Financial Aid

Verification Policy

Verification is the process by which the Financial Aid Office compares the information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with source documents provided by the student to verify the accuracy of the application information. These policies are to be used in conjunction with the Department of Education’s Verification Guidelines. Mt. San Antonio College is a Quality Assurance (QA) school which uses the ISIR Analysis (IA) Tool to analyze applicant data and determine verification criteria. In addition, Mt. San Antonio College may select files for verification to resolve conflicting information.

Beginning 2013-2014, students who are selected for verification by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) based on the Dream Act Application information will also be subjected to the same verification guidelines outlined here.

At Mt. San Antonio College, federal student aid will not be awarded to those students selected for verification until all requested documentation is submitted and the verification process is complete. If a student withdraws from all classes before verification is completed, the student must provide the necessary documents for verification within 45 days of the withdrawal date in order to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement.

Verification Deadlines for 2014-2015

The following deadlines, regulated by the U.S. Department of Education, will be followed at Mt. San  Antonio College and can be located in the Department of Education’s Verification Guide and on the Financial Aid Office’s website.

Deadline for 2014-2015: All applications (FAFSA, Renewal FAFSA, FAFSA on the Web) must be received a t Mt. San Antonio College by the earlier of June 14, 2015 or the last day of enrollment given that the file is not selected for verification.

Students who file the Dream Act Application to qualify for the Cal Grant program, the deadline stipulated by CSAC is March 2, 2014 (entitlement and competitive grants). Students who file the Dream Act application to qualify for the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver will have the same deadline o f June 14, 2015 or the last day of enrollment given that the file is not selected for verification.

Note: Students who fail to turn in all documents required to complete verification by the appropriate deadline at Mt. San Antonio College,
which is the last day of enrollment, will be
ineligible for financial aid for 2014-2015. Verification deadlines for 2014-2015 will be determined
by dates of enrollment period for all financial aid programs. The above deadline is for a student  who has continuous enrollment (Summer 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015 and/or Spring 2015) throughout the academic year.

For student who enroll do not maintain continuous enrollment, the following application completion deadline must be adhered to by federal guidelines:

For Summer 2014, financial aid file must be received and completed if selected for verification on
the last day of the term: August 3rd, 2014
For Fall 2014, financial aid file must be received and completed if selected for verification on
the last day of the term: December 14th, 2014
For Winter 2015 and/or Spring 2015, financial aid file must be received and completed if
selected for verification on the last day of the term: June 14th, 2015.

Verification Selection

Any student financial aid population may be selected for verification by the Department of Education. The Financial Aid Office will verify every student selected for verification in accordance with Mt. San Antonio College’s Quality Assurance ISIR Analysis. Additionally, the Financial Aid Office at Mt. San Antonio College will perform additional verification on all students who have conflicting data in the file documents.

Notification of Verification Requirements

Students will be notified of the documents that must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office in order to complete verification via myMtSAC Portal, once Mt. San Antonio College’s Financial Aid Office receives the student’s data. MyMtSAC Portal will list the required verification items or actions and any other items required by the Financial Aid Office to complete the student’s file. Additional documentation or information will also be accessible in myMtSAC Portal, including messages for students to view.

Items that are required to be verified include:

  • Household Size             (Signed Verification Worksheet)
  • Number in College        (Signed Verification Worksheet)
  • SNAP Benefits              (Signed Verification Worksheet or Receipt of SNAP Benefits  Form
  • Child Support Paid        (Signed Verification Worksheet or Child Support Paid Form)

For Non-Tax Filers:

  • Income Earned from Work         (Signed Verification Worksheet)

For Tax Filers not using the IRS Data Retrieval:

  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)    (Tax Return Transcript or signed copy of Tax Return)
  • U.S. Income Tax Paid                (Tax Return Transcript or signed copy of Tax Return)
  • Education Credits                       (Tax Return Transcript or signed copy of Tax Return)
  • Untaxed IRA Distributions          (Tax Return Transcript or signed copy of Tax Return)
  • Untaxed Pensions                      (Tax Return Transcript or signed copy of Tax Return)
  • IRA Deductions                          (Tax Return Transcript or signed copy of Tax Return)
  • Tax-Exempt Interest                   (Tax Return Transcript or signed copy of Tax Return)

Items to be Verified

1.   Dependency Status

An independent student will be required to verify dependency status by completing the Independent Verification Worksheet. In addition, the specific application item that makes the student independent will be verified as follows:

  • Dependents other than children or spouse – Verifiable documentation showing that the student has the means/resources to provide more than 50% of the dependent’s support in addition to proving that the dependent is not in the care of any other persons.
  • Member or Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces – Copy of the student’s DD214 showing that “Character of Service” is other than “dishonorable” or official documentation that shows upcoming release orders from a military branch stating intent to release.
  • Orphan/Foster Care/Ward of Court – Independent Student Status Verification Form with copies of death certificates, official court documentation confirming foster care or status as a ward of the court.
  • Emancipation/Legal Guardianship – Independent Student Status Verification Form with copies of official court documentation confirming emancipation or legal guardianship.
  • Unaccompanied Homeless Youth – Independent Student Status Verification Form with copies of official determination documentation from the high school/district liaison, emergency shelter/transitional housing director, or runaway/homeless youth director.

2.  Base Year Income

Mt. San Antonio College’s Financial Aid Office encourages students and parents to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval process to import data from their tax return and not change it. This is the fastest, easiest, and most secure method of meeting verification requirements.

  • For students/parents that successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval Process, a “2” will be indicated on the ISIR. The student/parent Income Tax Return Requirement on myMtSAC Portal will automatically appear with a “W” for waived. This will satisfy verification of income requirements and no further documentation will be required to verify tax return income, unless the student later changes the information and the code “2” is removed.
  • For students/parents who cannot or will not use the IRS Data Retrieval, copies of the 2013 IRS Tax Return Transcripts are required of all students/parents selected for verification who have filed or are required to file taxes. In lieu of Transcripts, signed copies of 2013 IRS Tax Returns, including all Schedules may be submitted.
  • The Financial Aid Specialist will know whether a person was required to file a tax return, what the correct filing status should be, and ensure that an individual is not being claimed as an exemption by more than one person in accordance to Publication 17 of the IRS, Your Federal Income Tax. If discrepancies are evident, verification cannot proceed until the student/parent files or amends with the IRS the appropriate tax forms.
  • If a student/parent is separated or divorced, but filed a joint tax return, W2 Forms will be required so as to determine the amount of income and taxes paid.
  • For students/parents who worked; however did not and were not required to file a 2013 IRS Tax Return, income earned from work will be reported on the Verification Worksheet.

3.  Other Untaxed Income/Benefits

The following will be verified from IRS Tax Return Transcripts, IRS Tax Returns, or IRS Data Retrieval:

  • Education Credits
  • Untaxed IRA Distributions
  • Untaxed Pensions
  • IRA Deductions
  • Tax-Exempt Interest

If taxes were not filed, these items will only be verified if there is evidence of a discrepancy.

4.  Discretionary Verification Items

Other untaxed income may be verified with the Agency Certification - Untaxed Income Form; however is not required unless there is evidence of a discrepancy.

5.  Child Support Paid

Child support paid will be verified by self-certification on the Verification Worksheet or on the Child Support Paid Form, unless there appears to be a discrepancy in the information submitted.

6.  Household Size

Household size will be verified by self-certification on the Verification Worksheet.

7.   Number in College

Number in College will be verified by self-certification on the Verification Worksheet. The college name will be required for each person who is enrolled at least half time. Parents are not included in this number.

8.  SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps)

SNAP Benefits will be verified by self-certification on the Verification Worksheet or on the Receipt of SNAP Benefits Form.

9.  Assets

Assets may be verified with the Asset Clarification Form; however is not required unless there is evidence of a discrepancy.

Professional Judgment

Financial Aid Administrators may use professional judgment on a case-by-case basis only to adjust the student’s cost of attendance or the data used to calculate the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) when special circumstances are apparent.

Professional judgment may be used to adjust income and asset data items due to recent unemployment or changes in income or assets. Professional judgment may be used to adjust the student’s cost of  attendance(COA) due to elementary/secondary tuition, expenses not covered by health insurance, or unusually high child care or dependent care costs. Professional judgment may also be used to determine dependency overrides.

The reason for the adjustment must be supported with documentation and it must relate to the special circumstances specific to the student. Decisions regarding adjustments are final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education.

Students requesting professional judgment consideration are encouraged to meet with a Financial Aid Specialist in order to review circumstances and determine eligibility consideration on a case-by-case basis.


Change in Income Policy

Criteria for determining those eligible for an income adjustment are as follows:

  • Change in Income requests will not be processed prior to June 16th for the upcoming school year in an effort to best project the family’s income and/or other data elements that are used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • The student/spouse and/or parent(s) whose income was reported on the FAFSA or Dream Act Application and used to calculate the EFC must now be at a loss of income/resources and be able to provide supporting documentation to validate the loss. A completed and signed Professional Judgment Request: Change in Income Form will be required.
  • If the student/spouse and/or parent(s) are receiving unemployment benefits by a state unemployment agency, the specified individual’s income will be adjusted to zero (0) for the purposes of adjusting data items on the student’s application for federal student aid. Unemployed individuals will submit valid documentation proving current receipt of unemployment benefits with dates no later than 90 days from the date of issuance.
  • Change in Income requests processed after January 1st (mid-year) for students/parents with taxable income will be required to submit new year tax forms prior to calculation.

Cost of Attendance (COA) Exceptions

Criteria for determining those eligible for a cost of attendance adjustment are as follows:

  • COA adjustments will not be processed prior to June 16th in an effort to verify the family’s unusual expens(s) incurred during the enrollment period.
  • The student/spouse and/or parent(s) reported on the FAFSA or Dream Act Application must have unusually high expenses warranting special circumstances and be able to provide supporting documentation to validate the expense(s). For unusually high child/dependent care expenses, a completed and signed Dependent Care Verification Form will be required.

Dependency Override

Circumstances for a dependency override include the dependent student who does not/cannot have contact with p arents for reasons such as abuse or abandonment. A parent’s unwillingness to provide information is not sufficient grounds for a dependency override.

Criteria for determining those eligible for a change in dependency status are as follows:

  • The student must have an extreme hardship situation whereas the student’s physical or emotional welfare would be jeopardized by contact with the parent(s) and must be able to provide supporting documentation to validate the circumstance(s).
  • Students are required to submit a Request for Consideration of Change in Dependency Status Form, including a Third Party Certification attesting the circumstances as well as other supporting evidence of circumstances if available.

Financial Aid Administrator Verification & Discretion

The Financial Aid Specialist, in the process of verification, has the discretion to verify any additional FAFSA or Dream Act Application items or information and to request any reasonable documentation that may be needed to substantiate the student’s financial aid application. If there is a legitimate discrepancy between the FAFSA or Dream Act Application and the verification documentation, the Financial Aid Specialist will document the discrepancy in the student’s file accordingly.

These policies will be made available to students at the Financial Aid Office upon request.

 

Revised: 2015

Mt. San Antonio College

1100 N. Grand Ave., Walnut, CA 91789
Phone: 909.274.7500 • VPhone: 909.895.6634
For emergencies, call Campus Police: 909.274.4555 Ι Text-A-Tip: 909.274.9560

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All college-printed materials and Web info are available in alternative formats upon request.
Contact Disabled Student Programs & Services: 909.274.4290 or TTY 909.594.3447.

The 504/508 ADA Coordinators are located in Bldg. 4–1460 and can be contacted at 909.274.4225.

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