Students who submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be selected for review in a process called verification. In this process, the Office of Financial Aid compares information provided on the FAFSA with tax forms (if requested) and other information. Federal law indicates that the Office of Financial Aid has the right to ask for this documentation before disbursing federal and state aid. All aid, including student loans, will not be finalized until verification has been completed and any corrections have been processed by the U.S. Department of Education.
The Office of Financial Aid will make any required corrections to the FAFSA based on the documentation provided. The student will receive an updated Student Aid Report (SAR) from the U.S. Department of Education which shows the corrections made. If these corrections change the student’s eligibility for aid, the student will also receive an updated award notice.
The documentation which is required to complete verification will be listed on the Student Requirements page on Ozone. Forms will indicate the specific year(s) for which information is being requested. To access Ozone:
- Log onto Ozone at ozone.owens.edu
- On the Financial Info tab, click on unsatisfied student requirements in the Financial Aid Summary section.
The student, his/her spouse, and his/her parents, as applicable, may be asked to provide some or all of the following information.
Identity and use of financial aid
- Proof of identity (an unexpired, valid, photo identification issued by a U.S. government entity).
- Statement of educational purpose confirming that financial aid will only be used for educational expenses.
Completion of high school or equivalent
- Proof of high school completion or proof of completion of a state-authorized equivalent (such as GED, HiSET, or TASC), homeschooling, or an associate’s degree or higher. Individuals who served in the military and are unable to obtain an official high school transcript may submit their DD Form 214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty if the form indicates that they are a high school graduate or equivalent.
- Documentation of the names, ages, and college enrollment status of the individuals in the household, along with their relationship to the student.
- Tax filers: Individuals who were required to file a federal income tax return must provide information from the IRS confirming federal income tax information for the requested year. Students and parents are highly encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA in order to copy IRS information to the FAFSA. Individuals who choose not to, or are unable to, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool must provide an IRS Tax Return Transcript or a signed copy of their federal income tax return. For tax years 2018 and later, this includes Form 1040, plus Schedules 1, 2, and 3 (if filed). Confirmation of eligibility to file under a particular filing status may be required. Copies of all W-2’s for the student, spouse, and/or parents for the requested year may also be required.
- Rollovers: Individuals who have a rollover listed on their federal tax return for the requested year must submit a signed copy of their federal tax return showing it was a rollover; or a copy of their 1099-R, along with the IRS Tax Return Transcript.
- Amended returns: Individuals who filed an amendment to their federal income tax return must submit the following:
- an IRS transcript or any other IRS tax transcript for the tax year that includes all of the income and tax information to be reported on the FAFSA, or a signed copy of the original federal income tax return; AND
- a signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X which has been filed with the IRS.
- Filing extensions: Individuals who have been granted a filing extension by the IRS must provide the following:
- Documentation of filing extension
- Individuals who only have an automatic six-month extension to file must file their return, then provide an IRS Tax Return Transcript, provide a signed copy of their federal income tax return and schedules, or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Individuals who have been granted a filing extension beyond the automatic extension must provide a copy of the IRS Form 4868 “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return”, and a copy of the IRS approval of an additional extension.
- Instead of providing IRS Form 4868, an individual called up for active duty or qualifying National Guard duty during war or other military operation or national emergency may provide a signed statement certifying that he/she has not filed a return or requested an extension because of this service.
- A copy of all W-2’s for the requested year,
- A signed statement certifying the following for the requested tax year:
- a tax return was not filed
- the sources and amounts of any income
- any adjusted gross income and the federal income tax paid from self-employment, and
- Confirmation of non-filing from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority dated on or after October 1 of the year that the FAFSA is available. Individuals can obtain the IRS documentation by checking box 7 on IRS Form 4506-T. Individuals who are unable to obtain this confirmation should contact Oserve for assistance.
- Documentation of filing extension
- Tax information not available: Individuals who filed a tax return, did not retain a copy, and whose information cannot be located by the IRS, must submit the following:
- Copies of all W-2’s or an equivalent document,
- Documentation from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority that indicates that the individual’s tax account information cannot be located; AND
- A signed statement that indicates that the individual did not retain a copy of his/her tax account information. Self-employed individuals must list their adjusted gross income and income taxes paid on the statement. Additional documentation of income may be requested.
- W-2’s not available: Individuals who are required to submit W-2’s but did not keep a copy should request a duplicate from the employer who issued the original or from the government agency that issued the equivalent document.
- Non-filers: Individuals who did not file a federal tax return for the requested year because they were not required to do so must provide copies of all W-2’s for the requested year, a signed statement certifying that they have not filed and are not required to file, and a listing of the sources and amounts of income earned from work. Individuals other than dependent students must provide confirmation of non-filing from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority dated on or after October 1 of the year that the FAFSA is available. Individuals who are unable to obtain this confirmation should contact Oserve for assistance.
- IRS identity theft: Individuals who were a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft must submit the following: .
- a Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript or equivalent document obtained from the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490; AND
- a signed and dated statement by the tax filer indicating that he or she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft of which the IRS has been made aware
- Foreign tax returns and wage statements: Individuals who filed a foreign income tax return must provide a transcript (obtained at no cost) of the foreign tax return from the country’s central government taxing authority, along with an English translation (if the return is not in English). If a transcript cannot be obtained at no cost, a signed copy of the original income tax return may be provided. Individuals who did not file and were not required to file a tax return, for whom W-2’s are requested, may be required to provide a copy of the wage and tax statement from the foreign taxing authority.
- Family support: Confirmation of a family’s ability to provide sufficient financial support for the number of household family members reported.
- Support of a dependent: Documentation of a student’s ability to provide more than 50% of the financial support for a dependent.
- Clarifying documents: Documentation to clarify income and adjustments to income as reported on the FAFSA.
- Documentation to confirm the value of assets owned or partially-owned by the student, spouse, or parent(s), including cash, savings, checking, investments, businesses, and investment farms.
- Additional documentation as requested by the Office of Financial Aid. This includes, but is not limited to documentation to confirm information provided on the FAFSA; information provided on application materials or forms; or information provided verbally or in writing to college faculty or staff.
Students should contact Oserve for assistance with verification requirements if they are unable to provide the required documentation due to one or more of the following situations:
For dependent students:
- The parents are residing in a country other than the United States and cannot be contacted by normal means of communication.
- Both of the student’s parents are mentally incapacitated.
For independent students who are/were married:
- The spouse is deceased.
- The spouse is mentally incapacitated.
For refugees, asylees, or victims of human trafficking:
- Documentation of completion of secondary school education cannot be obtained.
Checking the status of verification
Students can check the status of their verification on Ozone. On the Student Requirements page, the requested verification items will be listed. Below is a listing of what each status means:
Received, not yet reviewed: Your verification materials have not been reviewed. They are generally reviewed within two weeks after being submitted. Allow additional processing time near the beginning of each semester.
Incomplete: Information that is required for your verification is missing. Please review your Active Messages on Ozone or contact Oserve.
Completed: Your verification has been completed.
In order to ensure that your verification is complete by the time first disbursements occur, all requested documentation should be submitted to Oserve as soon as possible. Semester priority deadlines are listed on each of the verification forms.
Verification must be completed by the deadlines listed below.
- For the Federal Pell Grant, verification must be completed within 120 days of your last date of attendance, or the federal deadline, whichever is earlier.
- For state aid which requires verification, verification must be completed during the semester.
- For Federal Work-Study, verification must be completed prior to the 60th day of the semester in which the student is receiving Federal Work-Study funds.
- For all other aid, verification must be completed within 113 days of your last date of attendance, or one week prior to the end of the spring semester, whichever is earlier.
Students who do not complete verification within the required deadlines will not qualify for federal aid and certain state and college aid programs. Federal and state aid funds will not be disbursed, and refunds, if any, will not be available until verification is completed and corrections (if necessary) have been processed and sent to the college from the U.S. Department of Education.
Students who are selected for verification after financial aid disbursements have been made will receive a written notice containing a deadline to submit documents, which is approximately 30 days after the date of the letter. If documents are not submitted by the deadline, the student will be ineligible for the grant aid which was received. If the grant aid is not repaid, the student will be considered to have an overpayment and will become ineligible for all federal financial aid at any school.
Students who are selected for additional verification after financial aid disbursements have been made will receive a written notice containing a deadline to submit documents, which is approximately 30 days after the date of the letter. If documents are not submitted by the deadline, the student will be ineligible for all federal aid which was received, and may also become ineligible for other aid. The student will be responsible for repaying funds to the U.S. Department of Education. If the grant aid is not repaid, the student will be considered to have an overpayment and will become ineligible for all federal financial aid at any school.
The Office of Financial Aid is required by federal regulations to refer students to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General if there is evidence of potential fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with the student’s application, including but not limited to false claims of independent student status, false claims of citizenship, use of false identities, forgery of signatures, and false statements of income.
All information is subject to change based on changes to federal law, regulation, or college policy and procedure. If changes are made, students must abide by the new policy.