AUTOMATIC ZERO EFC AND SIMPLIFIED NEEDS TEST VERIFICATION GUIDANCE

Q – Must an institution complete verification of all FAFSA/ISIR information identified in Verification Tracking Groups V1, V5 or V6, even if the selected applicant is eligible for either of the alternate expected family contribution (EFC) calculations: Automatic Zero EFC (Auto Zero EFC) or Simplified Needs Test (SNT)?

A – Generally, yes for SNT-eligible applicants and no for Auto Zero EFC-eligible applicants.

The only difference in the EFC calculation for SNT-eligible applicants is the elimination of assets, and assets are not required to be verified. Therefore, SNT-eligible applicants who are assigned to Verification Tracking Groups V1, V5 or V6 are required to verify all relevant FAFSA/ISIR information listed for the Verification Tracking Group they are placed in.

For Auto Zero EFC-eligible applicants placed in Verification Tracking Groups V1, V5 or V6 (for the 2014-2015 award year through the 2016–2017 award year), the information that must be verified varies slightly between dependent and independent applicants.


For dependent applicants, only the following FAFSA/ISIR information must be verified:

The parents’ AGI if they were tax filers;

The parents’ income earned from work if they were nontax filers; and

The receipt of SNAP benefits (food stamps) by any household member if the receipt of these benefits qualified the applicant for Auto Zero EFC.


For independent applicants, only the following FAFSA/ISIR information must be verified:

The applicant’s and spouse’s AGI if they were tax filers;

The applicant’s and spouse’s income earned from work, if they were nontax filers;

The number of household members to determine if the independent applicant has one or more dependents other than a spouse; and

The receipt of SNAP benefits (food stamps) by any household member if the receipt of these benefits qualified the applicant for Auto Zero EFC.

In addition to the FAFSA/ISIR information listed above, dependent and independent applicants placed in Verification Tracking Group V5 must also verify their high school completion status and identity/statement of educational purpose. The guidance above continues to apply for the 2017–2018 and subsequent award years, except applicants are no longer assigned to Verification Tracking Group V6 and SNAP is no longer a verifiable item.