Other untaxed income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, and child support paid have been eliminated as verification items for the 2017-18 year to reduce burden on institutions and families, the Department of Education (ED) announced in the Federal Register and in a corresponding Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) GEN-16-07 released this week.
Every year, ED analyzes the results of prior-years' verification to determine whether certain verification items should be retained, and/or other FAFSA data items should be added as verification items. ED's analysis showed no significant changes to applicants' expected family contributions (EFCs) due to SNAP or Child Support Paid being verified, so those items have been dropped as verification items.
Another significant change based on ED's analysis is the removal of Verification Tracking Group V6 (Household Resources Verification Group) based on feedback from schools that the minimal, if any, changes to applicants' EFC after verification did not justify the high level of administrative burden on both selected applicants and institutions. The DCL reminds institutions of their authority to require applicants to verify additional FAFSA information if there are concerns about applicants with very low incomes.
These changes will result in some re-shuffling of the 2017-18 Verification Tracking Groups, which are listed in the DCL.
The Federal Register and DCL also review the acceptable documentation for each verification item. New for 2017-18, selected applicants who are non filers or who have filed tax extensions will be required to submit confirmation of non-filing from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority, in addition to the signed statement and W-2s. Keep in mind that with the implementation of prior-prior year, there will be far fewer selected applicants with outstanding tax extensions at the time of verification.
As previously announced in the amended DCL GEN-15-11, a DD Form 214 Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty is also listed as acceptable documentation to verify a student's high school completion if it indicates that the individual is a high school graduate or equivalent.
Publication Date: 4/7/2016