Recently the department provided updated guidance on acceptable documentation for FAFSA information selected for verification in a series of questions and answers posted to the department’s Verification Q&A page. Here’s a summary of the latest guidance.

Q – Must an institution complete verification for students placed in verification groups V4 or V5 who are only eligible for unsubsidized student financial assistance?

A – An institution should verify only high school completion and identity/statement of educational purpose for a student who is only eligible for unsubsidized student financial assistance and who was placed in Verification Tracking Groups V4 or V5. This will help ensure that only eligible students receive aid and will improve the integrity of the Title IV, HEA programs. Institutions need not verify any of the other FAFSA information listed under Verification Tracking Group V5 for such students.

Q – The Department has provided guidance on how to obtain verification of non-filing from the IRS. What do individuals who are subject to foreign tax authorities do?

A – If another tax authority can provide documentation similar to the IRS that indicates the individual did not file taxes for the appropriate tax year, we expect the individual to request such documentation and provide it to the institution. If such documentation does not exist, or if the individual is unable to obtain the documentation, the institution may accept a signed and dated statement from the individual stating either that the tax authority does not provide such documentation or that the individual was unable to obtain the documentation after contacting the tax authority.

Since nontax filers selected for verification are already required to provide a signed and dated statement related to their claim of being a nonfiler, those nontax filers may also include in that statement the attestation specified above.

Q – Must an institution collect documentation of an applicant’s high school completion status for graduate students placed in Verification Tracking Groups V4 or V5?

A – An institution is not required to collect proof of high school status if admission into the graduate program requires the completion of at least two years of undergraduate coursework.