Verification is the process by which the Office of Financial Aid compares the information on a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with documents provided by the student to confirm the accuracy of the student’s FAFSA. DigiPen’s policy is to verify all students that the Department of Education selects; this includes any student who is enrolled and is eligible to receive an award. In addition, the Office of Financial Aid may verify any other student at its discretion.
When a student is selected for verification, the Office of Financial Aid will notify the student and send (via email) a verification worksheet along with instructions for any additional necessary documentation.
Students selected for verification must complete the verification worksheet and submit the required documentation to DigiPen’s Office of Financial Aid by the priority deadline.
Documentation can include (but is not limited to):
Tax information imported and unchanged on the FAFSA, using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)
If you need help using the IRS DRT please contact our office for help
Federal tax transcripts for you, your spouse (if any) and/or your parents
If you need help requesting a Tax Return Transcript please contact our office for help
Signed tax returns for you, your spouse (if any) and/or your parents
Documentation of income such as W2s, schedule C or K-1, 1099s, etc.
Additional Information requested by the Office of Financial Aid
You will be notified by our office, in writing (mail or email), if you are selected for verification. We will also inform you of what forms and documents are required. Please submit only what is requested of you.
If we do not receive the required documentation, you will not be eligible for federal, state and some institutional aid. Verification is not required if you will only receive a Parent or Graduate PLUS Loan and/or an Unsubsidized Direct Student Loan since those loans are not based on need. However, you cannot choose to avoid verification by choosing to borrow an Unsubsidized Direct Student Loan if you are eligible for a Subsidized Direct Student Loan.
If the Office of Financial Aid suspects that an applicant for financial aid may have engaged in fraud or other illegal conduct while completing the FAFSA, verification worksheets, or other financial aid documents, the Financial Aid Director will refer the student to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Education. This may result in a criminal investigation.
Additionally, if any employee, third-party servicer, or other representative of the school has been found to have engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary responsibility, or other illegal conduct while administering or receiving Title IV funds, the Financial Aid Director will refer the case to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Education.
What if Something Changes?
The Office of Financial Aid recognizes that a family’s circumstances can change once the FAFSA is filed. If you feel that the FAFSA may not accurately reflect your current financial situation, please contact our office. Although considerations for specific situations are limited, we may be able to give additional consideration for certain situations as described below.
Examples of Special Circumstances Considered
Higher than usual student cost of attendance due to child care expense, health insurance, disability related expenses, etc.
Loss or reduction of income (layoff, illness, forced reduction of hours, temporary employment, etc.)
Catastrophic medical or dental expenses
Death, divorce, or separation of parents or spouse
Non-recurring payments receiving during the FAFSA tax year that will not be repeated
Loss of benefits, such as unemployment, disability, social security, veterans, child support, or alimony
Examples of Special Circumstances NOT Considered
Increase of standard living expenses
Purchasing material items such as a car, home appliances, vacations, second homes, etc.
Reduction of assets. Changes in assets will be reflected on the following year’s FAFSA.
Credit issues, line of credit changes, previous student loan debt, etc.
Medical bills paid by health insurance or that will be reimbursed by health care coverage
Siblings or parents who are also attending college. Siblings are already taken into account on the FAFSA. Students cannot list their parents in the number in college.