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Verification Guidelines

Verification is the process by which the Financial Aid Office compares the information on the financial aid application (FAFSA or CADAA) with source documents provided by the student to verify the accuracy of the application’s information.  These policies are to be used in conjunction with the Department of Education and the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) verification guidelines.  Mt. San Jacinto College will verify the information on the Student Aid Report (SAR) or ISIR for all students who complete the application process for federal and state financial aid and who are selected for verification by the Department of Education or the California Student Aid Commission edits.  In addition, MSJC may select files for verification to resolve conflicting information or institutional edits.

Verification Selection

A random selection of the financial aid population may be selected for verification by the Department of Education or California Student Aid Commission. The Financial Aid Office will perform additional verifications on all students who have conflicting data in the file documents.

Verification Deadlines for 2023-2024

The key application deadline, regulated by the U.S. Department of Education, will be followed at MSJC and can be located in the Department of Education Verification Guide.

Deadline for 2023-2024: Students who fail to turn in all documents required to complete verification by the last day of instruction for the semester of attendance, may be ineligible for 2023-2024 financial aid.

  • Fall 2023 – December 9, 2023
  • Spring 2024- May 17, 2024
  • Fall 2023 & Spring 2024- May 17, 2024

*The deadline is extended for Summer 2024 attendance to July 19, 2024. MSJC reserves the right to cut off applications earlier based on workload.

Notice of Verification Requirements

Students will be notified of the documents that must be submitted through their Student Forms portal to complete the verification process.  Financial Aid Acknowledgement and Missing Information Letters are generated to their MSJC student email account and will direct students to view their Financial Aid Checklist onSelf-Servicefor required documentation and any other actions required to complete the verification process.  *Note:  Students who have not previously utilized Student Forms will be required to register their account .



If discrepancies are found between the documents submitted for verification and the information on the SAR or ISIR, the following procedures will be used for making the corrections:

  • SAR – Corrections to income or asset figures, household size, and dependency will be made by the college (MSJC) to obtain an accurate need analysis of your financial aid application information. If corrections are needed, the data will be sent to the Central Processor to produce an updated electronic Student Aid Report (SAR).
  • Award changes – If corrections to the SAR due to verification result in a change in the student’s award, the student will be sent a revised Offer Letter notification by email.  Financial aid notifications are produced daily for new awards and changes to awards.

Dependency Status

Dependency status refers to whether a financial aid applicant is dependent or independent. This will determine whose information you include on the FAFSA or CA Dream Act application. If you’re a dependent student, you will report your and your parents’ information. If you’re an independent student, you will report your own information (and, if you’re married, your spouse’s).

Federal regulations consider you a dependent student for financial aid purposes unless you meet one of the following criteria (An independent student may be required to verify their status by filling out specific documents related to the specific application item that makes the student independent):

  • You were born before January 1, 2000
  • You were married on or before the date you completed the FAFSA or CADAA
  • You will be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, or Ph.D., etc.) at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year
  • You are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • You have or will have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024
  • You have dependents (other than your children and spouse) who live with you and who will receive more than half of their support from you, between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024
  • At any time since you turned 13, both your parents were deceased, you were in foster care or were a dependent/ward of the court
  • You are/were an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your legal state of residence
  • You are/were in legal guardianship as determined by a court when you reached the age of majority in your legal state of residence
  • On or after July 1, 2023, your high school or school district homeless liaison determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.  Unaccompanied youth who are/were homeless are defined as:
  • 21 years of age or younger or still enrolled in high school as of the day you sign the FAFSA application
  • not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, or
  • lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing
  • On or after July 1, 2023, the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless. 

Verification of Household Size

  • Parent remarriage after applying

If the applicant is a dependent student and his parent remarries between the application and the verification process, the household size must include the new stepparent. 

  • Other adult legal dependents (other than spouse and children)

Other adult persons who live with the student and/or parents of a dependent student and receive 51% or more of their support from the student or dependent student’s parent as of the FAFSA or CA Dream Act signing date and will continue to do so for the academic year must submit documentation to verify this in order to be included in the household size.

Example: Alan’s parents pay $4000 support to his grandmother who lives with them. Alan’s grandmother receives $200 a month ($2,400 a year) from a retirement fund and $4,000 from Social Security.  She uses all of this support for her support.  Alan’s parents cannot consider his grandmother a dependent since the $4,000 they provide is not more than half of her total support of $9,400.

Verification of Income

All students selected for verification must verify their income by providing the correct document from the IRS.

If the student or parent filed taxes, they must submit a copy of their tax transcripts and/or parents’ tax transcripts (if the IRS Data Retrieval was not used). If a student or parent was required to file taxes and did not, verification cannot proceed until the student or parent submit a tax transcript or use the IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA (if available). The IRS Data Retrieval is not available on the CA Dream Act Application. 

  • If the student and their spouse or parents of a dependent student are separated or divorced, but filed a joint tax return, W-2 forms are required to determine the amount of income and taxes paid for the student or the custodial parent of a dependent student. (Custodial parent refers to the parent who had custody of the student or who the student last lived with.)  In the case of stepparents, both incomes will be used in the calculation.
  • If the student’s parent(s) filed an amended 2021 IRS tax return, the parents must provide both a 2021 IRS Tax Transcript and a signed copy of the 2021 IRS Form 1040X “Amended US Individual Tax Return that was filed with the IRS.
  • If an individual has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, provide the following documents: A copy of the IRS Form 4868 “Application for automatic Extension of Time to file US Individual Tax Return and copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment received for tax year 2021 and if self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individuals AGI and US Income tax paid for tax year 2021.
  • A victim of IRS identity theft who has been unable to obtain a 2021 IRS Tax Return Transcript or use the IRS DRT must provide a signed copy of the 2021 paper IRS income tax return that was filed with the IRS and a signed copy of IRS Form 14039 “Identity Theft Affidavit” if one was submitted to the IRS. If a copy of Form 14039 was not retained or the IRS did not require you to submit one, the student or parent (if dependent) may provide one of the following:
  • A statement signed and dated explaining he/she was a victim of IRS identity theft, and that IRS is investigating the matter. The statement must also indicate that the individual submitted a Form 14039 to the IRS but did not keep a copy or that he/she was not required to file the form: or
  • A copy of a police report if it was filed related to the IRS identity theft. 

2021 Tax Filing Requirements

IF your filing status is... AND at the end of 2020
you were...*
THEN file a return if your gross
income was at least...**
Single under 65 $12,550
65 or older $14,250
Married filing jointly*** under 65 (both spouses) $25,100
65 or older (one spouse) $26,450
65 or older (both spouses) $27,800
Married filing separately any age $5
Head of household under 65 $18,800
65 or older $20,500
Qualifying widow(er) under 65 $25,100
65 or older $26,450

Self-employed individuals generally must file a tax return if their net income from self employment was at least $400.

If the student or parent did not file taxes and was not required to file taxes, copies of the student’s or parent’s W-2 forms will be requested, along with an IRS letter of non-filing (refer to student/parent income verification form). 

Income Reduction Policy

Financial aid eligibility may be reconsidered based on new financial information not reflected on your FAFSA or CA Dream Application. If you or your parents (if applicable) have experienced unforeseen financial changes due to divorce, death, or loss of employment, or if you have other exceptional circumstances, you may submit a Special Circumstance Appeal.

Students are requested to follow the procedures for completing a Special Circumstance Appeal. Keep in mind that an EFC can only be adjusted with proper documentation. Please ensure that your Special Circumstance Appeal is complete to avoid delays in processing.

 *Note: A Special Circumstance Appeal will not be considered until your financial aid file is complete.

Please keep in mind that not all circumstances will be eligible for consideration, and not all appeals will result in additional financial assistance.

A Special Circumstance Appeal should be requested from each of the colleges to which the student is considering attending, since the income adjustment is not shared.

Subsequent ISIR transaction

If the Financial Aid Office receives another ISIR transaction after the student’s file has already been awarded, the new ISIR transaction must be verified.  Any changes to data elements that result in a change in EFC must be verified by requesting additional documentation and placing a hold on the financial aid disbursement until resolved.

Updating marital status

A student’s dependency status may be updated based on a change in the student’s marital status if it is determined the update is necessary to address an inequity or to reflect more accurately the student’s ability to pay.  The deadline to appeal for consideration of change in dependency status due to change in marital status is July 22, 2023.

Professional Judgment

The Financial Aid Administrator may make exceptions to the above guidelines for unusual/extenuating circumstance of the student and/or parent.  All verification requirements must be met before applying professional judgment. Professional judgment cannot be used to waive general student eligibility requirements or to circumvent the intent of the law or regulations.