KHEAA will complete verification. All required changes will be inputted via CPS and identity verification will be recorded systematically in accordance with Federal Regulations.

Bi-weekly reminder emails and monthly calls will be placed to Students who have submitted incomplete documentation Students who have yet to submit any documents

Should a student express that they will not be attending Florida Tech or that they will be attending, but not utilizing Federal aid, KHEAA will cancel verification attempts at their request. Required corrections for students verified by Florida Tech directly will either be made via Banner or through CPS.

All V4 and V5 students verified by Florida Tech will have their identity verification method recorded and reported appropriately as required by DOE.

In the event that a student requests verification be completed directly by the university, their request is granted without hesitation and the institution will request that KHEAA cease verification efforts for the student.

All emails, calls, and documents received will be recorded in the students file. Email and call communications from KHEAA will be recorded only in KHEAA's system; however, all action statuses from KHEAA (documents received, verification completion) will be recorded in both KHEAA's system and Florida Tech's system.

7.1.4 Conflicting and Inaccurate Information

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All submitted documents, both solicited and unsolicited, are reviewed, regardless of whether or not the student is selected for verification. Any document that contains information that conflicts with the FAFSA will require resolution by making direct corrections or requesting additional information to clarify the discrepancy and make corrections if required. Both Florida Tech and KHEAA follow this policy.

Procedures

If a situation arises in which we have conflicting information, the student's account is noted and documentation, if required, is requested via email. If corrections are required as a result of conflicting information, these corrections are made either in CPS or through Banner. If the student is selected for verification, the conflicting information will be correct at the time verification is completed. If the student is not selected for verification, corrections will be sent as soon as the appropriate documentation has been received.

Should the corrections result in a change in the student's financial aid package, the student is notified via email and the student is encouraged to contact the financial aid office if any questions arise.

7.1.S Student Notification of Verification Changes

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Should the corrections result in a change in the student's financial aid package, the student is notified via email and the student is encouraged to contact the financial aid office if any questions arise. Any corrections made by a student to an application selected for verification are subject to review once received. If the verification has been completed on said file, additional information may be requested and the verification process will be re-completed.

Procedures

Following verification, a student's EFC is automatically updated in the system. Should a student's financial aid package be altered due to a change in EFC, their package is generally updated systematically, but may be updated manually on occasion. Any changes to a students financial aid package trigger an email notification to the student.