Relieving the Verification Burden

"Each year, millions of students who receive federal financial aid are required to undergo an additional review of their financial information by the Department of Education called verification, a process that has proven to be burdensome for both students and institutions. But the department could ease that burden by modifying some of its own processes, according to a recent report from the National College Attainment Network and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators," Inside Higher Ed reports. 

..."Evidence has shown that verification can even keep students from enrolling in college if they’re unable to complete the process, said Jill Desjean, a policy analyst at NASFAA, underscoring the importance of reducing that burden. And institutions can feel the strain, too—a survey conducted by NASFAA found that one in five financial aid administrators spend at least half of their time processing verification requests.

The department temporarily changed its verification process for the 2021–22 application cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic so that it was more targeted, focusing only on identity theft and fraud. But it announced in September that the process would be returning to normal for the 2022–23 application cycle, a decision that both NCAN and NASFAA opposed, given that 'all of the reasons that ED cited for offering these waivers previously will continue to exist next year,' said Justin Draeger, president and CEO of NASFAA."

..."In changing how its algorithm selects students for verification, the department can focus on students who are likely to have changes to their expected family contribution (EFC) while excluding FAFSA filers who transferred information directly from the IRS or who have already completed verification in the previous year with no significant change to their EFC.

'There are groups of students that probably just don’t need to have to prove again that they’re poor,' Desjean said. 'There are certain things you can tell from looking at a person’s tax return or looking at other demographic factors about them, and it’s pretty clear that there isn’t much of a way to lie about what they’re doing.'"

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.



Publication Date: 11/11/2021

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