Verification Policy for Applicants Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The Verification Policy describes the process by which Sinclair will verify the accuracy of information provided on a student’s FAFSA in an effort to assure that federal aid is awarded to those who are eligible, as is required by the U. S. Department of Education (ED).  Approximately 30% of FAFSA applications are selected by the federal processor for verification each year.  Sinclair may also select any application for federal student aid for verification that the College believes is incorrect or has conflicting information.

Information to be Verified

Each year Sinclair will verify the information that an institution and an applicant is required to verify that is selected by the Secretary of the Department of Education and is published annually in the Federal Register.  For the 2015-2016 award year the FAFSA information selected by ED that may be required to be verified includes the following information for tax filers: 

  • Adjusted Gross Income; 
  • U.S Income Tax Paid;
  • Untaxed Portions of IRA Distributions;
  • Untaxed Portions of Pensions;
  • IRA Deductions and Payments;
  • Tax Exempt Interest Income;
  • Education Credits;
  • Household Size;
  • Number in College;
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Food Stamps) Benefits; or
  • Child Support Paid.

For the 2015-2016 award year, the FAFSA information selected by ED that may be required to be verified includes the following information for non-tax filers:

  • Income Earned from Work;
  • Household Size;
  • Number in College;
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Food Stamps) Benefits; or
  • Child Support Paid.

For the 2015-2016 award year the FAFSA information selected by ED that may be required to be verified includes certain other untaxed income on the 2015-2016 FAFSA:

  • Payments to tax-deferred pension and retirement savings plans (Questions 45a and 94a);
  • Child support received (Questions 45c and 94c);
  • Housing, food, and other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy, and others (Questions 45g and 94g);
  • Veterans’ non-education benefits (Questions 45h and 94h);
  • Other untaxed income (Questions 45i and 94i);
  • Money received or paid on the applicant’s behalf (Question 45j); or
  • Resources or benefits not appearing on the FAFSA, such as in-kind support from a relative or a government agency.

Please note that Sinclair may select FAFSA items for verification beyond the items required by ED.


Students will receive notification that they have been selected for verification via their email account.  If an applicant is selected for verification by ED, Sinclair will send an email to obtain the documentation as specified by ED that is acceptable to verify the FAFSA information.  The student, spouse, and parent(s), as applicable, may be asked to provide some documentation verifying certain data elements reported on the applicant’s FAFSA.  See a Sinclair Financial Aid Officer for more information on what constitutes acceptable documentation for verification or a copy of the full Verification Policy.

The applicant also receives a FAFSA processing e-mail notification from ED.  This email states that their FAFSA was processed and a Student Aid Report (SAR) was generated that indicates their eligibility status, and notifies them if they were selected for verification.

Deadlines to Complete Verification

If ED or Sinclair selects an applicant for verification under this policy, the applicant must complete the required actions specified or provide the requested documents or information.  Applicants are advised to complete the required actions or submit copies of the requested documents within 14 days of the request made by the Financial Aid & Scholarships office.  However, the Federal deadline for submitting verification documents is the earlier of: 120 days from the applicant’s last date of attendance or the federal deadline which is September 27th, 2014.  This includes making any necessary corrections, submitting those corrections to the Central Processing System, and submitting the new corrected Student Aid Report (SAR) to Sinclair.

Consequences for Failure to Complete Verification Timely

The following consequences occur for applicants who fail to complete verification in a timely manner:

  • Applicants who do not complete verification within the required deadlines will not qualify for federal financial aid. 
  • No federal grant or loan funds will be disbursed.
  • No federal financial aid loan will be originated
  • If a loan was originated prior to the notice of verification, any undisbursed monies will be returned to ED.
  • Student employment in a Federal Work Study job will be terminated.
  • If federal grant funds were disbursed prior to being selected for verification and there was an overpayment, the monies must be returned to the appropriate federal grant programs.
  • Federal financial aid will not be disbursed, and refunds, if any, will not be available until verification is completed and corrections (if necessary) have been processed and received at Sinclair from ED.

Interim Disbursements

Sinclair does not make interim disbursements.  No federal financial aid will be disbursed until the applicant has completed the verification process and they have been assigned a file complete date.

Referring Overpayments to the Department of Education

Sinclair does not make interim disbursements prior to the applicant’s completion of verification or after verification but before the receipt of the corrected SAR or ISIR, therefore an overpayment due to an interim disbursement will not occur.
If an applicant’s application is selected for verification after corrections are submitted and the student has been paid on the previous ISIR transaction and verification does not justify aid already disbursed, the applicant is responsible for repayment of all aid for which he is not eligible, unless future disbursements can be reduced.  If the applicant is responsible for repayment, funds are repaid as follows:

  • Sinclair will repay any federal grant program overpayments and the student must establish repayment arrangements with Sinclair;
  • The applicant may keep FWS wages earned unless they are proven guilty of fraud; and
  • The federal loan payments are made per the terms of the promissory note.

Resolving Conflicting Information

The Financial Aid & Scholarships office is required to review each applicant’s student information reported to the school from the completed FAFSA for conflicting information.  This review ensures that any conflicting information affecting a financial aid applicant’s eligibility are identified and resolved.  Federal financial aid will not be awarded or disbursed if there are unresolved discrepancies.

Updating and Correcting the FAFSA and Notification to Students Who Have Award Changes

Federal financial aid awards are based on the information provided on the applicant’s FAFSA.  Federal Programs such as the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, and the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan Program have strict eligibility requirements.  If the data reported on verification documents differs from the information reported on the applicant’s FAFSA, corrections may be required by the applicant and/or Sinclair and the applicant’s eligibility for funding from these programs may be affected.

If corrections are made that cause an adjustment in the student’s award, the Financial Aid & Scholarships office will send a new award letter via email to the applicant within 30 business days. 

Professional Judgment

An applicant whose FAFSA information is selected for verification is required to complete the verification process before Sinclair exercises its authority to make a professional judgment, under section 479A(a) of the HEA, to make changes to the applicant's cost of attendance or to the values of the data items required to calculate the EFC.

Reporting Fraud

Sinclair will report applicants to the Office of the Inspector General of the U. S. Department of Education after review, if any credible information indicates that the applicant engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with their application for federal student aid.

Obtaining a Tax Return Transcript

To obtain a copy of a Tax Return Transcript go to and click on “Get Transcript for Your Tax Records.”  Then click on the button to either “Get Transcript ONLINE” or “Get Transcript by MAIL.”  NOTE: AS OF MAY 28, 2015, THE “GET TRANSCRIPT ONLINE” FEATURE WAS TEMPORARILY DISABLED BY THE IRS.  Once the applicant creates an account, they may order their transcript online for immediate review or via U.S. mail services.   The applicant may also call the IRS Transcript Order line at 800-908-9946 or submit a Form 4506-T.  This form is available at the Financial Aid & Scholarships office.   The IRS Tax Return Transcript and not the IRS Tax Account Transcript should be requested when ordering via the telephone or by Form 4506-T. 

Please see a Sinclair Financial Aid Officer for additional information or for a copy of the full Verification Policy.