Verification Waived for 2021-2022

Change Affects V1 students for most FAFSA information

The Department of Education announced changes Tuesday to verification requirements, including the temporary waiver of verification requirements for most FAFSA information, for the 2021-2022 award year.

The department posted an electronic notice to announce the waiver. Institutions are no longer required to complete verification for students in the V1 category. Global’s Chief Operating Officer Chyrl Ayers said more than 80 percent of students in Global’s client base who are selected for verification fall into the V1 category.

For students selected for V4 or V5, institutions must still verify identity/statement of educational purpose and high school completion status. For V5, only those two items need to be verified. Institutions will not be required to verify any of the other items for students selected for verification group V5. This waiver remains in effect for the remainder of the 2021-2022 award year.

Please note that subsequent ISIRs must still be reviewed and institutions must still resolve conflicting information.

If a college or university has conflicting information about a student’s eligibility, including documentation obtained during the verification process, the institution must resolve the discrepancies before disbursing Title IV funds, ED said.

The waiver, which was effective July 13, 2021, is part of COVID-19 relief efforts, designed to help millions of students and colleges facing challenges and barriers because of the pandemic, the department said.

“This waiver may apply no matter where institutions are in the verification process, e.g., if documents have been collected or requested, but verification has not been completed, or if an institution has not started the verification process,” the Department of Education said in a Dear Colleague letter from deputy assistant secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation, Annmarie Weisman.

“However, this does not exempt institutions from reviewing all documents for conflicting information concerning a student’s eligibility.” Requirements for review are outlined in the Dear Colleague letter. Because the change is mid-year, ED said many CPS transactions will continue to be selected for verification.

The changes are meant to help eliminate barriers for students, and especially low-income students, who have been affected by the pandemic. They are also meant to aid colleges, which experienced a drop in enrollment last year because of COVID-19, and college financial aid teams, who can direct more time and resources to helping students with emergency aid, ED said in announcing the change to the federal student aid administrative process.

ED said the waiver is intended to alleviate “some of the burden faced by financial aid administrators, allowing them to focus their time and resources on administering emergency relief funds” and helping students access emergency financial aid grants provided by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, or HEERF.

You can read the announcement from ED here.

You can access the Dear Colleague letter here.