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Department of Education eases financial-aid verification requirements

Qualifying verification rolled back to identity, high school diploma/GED verification. Here’s what students need to know.

By Cory Phare

July 19, 2021

Two Crew in Blue members sitting at JSSB welcome desk.On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office announced that only identity verification and proof of high school/GED completion would be required for 2021-22 academic-year financial-aid eligibility in an attempt to provide post-pandemic hardship relief.

This change directly reduces barriers students have in obtaining or submitting verification documents, such as tax documents and documents verifying the number of people in their household. As a result of this new guidance, over 3,000 students had these required documents waived and 1,777 students were automatically awarded financial aid.

Additionally, due to Family Medical Leave Act and other reasons, the Metropolitan State University of Denver Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships is short by nine staff members. The DOE change means fewer files to review as well as fewer emails and phone calls, providing significant relief to a team that is already stretched thin.

The DOE’s move simplifies a crucial step in the enrollment process for students, said Mary Sauceda, Ed.D., associate vice president of Enrollment Management at MSU Denver.

“This is huge given how confusing the process can be for students and how it has historically been a barrier in expediting the financial-aid awarding process,” she said. “With this guidance, many students will no longer have to wait to see their financial-aid award before committing to MSU Denver this coming year.”

Documentation already submitted will still need to be reviewed by Financial Aid staff, and completion of a 2021-22 FAFSA/CASFA is also required.

The federal government announced that the move is temporary but that the agency will “consider what adjustments need to be made to verification long-term to ensure that it is robust and equitable.”

For questions/more information, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.  

Topics: Financial Aid

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