Verification is the process of confirming the accuracy of student reported data on financial aid applications.
Selection of Applications to be Verified
The U. S. Department of Education selects students for verification. The Financial Aid Office is required to document and correct any changes during or as a result of this process. Tennessee Tech University defines their applicant pool as everyone who is chosen by the Department of Education or is otherwise determined by Tennessee Tech to have unresolved conflicting information.
Aid Administrators are required to resolve any discrepancies discovered in a student's file even if a student is not selected for verification. Tennessee Tech reviews each subsequent ISIR received for a student to determine if there is any conflicting information. If there is conflicting information, Tennessee Tech requests documentation to resolve the conflict. This may equate to a complete verification of the file.
Notification of Verification to Applicants
Students are notified that they are selected for verification on the Student Aid Report (SAR). Student-specific verification forms also state the student was selected for verification.
Verification Time Frame & Failure to Submit Documentation
Upon receipt of the FAFSA, a missing information email is sent to the student’s campus email account. This informs the student how to log into Eagle Online to review any additional information required to complete their financial aid file. This may include, but not limited to, verification worksheet, copies of tax return documentation as specified by current verification guidelines, etc. Students are notified that until the missing items are submitted to the Financial Aid Office, additional processing of their file is not possible.
If the student fails to submit any missing information by the last day of classes, the student is ineligible for financial aid for the academic year. For example, if a student is enrolled for the Fall and Spring term and does not provide any documents until the last day of classes for the spring term, she would not be eligible for aid for the academic year. However, if a student attends fall and spring and submits their documents on the last day of classes for the fall term, and they are planning on attending spring, they are eligible for aid for both fall and spring terms.
*Exception: If student had a valid FAFSA before the last day of class and is determined to be Pell eligible, Pell must be paid within federally mandated time frame.
Students who fail to submit verification documents forfeit eligibility and financial aid is not awarded for these students.
Document Collection Procedures
The U.S. Department of Education publishes a notice in the Federal Register annually which details acceptable documentation for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information subject to verification for each award year
Tennessee Tech requires students selected for verification to complete and sign a standardized verification worksheet (Dependent or Independent), which may also require a parent signature. Students and parents may indicate on this form that they used the IRS data retrieval tool on the FAFSA, and that information will be used to complete the verification process. In some cases, additional tax documents may need to be submitted in order to address changes in the household (separating income due to divorce, explanation of untaxed income, etc.).
Tennessee Tech currently accepts all verification documents submitted via mail, in-person delivery, fax, or submitted electronically (PDF of signed physical copies) to the Financial Aid Office.
Required documentation items are identified and receipt date is maintained on an automated tracking system through Banner. When documents arrive, Financial Aid personnel stamps the form with current date of receipt and enters a receipt date beside the document name in Banner. Items are scanned into student’s Banner file by BDMS (Banner Document Management System) and coded as Received, Pending Review. When all required documents are received, the student is considered complete and ready to be verified and then packaged. The Financial Aid Processor gathers all documentation and creates a student folder for all students needing verification of having other missing documentation. The Financial Aid Processor then completes the verification process for selected students, as outlined in chapter 9 of the P & P. After that time, the student’s awards will be completed and the student will be notified of the results of the verification by receipt of an award email notification.
Processing Time Period
Students are notified that until the missing items are submitted to the Financial Aid Office, additional processing of their file is not possible. Once a student turns in required documentation, Tennessee Tech generally completes their review, and makes corrections (when needed), within 2 – 4 weeks.
Verification of Data Elements
Tennessee Tech University’ Financial Aid Office systematically verifies only those data elements required by the federal government. However, Aid Administrators are free to ask for additional information if further investigation is needed to resolve conflicting information.
The U.S. Department of Education publishes a notice in the Federal Register annually which identifies the FAFSA information subject to verification for each award year. They establish Verification Tracking Groups and which data elements must be verified for each tracking group. For complete details on verification policies and procedures, please review the information available in Chapter 9 of the applicable aid year at https://www.tntech.edu/financialaid/policies/policyandprocedures.php.
Notification to Students
Students are notified of the results of verification by receipt of an award email to their campus email account.