Verification Policy

Verification Policy

Financial aid applicants selected for verification must comply with the verification procedures required by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and Subpart E of 34 CFR Part 668.53 of the “Verification of Student Aid Applicant Information” regulations.

Applicants will either be notified by the Federal processor through a comment on the Student Aid Report (SAR) and/or by notification from Saint Joseph’s University through the award letter mailed to the student. Saint Joseph’s University will verify all applicants selected by the Federal processor. In addition, Saint Joseph’s University reserves the right to verify any application not federally selected for verification, but appears to have inaccurate or inconsistent information.

Saint Joseph’s University will send the Verification Worksheet to selected students. The completed Verification Worksheet, along with the proper supporting documentation requested on the award letter, will be required to comply with regulations.

Saint Joseph’s University considers the verification process to begin at the time the Verification Worksheet is received by financial aid. Verification information must be accurate as of the signature date on the Verification Worksheet.

Items to be verified:

- Adjusted gross income (AGI) for the base year (student, spouse, and/or dependent student’s parents)

- Federal income tax paid for the base year

- Wages of the student, spouse, and/or parents

- Number of people in the household

- Number of household members attending post-secondary educational institutions at least half time, who are enrolled in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or diploma

- Certain untaxed income and benefits for the base year including, but not limited to:

- Child Support received (if a child support amount is shown and/or the Financial Aid Office has reason to believe that child support was received)

- Payments to tax-deferred pension and savings plans

- Housing, food and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy and others

- Untaxed payments to IRA, KEOGH, or other retirement plans

- Veterans non-education benefits

- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Benefits

- Other untaxed income as is verifiable by the Federal tax return, including untaxed portions of pensions and/or annuities, untaxed interest or dividend income, income earned from work, etc.

Applicants must submit the requested documentation within two weeks of the date requested. Failure to provide the documentation within 45 days of the request may result in discontinued processing of the financial aid application. Conflicting data must be verified and resolved before processing is complete. Title IV and state aid will not be disbursed to a student’s account until financial aid has completed verification. This includes the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Family Education Loans (Stafford and Plus). Students will be prevented from earning a Federal Work Study award until verification is complete.

Corrections to data will result in a recalculation of the applicant’s financial aid eligibility. If the recalculation results in a change to the expected family contribution, equaling a change in Title IV aid eligibility, financial aid will submit the corrections electronically. When the corrected ISIR is received, it is subject to the same verification procedures as the original application. Financial aid eligibility is determined from the corrected ISIR and a revised award notification is emailed to the student notifying them of any changes to their awards as a result of the verification.

Professional Judgment Policy

Section 479A of the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 authorized the financial aid administrator to exercise Professional Judgment (PJ) on a case-by-case basis for special or unusual circumstances.  The aid administrator will review the documents submitted to increase or decrease data elements used to calculate a student’s expected family contribution (EFC).  These adjustments are permitted because the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not afford the opportunity to provide details about special circumstances that could impacts a family’s ability to pay costs associated with attendance.  The documentation is submitted to the PJ committee for review.  All documentation must be submitted before a decision is rendered.  The decisions made by the committee are final; there is no appeal process to the U.S. Department of Education. 

Special Circumstances

Special circumstances are situations that differentiate the student’s finances from other students.  Special circumstances can include but are not limited to:

loss of wages (student, spouse or parent)

  • separation or divorce of parent or student after application
  • death of parent or spouse after application
  • dependent care expenses
  • unusually high medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance

In order to have a special circumstance reviewed, the student must consult with their admissions or Financial Aid counselor to ensure that all of the appropriate documentation is collected to submit to the PJ committee.  A professional judgment will not be reviewed until all documentation has been collected and federal verification has been completed.

Dependency Override

A student may have unusual circumstances that justify a dependency override that updates the students’ status from dependent to independent.  All dependency overrides are made on a case-by case basis along with supporting documentation.  A student must submit a Dependency Override Request in writing.

Once the documentation has been submitted, the financial services specialist will review the documentation and provide the decision to the counselor.  The counselor will communicate with the student regarding the decision.  

All change of income cases will complete the verification process prior to any professional judgment decisions. 

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Article ID: 52753
Thu 4/26/18 11:05 AM
Tue 6/6/23 11:10 AM