Application and Verification Guide

Introduction

This guide is intended for college financial aid administrators and counselors who help students begin the aid process—filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, verifying information, and making corrections and other changes to the information reported on the FAFSA.

Throughout the Federal Student Aid Handbook we use “college,” “school,” and “institution” interchangeably unless a more specific use is given. Similarly, “student,” “applicant,” and “aid recipient” are synonyms. “Parents” in this volume refers to the parents of dependent students, and “you” refers to the primary audience of the Handbook: financial aid administrators at colleges. “We” indicates the U.S. Department of Education (the Department, ED), and “federal student aid” and “Title IV aid” are synonymous terms for the financial aid offered by the Department.

We appreciate any comments that you have on the Application and Verification Guide, as well as all the volumes of the FSA Handbook. We revise the text based on questions and feedback from the financial aid community, so please write us at fsaschoolspubs@ed.gov about how to improve the Handbook so that it is always clear and informative.

Changes for 2021-2022

In Chapter 1, under the “Types of Application” section, we provided additional information where students can obtain and download the myStudentAid app.

We added the definition of a valid ISIR or SAR under the “Output Documents: the SAR and ISIR” section in Chapter 1.

Throughout Chapter 2, all dates and pertinent tax return and schedule information have been updated to conform to the requirements associated with the 2021-2022 processing year and the 2019 base tax year.

Under the “IRS Data Retrieval Tool” section in Chapter 2 we provided new information pertaining to the DRT’s ability to automatically answer the question about whether or not a tax filer filed a Schedule 1, including current exceptions.

In Chapter 3, under the “Automatic Zero EFC” section, we increased the income threshold for automatic zero consideration to $27,000.

In Chapter 3 we removed the EFC calculation worksheets and tables from the end of the chapter and instead refer individuals to the 2021-2022 EFC Formula Guide.

We added a sentence in Chapter 4 under the “Reporting results for groups V4 and V5” section reminding schools that when reporting corrections for V4 or V5 outcomes in FAA Access to CPS Online, the latest outcome results will supplant any previously reported outcome results.

We provided examples of acceptable signatures for paper and electronic tax returns on electronic tax returns under the “Using the tax return” section in Chapter 4.

In Chapter 4, under the “Special situations” section, we clarified that an IRS Request Flag value of 07 will be returned if the tax filer or the IRS amend a tax filer’s return.

Under the “Identity and statement of educational purpose” section in Chapter 4, we added a definition of a valid unexpired government-issued photo ID for identity proposes including the exclusion of military IDs.

In Chapter 4, we removed the section discussing paper FAFSA corrections by phone with the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) as that functionality was removed from FSAIC a couple of years ago.

We removed the suggested text from the end of Chapter 4 and instead refer individuals to the appropriate electronic announcement to review the suggested text for the 2021-2022 processing year.

In Chapter 5, under the “Professional Judgment” section, we added clarifying guidance indicating that a school cannot perform professional judgement for a student after that student ceases to be eligible, including when the student is no longer enrolled.

In Chapter 5, under the “Referral of Fraud Cases” section, we added the new fraud ring reporting procedures schools need to follow when communicating with the Inspector General’s Office.

Last Modified: 04/07/2021 • Published: 03/28/2021