What is verification?
Verification is a process in which information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is reviewed by The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to check the accuracy and completeness of the data supplied by the student and/or parent(s). Federal guidelines require that verification be performed on applicants selected by the Central Processing System (CPS) or by the school.
At SAU, federal verification is performed on all applicants selected by the CPS and any application that the university selects. If selected for verification, the student should immediately submit all requested documentation to the Verification Gateway (Inceptia) or The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for review. Inceptia is an online portal to guide students and parents through the verification process. Failure to provide required documentation by stated deadlines may negatively impact the financial aid award package.
How will I know if I am selected for verification?
If selected for verification, there will be an asterisk (*) next to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) figure on your Student Aid Report (SAR). Students selected for verification will also receive an email from Inceptia (VGCS@inceptia,org) and/or postcard, containing SAU unique website link to start the verification process. Students may also be selected by The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
How do I complete the verification process via Inceptia?
- Access SAU website link at Verification Gateway
- Create an account and chose your preferences for text message and e-signatures
- Complete your task list
- Confirm your signature and review your information
- Sign your account
- Dependent students, your parents need to create their own account and complete the above steps
If I am selected for verification, what do I need to do?
If your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is selected, participation in the verification process is mandatory and must occur before most federal and state aid is disbursed. Students must submit the required documentation. Documents are generally viewed within 24 – 72 hours of receipt by Inceptia. Please note that during the process of verification, new or additional information may be required to clarify inconsistencies. Inceptia or the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will contact you via email if additional clarification or documentation is needed. It is important to respond to any information requests immediately. Documents received after July 1 are considered late and will be processed in the order received.
Verification will be completed when all required information is received by Inceptia or the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Financial aid will not be awarded until all submitted documentation has been verified and the U.S. Department of Education has received and processed any changes to the latest FAFSA data.
What documents are required to complete the verification process?
The IRS tax transcript is required for anyone who filed a tax return but did not complete the IRS Data Retrieval.
- A verification worksheet
- W-2s showing wages (parent and student if the student is dependent)
- Other documentation as needed
- Statement of child support paid
- Non-filling letter for parents who do not file and independent students who do not file
Students and parents should ensure that all documents are signed, and the student’s Colleague ID is noted on all pages.
What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) and why should I use it?
Per regulations, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships cannot accept copies of tax returns for verification purposes, except in rare, special circumstances. Therefore, if tax and income data are requested, students should either update the FAFSA application by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within the online FAFSA website or provide an official IRS Tax Return Transcript. IRS Data Retrieval is an option within the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This function may be used to import processed income tax information already within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) database directly into the FAFSA. Students and parents may elect to use IRS Data Retrieval when initially filing a FAFSA. They also may file the FAFSA with estimated data, later utilizing IRS Data Retrieval to update the FAFSA after their Federal tax returns have been processed.
A free IRS Tax Return Transcript may be obtained directly from the IRS by online request, by calling 1.800.908.9946, or by completing and mailing Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, selecting the “Return Transcript” option. Further information about IRS tax return transcripts can be found at www.IRS.gov.
When is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) available for use?
The IRS DRT is only available once a Federal income tax return has been filed and processed by the IRS. In general, income and tax information will be available for import by the IRS Data Retrieval tool within 3-4 weeks if a Federal return is filed electronically. Federal income tax returns submitted by regular mail may need to wait 8-11 weeks for tax information to be available via the IRS DRT. Filers who owe taxes may experience longer wait times before they may access the IRS DRT in the FAFSA, particularly during peak tax filing season.
When do I need to submit the verification documents?
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will not disburse Federal Title IV or need-based institutional aid until the verification process has been completed. Thus, it is very important for students to submit the required documentation as soon as possible. Students should have completed the verification prior to August 1st.
What is the deadline to submit documents?
Failure to meet the verification deadlines may result in aid not being offered. Students may be awarded an estimated aid package during registration if the student is in correction status. To meet the August bill due date, documentation must be received by July 1. Students who submit documentation after the July 1 deadline may not have their Financial Aid applied to the University Bill by the established bill due date.
Students should not submit documentation unless they receive specific requests from Inceptia or the office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or through My Falcon Landing Portal. Student are required to check their email at least twice a week.
Will my financial aid change due to verification?
During the verification process, information is compared to the original data on the FAFSA and corrections may be made. Once the corrections are made in the system, the corrected data is submitted electronically to the Central Processor. Processing may take 3-5 business days, after which a corrected FAFSA is received. These corrections may lower or raise the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) figure. Financial need is determined by the EFC, therefore a change to the EFC could impact aid eligibility. If the verification process is completed after a student is initially awarded financial aid, changes to the original aid package may occur. In some cases, when financial aid has already been disbursed and the EFC increases after a late verification process, certain forms of aid may have to be returned to the Department of Education.
What happens if an amended tax return needs to be filed?
If an amended tax return is filed, the following documents are needed:
- A signed copy of the original tax return that was submitted to the IRS
- A Tax Return Transcript from IRS
A signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X that was submitted to IRS
My parents do not claim me on their taxes; why am I still considered a dependent?
For federal and state financial aid purposes, a student is only considered independent if one or more of the following are true:
- you are 24 years old;
- you are enrolled in a graduate degree program;
- you are married;
- you have children or other dependents who receive more than half of their support from you and you do not live on campus;
- both of your parents are deceased;
- you are (or were until age 18) a ward/dependent of the court;
- or you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
If none of these statements applies, you must provide parent information on your FAFSA and other financial aid documents. Extenuating circumstances may be reviewed by the financial aid office on a case-by-case basis to determine whether a professional judgment can be granted.
Will being selected for verification prevent my aid from disbursing?
Your financial aid will not show as offered on your student bill or be disbursed until you have submitted all requested documents and the information has been verified by Inceptia or the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education must receive and accept changes to the original FAFSA information prior to disbursement.
What if I am selected for verification but will not file a Federal income tax return?
Whether or not you are required to file a Federal income tax return depends on many factors, including your filing status, citizenship, income amount, income sources, age, etc. The main IRS website may be used to obtain directions, forms, and answers to frequently asked questions or a qualified tax professional. Students and/or parents whose income falls below the minimum filing threshold for a given tax year should complete the required Verification Worksheet and submit all W-2 forms and/or other statements of income. If evidence suggests that a student or parent should have filed, but did not, this represents conflicting information and must be resolved.
When is the verification process complete?
The verification process is complete when all requested documents have been submitted to Inceptia or the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and necessary corrections have been made with the Central Processor.
Once the verification process is complete, students will be notified of their award package generally within one week to two weeks. The student will be notified to log into my Falcon Landing Portal to review their award and to handle any outstanding items.
We request that you wait to submit any verification documentation until you receive an official request for verification documents from Inceptia or the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
What if I do not want to complete the verification process?
Students and parents are under no obligation to complete the verification process; however, you are not eligible for federal or state financial assistance. If you do not wish to complete the verification process, you should notify The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships via email or letter. We will stop the communication process.
What if fraud is suspected?
Saint Augustine’s University is required to notify the U.S. Office of Inspector General if it is suspected or reported that a student, employee or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation submitted in order for a student to fraudulently obtain federal funds. Knowledge of fraudulent information should be reported to the director in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at 919.516.4000 or to the Office of Inspector General at 1.404.974.9430.