17 Mar Needs Analysis and Verification Links

Compiled by Stacey Musulin, UConn

Having difficulty keeping your scorecard straight? Below are some links that may prove helpful references for ISIR analysis and verification requirements for the 2012-2013 school year:

  • Federal Register Notice of Information to be Verified for the 2012–2013 Award Year
  • Electronic Announcement dated August 21, 2012 – Outlines the “limited circumstances” in which a signed tax return may be acceptable documentation to complete the verification process (in lieu of using IRS Data Retrieval within the FAFSA or sending an official IRS Tax Return Transcript). These situations may involve cases of identity theft, filing of amended tax returns, filing foreign returns, filing a Puerto Rican tax return, etc. For each circumstance, the acceptable alternative documentation requirements are described.
  • Dear Colleague Letter GEN -12-07 dated April 16, 2012: Describes that for a limited set of cases in which students and families who have attempted to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or who have made a good faith effort to obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript, schools may accept a signed tax return for the purposes of completing verification ONLY THROUGH July 15, 2012. A PDF at the bottom of the page describes acceptable alternative forms of documentation.
  • Dear Colleague Letter GEN-11-13 dated July 13, 2011 – This letter summaries the final rules for verification for the 2012-2013 school year, outlines information to be verified, describes acceptable documentation, and reviews processes for the 2012-2013 school year.
  • See process whereby students and families may order a IRS Tax Return Transcript
  • 2012-13 FAFSA Verification-IRS Tax Return Transcript Matrix from FSA electronic announcement dated March 16, 2012: UPDATED VERSION! Extraordinarily handy summary of required verification elements corresponding to FAFSA question #s, ISIR fields, tax return transcript field names, and 1040/ 1040A/ 1040EZ line items
  • 2012-2013 Application and Verification Guide –This is the Department of Education’s summary of all pertinent policies and procedures regarding the initial application process, as well as verification of information on the FAFSA. The EFC formula is described in detail in Chapter 3, along with updates on Auto Zero and Simplified Needs calculations for the 2012-2013 school year. Worksheets for manual calculations of EFC for dependent and independent students (with and without dependents) are provided along with pertinent tables. For those not wanting to slog through the Federal Register, see Chapter 4 for all the changes to the verification process effective this coming academic year (with appropriate citations of specific regulations). Chapter 5 gives more information on what constitutes Conflicting Information, as well as examples of possible Professional Judgment circumstances, including dependency overrides and unaccompanied homeless youth.
  • NASFAA’s Using Federal Tax Returns in Needs Analysis – A 27-page PDF available to NASFAA members with detailed information on IRS Tax Return Transcripts and how each element within the transcript relates specifically to line items on the 2011 1040. Tax return line items corresponding to possible assets and non-wage are described. Information about tax account transcripts, various IRS forms & schedules, and how to read a W-2 is also provided. A great resource!!!
  • ED’s 2012-2013 Verification Worksheets – Scroll down to access these PDFs and note that these are samples. Schools may develop their own forms in lieu of these.
  • 2012-2013 ISIR Guide – This is the Department of Education’s guide to assist financial aid administrators in interpreting student information on students’ ISIRs (Institutional Student Information Records). The process by which CPS receives and transmits data to schools is described, including corrections by students/families. Code/ flag descriptions for various information including dependency, selection for verification, IRS data retrieval results, Auto Zero, Simplified Needs, NSLDS history, database match/mismatches, correction sources, etc.
  • 2012-13 Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) Technical Reference updates as of January 2012
  • Also of interest may be the 2012-2013 SAR Comment Codes & Text Guide

And finally, to start gearing up for next year’s verification process: