What is verification?

Verification is a process in which information on a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is reviewed by a school for accuracy and completeness. Each year, the Federal U.S. Department of Education selects certain applicants for verification. The verification process requires the Office of Financial Aid to confirm the data supplied by the student and/or parent(s). Although the college cannot determine who will be selected for verification each year, students should anticipate selection. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, immediately submit all requested documentation to our office for review. Failure to provide required documentation by stated deadlines will affect the timely delivery of award package by posted payment deadline dates.

All students selected for verification must submit the appropriate documentation to the Office of Financial Aid. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • An Independent/Dependent verification worksheet, with all items completed and student/parent or student/spouse signatures included
  • IRS Data Retrieval Tool or Tax Return Transcripts
  • Any applicable tax schedules (i.e., C or F) for student/parent or student/spouse
  • All student/spouse W-2 form(s) or 1099-MISC form(s) for total wage income*
  • All parent W-2 form(s) or 1099-MISC form(s) for total income *
  • Parent verification of non-tax filing if parents did not file taxes
  • Parent Statement of Financial Support (if requested)
  • Statement of Educational Purpose
  • Proof of high school or equivalent completion

*NOTE REGARDING TAX DOCUMENTS: On the 2018–19 FAFSA form, you (and your parents, as appropriate) will report your 2016 income information, rather than your 2017 income information. Since you’ll already have filed your 2016 taxes by the time the FAFSA form launches, you’ll be able to import your tax information into the FAFSA form right away using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

During verification, our verification team compares information from the student’s FAFSA with all other required verification documents. Once the verification review is complete, necessary corrections to the student’s FAFSA may be needed. If needed, we will make the necessary corrections to the student’s FAFSA and submit them to the federal processor. Therefore, it is very important during or after verification that a student (or parent, spouse) NOT make any changes to the FAFSA as this will only delay the awarding and disbursing of Federal or need-based aid (Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loans, Work-Study, Scholarships, etc.).

The Department of Education (DOE) does not provide applicants with specific reasoning why their FAFSA was selected. The DOE uses a formula, not revealed to colleges and universities, to select applicants based on common data errors.

Please allow 2-4 weeks for processing Financial Aid awards. Always check your Gwinnett Tech email account, or the student banner account, for additional information and requests. Please scan and email all pages of the requested financial aid documents to financialaidoffice@gwinnetttech.edu.

  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool OR Request Tax Return Transcripts as soon as notified.
  • Complete the worksheet in its entirety prior to submitting.
  • Make sure to submit all requested documents and they are complete and legible.
  • Always include the student’s full given name and student ID number on each document submitted.
  • Keep a copy of all documents submitted for your records.
  • Monitor the student’s Gwinnett Tech email account for requests for additional information and updates.
  • Allow 2-4 weeks for processing. NOTE:  We encourage student to check their student banner accounts often for updates regarding your financial aid status. You can check for update on your account by following the step below:
    1. Go to www.GTC-Web.org 
    2. Select Enter Student/Faculty Secure Area
    3. Login using your user ID (social security number or assigned 900 number) and PIN (date of birth MMDDYY)
    4. Click Student Services and Financial Aid
    5. Then click Financial Aid
    6. Select My Award Information
    7. Then click Select Award Package for Aid Year
    8. Select the specific Aid Year (for example 2018-2019) and click submit
    9. Then select Award Overview
    10. Click Accept Award Offer
    11. Click on the required document (s) and print

Links to the applicable Verification Worksheets will be available to students through their GTC-Web.org  portal.  Students can follow these steps to access the missing documents:

  • Go to www.GTC-Web.org 
  • Select Enter Student/Faculty Secure Area
  • Login using your user ID (social security number or assigned 900 number) and PIN (date of birth MMDDYY)
  • Click Student Services and Financial Aid
  • Then click Financial Aid
  • Select My Award Information
  • Then click Select Award Package for Aid Year
  • Select the specific Aid Year (for example 2018-2019) and click submit
  • Then select Award Overview
  • Click Accept Award Offer
  • Click on the required document (s) and print

If you are unable to access the documents via your GTC-Web account you can also locate the documents via our website http://www.gwinnetttech.edu/enrollment/financial-aid/financial-aid-forms/

Students and/or their parent(s) may submit verification documents to the Financial Aid Office through one of the following ways:

  • Scan and email all pages of the requested financial aid documents to Financialaidoffice@gwinnetttech.edu.
  • You can also fax the forms to 678-226-6916
  • Submit in person through the one stop shop at the Lawrenceville and Alpharetta-North Fulton campuses.

Don’t forget to include your Student ID number in the subject of the email or on the cover page of the fax.

We will notify student via email to their Gwinnett Tech email, however we encourage student to check their student banner accounts often for updates regarding their financial aid status. You can check for update on your account by following the step below:

  • Go to www.GTC-Web.org 
  • Select Enter Student/Faculty Secure Area
  • Login using your user ID (social security number or assigned 900 number) and PIN (date of birth MMDDYY)
  • Click Student Services and Financial Aid
  • Then click Financial Aid
  • Select My Award Information
  • Then click Select Award Package for Aid Year
  • Select the specific Aid Year (for example 2018-2019) and click submit
  • Then select Award Overview
  • Click Accept Award Offer

If a student who is selected for verification does not complete the verification process the student will not be awarded any aid which includes Pell grant, SEOG, Work-Study, Federal Direct loans, certain Scholarships, and institutional aid.

The IRS DRT returned with the 2018–19 FAFSA form on Oct. 1, 2017. The IRS DRT remains the fastest, most accurate way to input your tax return information into the FAFSA form. To address security and privacy concerns related to the IRS DRT, the tax return information you transfer from the IRS will no longer be displayed on fafsa.gov or the IRS DRT web page. Instead, you’ll see “Transferred from the IRS” in the appropriate fields on fafsa.gov. Not everyone is eligible to use the IRS DRT and the IRS DRT does not input all the financial information required on the FAFSA form. Therefore, you should have your 2016 tax return and 2016 IRS W-2 available for reference.

Students/parents who meet the following criteria, are given the option to retrieve, display and transfer federal tax information:

  • If student/parent filed a tax return
  • If student/parent has a valid Social Security Number
  • If student/parent has a FSA ID and Password (If you do not have a FSA ID (if student/parent does not have a FSA ID, one should be created at fsaid.ed.gov
If student/parent marital status has not changed since December 31st.

If any of the following conditions apply to students or parents, DO NOT use the DRT if:

  • An amended federal tax return was filed
  • A federal tax return was not filed
  • The federal tax filing status is “married, filing separately”
  • The marital status from January 1st through May 11th has changed
  • A foreign tax return was filed

If students/parents are unable or choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in FAFSA on the web, they are required to submit the appropriate 2016 Tax Return Transcript(s)—NOT the “Account Transcript” and NOT a copy of the actual return(s).

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IRS Tax Return Transcripts (or other transcripts) may be requested online, by mail, by phone, or in-person:
Online Requests:

Mail Requests:

  • Visit IRS Web Site – http://www.irs.gov
  • Under Tools section, select “Get a Tax Transcript”
  • Select “Get Transcript by MAIL”
  • Enter personal information: social security number, address, etc. (unless address change has been completed through U.S. Postal service)
  • Select “Continue”
  • Select “Tax Return Transcript” and the 2016 tax year.
  • Once you receive confirmation of a successful request, a Tax Return Transcript will be mailed within 5 to 10 business days (mail requests for IRS transcripts cannot be sent directly to the Office of Financial Aid or other third parties).

Telephone Requests:

  • Call 1-800-908-9946
  • Follow prompts and enter Social Security # and Address
  • Choose “Option 2” – request an IRS Tax Return Transcript, enter the appropriate tax year.
  • Once you receive confirmation of a successful request, a Tax Return Transcript will be mailed within 5 to 10 business days (phone requests for IRS transcripts CANNOT be sent directly to the Office of Financial Aid or other third parties).

The FAFSA application requires dependent students to provide information about a student’s LEGAL parents (biological, adoptive, step-parent). The following people are NOT considered parents on the FAFSA (unless they are considered adoptive parents): grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, and uncles or aunts.
Under certain circumstances, the student DOES NOT need to include parent information, if:

  • the student is in Legal Guardianship:  A legal guardian is NOT considered a parent in the financial aid process (the verification will require additional documentation needed to verify Legal Guardianship status in order to determine and consider a student’s independent status)
  • the student has foster parents: A foster parent is not considered a parent in the financial aid process (the verification team may require additional documentation in order to determine and consider a student’s independent status).

Indicate the parent marital status as of the day you submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA considers five marital status categories for parents of dependent students based upon a parent’s particular marital status. Parent marital status affects what additional information is needed for other FAFSA questions; therefore, it is IMPORTANT to answer the parent marital status questions accurately. Following is a list of the five marital status categories including information on how to answer FAFSA questions based on that marital status:

  • Never married: a (single) parent who was never married and does not live with the student’s (other) legal parent, or a parent who is widowed but not remarried. Answer questions about that parent.
  • Unmarried and both parents living together: a student’s legal (biological or adoptive) who are not married but live together. Provide information about BOTH parents, regardless of gender. Do not include any person who is NOT married to the student’s parent and who is NOT a legal or biological parent.
  • Married or remarried:   legal parents (biological, adoptive, step-parent) who are married and/or living together. Consistent with the Supreme Court decision holding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, same-sex couples MUST report their marital status as married if they were legally married in a state or other jurisdiction (foreign country) that permits same-sex marriage, without regard to where the couple resides. NOTE: If legal parents are divorced but LIVING TOGETHER, answer “Unmarried and both parents living together.” If legal parents are SEPARATED BUT LIVING TOGETHER, answer “Married or remarried,” NOT “Divorced or separated.”
  • Divorced or Separated: legal parents (biological, adoptive, step-parent) who ARE NOT living together. Provide information about the parent that you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided most of your financial support during the last 12 months.
  • Widowed: If a widowed parent is unmarried, answer questions about that parent. If a widowed parent is remarried as of the date of the FAFSA submission, answer questions about parent and step-parent.

Reporting step-parent information DOES NOT require a step-parent to offer financial assistance to the student for educational expenses. However, if a legal parent (biological or adoptive) is divorced and REMARRIED, step-parent information (including income and assets) is considered important aspects of the family’s financial situation, and IS required for the calculation of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which determines a student’s eligibility. Including step-parent information on the FAFSA provides an accurate picture of the family’s total potential to pay college costs.

  • If a student was married BEFORE submitting the FAFSA, then the student may be considered independent.
  • If the student was married AFTER submitting the FAFSA, the student must contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information regarding independent status.

 

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