Trending AskRegs Q&A: Are There Exceptions To the Signature Requirement For Identity/Statement of Educational Purpose Due To Coronavirus?

Are There Exceptions To the Signature Requirement For Identity/Statement of Educational Purpose Due To Coronavirus?

Scenario: We are wondering if the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has provided any alternate ways a student can show us their ID and sign their Statement of Educational Purpose via Skype or some other similar method when our campus is no longer open to students for the next several weeks.

Answer: No. Existing verification rules still apply. According to the Application and Verification Guide (AVG) Volume of the FSA Handbook, a student who is unable to appear at your school to complete the Statement of Educational Purpose in person must submit to the school a statement and certification from a notary public that the student appeared before a notary public, along with the copy of the government-issued photo ID that the student presented to the notary. The statement submitted to your office must contain an original, “wet” signature. The AVG also states, “Currently the Department does not authorize the use of online notary services as an alternative to traditional, in person notary services.”

Refer to the documentation requirements outlined in 34 CFR 668.57(b) and (c) of the regulations and as indicated in the Federal Register and Dear Colleague Letter for the applicable award year.

NASFAA will continue to monitor this issue. If or when we receive further guidance from ED, we will update this AskRegs Q&A.

Student Aid Index: For additional information, try NASFAA's Student Aid Index. It is a central hub of all the important financial aid resources you need with direct links to legislation, regulation, Dear Colleague Letters, and other ED and NASFAA references. It is updated on a rolling basis with the latest news and changes. Search Verification.

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Publication Date: 3/18/2020

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