By Rick Cox
The Department of Education announced today that it has waived most of verification for the 2022-2023 award year, similar to what occurred in the 2021-2022 award year. Verification will still be required for identity and Statement of Educational Purpose. However, as a reminder, the department has suspended the in-person notary requirement during the COVID emergency. Students may submit these documents directly to the school in person, by mail or by providing them electronically by email or uploading a photo using their phone.
The change is effective May 18, 2022, with the department’s announcement.
This verification waiver for the 2022-2023 award year applies no matter where a college is in the process of verification for a student. Financial aid teams will need to verify the documents they have received. But they will not need to hold aid pending additional verification documents except for the verification of identity and the Statement of Educational Purpose.
For example, a student was selected for V1. You have received the verification document for household size and number in college and there weren’t any discrepancies. However, you are still waiting for the tax transcript to complete verification. With this new waiver, you will not need to wait for the tax transcript. Verification is complete and nothing further is needed. If you receive the tax transcript, you must review it similar to normal verification requirements. However, if you never receive the tax transcript, you do not need to follow up and try to obtain it.
The changes announced today are similar to the changes announced in July 2021, when verification requirements were waived to assist students and financial aid offices facing challenges and barriers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial aid teams will need to verify identity and Statement of Educational Purpose for students selected for verification groups V4 or V5. Colleges must still review all documents for conflicting information about a student’s eligibility.
You can read the department’s announcement in DCL GEN-22-06 here: https://fsapartners.ed.gov/knowledge-center/library/dear-colleague-letters/2022-05-18/changes-2022-2023-verification-requirements
Rick Cox is Global’s Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs and Compliance