Admission & Financial Aid
Financial Aid Verification Policy
Verification is the process of confirming the accuracy of student reported data on financial aid applications. The Office of Financial Aid at Concordia University Chicago verifies those students selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). However, the Office of Financial Aid may choose to verify a student if a discrepancy is detected or if a condition exists that is unusual and warrants further investigation.
Students are initially notified that they are selected for verification on the FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR). Once the Office of Financial Aid receives the electronic ISIR, an automated Banner overnight process will create missing items for those students selected for verification based on their verification tracking group. A Document Request Letter is generated for new students and all students (new and returning) receive email notifications informing the student that they have been selected for verification and lists the required verification items needed to complete their financial aid file. New undergraduate students receive an Estimated Financial Aid Award Letter along with the Document Request Letter. The Financial Aid Award Letter is stamped “estimated” pending review of final verification items. Any student with a rejected FAFSA and/or C-Flags will not be awarded until verification process has been complete. The letter/email notification informs the student how the information can be submitted; by mail, fax, or scanned and sent electronically. All verification items must be submitted by the last day of classes of the final semester of enrollment for the academic year.
All verification items are tracked on Banner’s financial aid tracking system as received by the Financial Aid Coordinator. Verification items must be legible, acceptable and must include the student’s ID number. Verification items are then forwarded to the appropriate Financial Aid Counselor according to alpha section (last name). If documentation is incomplete or additional supporting documentation is necessary, students will be notified by their Financial Aid Counselor via email and a phone call. Financial Aid Counselors will review each file by date order (date received) and submit FAFSA corrections as applicable. Once the subsequent ISIR correction is received, the Financial Aid Counselor will upload the new ISIR transaction confirming that all corrections were processed successfully. If the file is complete, the Financial Aid Counselor will update the verification status on Banner to “Verified.” The final verified ISIR transaction will be locked; subsequent ISIR transactions will have to be reviewed by Financial Aid Counselors as they appear on the ISIR Discrepancy Report. The Financial Aid Counselor will then manually repackage new students who were previously sent an estimated Financial Aid Award Letter to determine any changes to their eligibility. The Banner overnight awarding process will then package returning students. Financial Aid Counselors will review the UG Returning Student Packaging Report generated the following day to ensure that students have been awarded accordingly.
There are certain circumstances that excuse students from completing verification. The Financial Aid Counselor must document (in student’s file or within Banner system) why the student is not required to complete verification. The following circumstances apply:
- Death of student during the award year
- Not a financial aid Title IV recipient
- Student who is eligible to receive only unsubsidized loans
- Student was selected for verification after ceasing to be enrolled at the school and after all Title IV aid has disbursed
Data Elements to be Verified and Required Documentation
- Adjusted Gross Income, Taxes Paid, and most Untaxed Income can be verified using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS tax information is imported directly to FAFSA). If a student and/or parent cannot or will not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, they must submit an IRS tax transcript for the student and parent (if dependent), or spouse (if independent, if applicable). If a student/parent/spouse did not file a tax return, he/she must submit all W-2s and complete/sign the Verification Worksheet listing any income for which a W-2 was not received.
- Household Size is verified by comparing the Verification Worksheet to the ISIR household size data. If student is considered dependent, student and parent must sign the Verification Worksheet. If student is considered independent, student and spouse (if applicable) must sign the Verification Worksheet. Financial Aid Counselors must correct any discrepancies before further processing.
- Family members enrolled at least half-time in college are verified by comparing the Verification Worksheet to the ISIR Number in College data. Financial Aid Counselors must correct any discrepancies before further processing.
- Receipt of food stamps – If student, parent, or spouse (if independent and applicable), indicated receipt of food stamps on the FAFSA, then the student, parent, or spouse must verify this information on the signed Untaxed Income Verification Form and must submit supporting documentation from the benefit agency.
- Child support – If student, parent, or spouse (if independent and applicable), indicated receipt of child support on the FAFSA, then the student, parent, or spouse must verify this information on the signed Untaxed Income Verification Form. The information to be verified includes: the amount paid, name of child(ren) supported, and to whom it was paid. Financial Aid Counselors may request supporting documentation to resolve any conflicting information.
Rejected FAFSA and C-Flags
Once the Office of Financial Aid receives the electronic ISIR, an automated Banner overnight process will create missing items for those students with rejected FAFSAs and/or C-Flag issues. A Document Request Letter is generated for new students and all students (new and returning) receive email notifications informing them of their rejected FAFSA and/or C-Flags. Any student with a rejected FAFSA and/or C-Flags will not be awarded until verification process has been complete. The following include the different C-Flags and C-Codes as listed on the ISIR. The Financial Aid Counselors review the SAR Comment Codes and Text for the appropriate aid year to determine appropriate resolution for C-Flags.
Common C-Flag Codes:
- Selective Service Match: 30, 33, and 57
- DHS Match: 46, 105, 109, 141, 142, and 144
- Social Security Administration Citizenship Status: 146
- Student’s Social Security Number Match: 63 and 64
- Veterans Affairs Status Match: 162, 173, and 180
- NSLDS - Including but not limited to:
- Potential Pell Overpayment: 20, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 346, and 347
- Unusual Enrollment History: 359 and 360
- Responses to Question 23/Drug Conviction: 53, 54, 56, and 58
Subsequent ISIR Transactions
Financial Aid Counselors receive an ISIR discrepancy report after ISIRS have been loaded to the Banner System every morning. The ISIR discrepancy report includes students who have subsequent ISIR transactions due to changes to their NSLDS Award and/or Loan History, changes on FAFSA done by the student or other schools, etc.
Federal Financial Aid (Title IV) Fraud Policy
In accordance with federal regulations, it is CUC policy that any student, employee, or other individual who is suspected to have engaged in fraud or criminal misconduct in terms of misreporting or altering a student’s Title IV aid application, in an attempt to increase or fraudulently obtain federal funds, will be investigated by the University. Any individual suspecting fraud must report their concerns directly to the Director of Financial Aid. Examples may include, but are not limited to: identity fraud, false claims of citizenship, false claims of independent status, forgery of signatures and false statements of income.
Upon review, if University administration believes there is credible evidence that fraud or criminal misconduct has occurred, the case will be referred to the Department of Education’s (DOE) Office of Inspector General (OIG) via the Complaint Form found at www.ed.gov, or via phone at 800-MIS-USED.
While an investigation is pending, processing and disbursement of a student’s financial aid will be suspended.