In addition to standard application materials, you may be required to provide our office with additional information to complete your application and finalize your award. Listed below are some common documents or processes that students may have to complete. You can review the status of your financial aid application by clicking on "Banner Self Service" on the left side bar.
Q. What does verification mean and why was I selected?
A. Federal student aid programs offered by the U.S. Department of Education provide the largest source of student aid in America. To ensure that accurate data is being used in the awarding of these funds, the federal government requires that each institution's financial aid office verify the information, from a selection of students receiving need-based federal aid, reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The majority of these applications are selected at random and selection can occur at anytime throughout the award year. However, there are occasions where the responses to certain questions can lead to selection for verification. For instance, a student who reports that her parents are divorced, while at the same time lists income for both parents, may be selected for verification in order to clarify the discrepant information.
Q. What information is being verified?
A. We verify factors that have a significant effect on the family contribution, such as:
- Number of members reported in your household,
- Number of siblings enrolled at least half time in a degree granting program,
- Adjusted gross income, as listed on federal tax returns,
- Federal taxes paid, and
- Untaxed income and benefits, such as child support, and alimony.
Q. What happens to my federal funds while my information is being verified?
A. Your federal financial aid is not disbursed to your student account until the verification process is complete. If you have a balance due on your student account, you should not delay making a payment. Contact the financial aid office if you need assistance.
Q. How can I minimize the delay in receiving my federal funds, if I am selected for federal verification?
A. Make sure that you send all documents requested by the Office of Financial Aid in a timely manner and ensure that each document has the required signatures and dates. For example, all tax returns must be signed and dated.
Q. What if there is a change in my financial aid award as a result of the verification?
A. If the verification process reveals information that differs from the information provided on your initial application, it is possible that an adjustment will be made to your financial aid award. If your award is adjusted, you will receive an email notification to view your Banner Self Service account. You can contact the Office of Financial aid to learn more about the reasons for the change. You should view your Student Account to determine if the change to your award has resulted in a balance due to the University.
Verification of Sibling in College
Q. Why do you verify that my sibling is in college?
A. Your financial aid award is based on the information supplied in your application materials. One of the most important factors in determining a parent contribution is your parents' expected contribution towards the cost of any sibling(s) who plans to attend a post-secondary undergraduate program at least half-time during the academic year while you are enrolled at Brown. The calculation of the Expected Family Contribution takes into consideration the financial burden placed on a family when more than one sibling is attending college at the same time. In order for us to verify that your sibling's have enrolled as planned, the Office of Financial Aid sends you a Sibling Enrollment Verification Form in August and requests that this form is completed and returned by mid-October. This form requires official verification by the institution that your sibling (s) attend. If you know of changes in your sibling (s)'s enrollment before you receive the Sibling Enrollment Verification, you should inform us as soon as possible. Any changes in the original information that was reported, or failure to provide verification in a timely fashion, will result in an adjustment to your Brown financial aid award. It is your responsibility to ensure that the Sibling Enrollment Verification Form is returned to Brown. This form can be downloaded from the Forms Section each August.
Submission of Extension to File
Q. What should I do if my parents filed an extension on their income tax return?
A. Your parents should send the Office of Financial Aid a copy of their tax filing extension document and their most recent W2's as soon as possible (for Returning Students, with the Renewal Application). If we do not already have one on file, your parents should also send a copy of their most recent tax return that was filed from the previous year. Remember that tax returns should always include any schedules and wages statements. Until we receive actual income tax information, we will typically award you an ESTIMATED financial aid package based on the projected income information you provide. University Scholarship and all federal aid will be awarded for the fall semester only.
As soon as your parents complete the tax return for which an extension has been filed, they should submit a signed copy to the Office of Financial Aid. Remember that tax returns should always include any schedules and W2s. Keep in mind that our office will not be able to finalize your financial aid award until a copy of the filed return is received. However, your application for financial aid will be considered on time as long as all required application materials, along with the tax extension document, are submitted by the published deadline.