By Paul Mabbitt, Staff Writer
The time required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid will decrease because federal officials plan to lower the percentage of students selected for tax verification.
FAFSA will begin collaborating in January with the IRS to retrieve students’ tax information, which will save students and parents time, said Denise Flis, senior director of student financial services.
“The Department of Education has implemented IRS Data Retrieval,” she said. “It’s to provide an easier way for students and parents to complete the FAFSA.”
If chosen, verification requires students to provide more tax information, Flis said.
“Currently this is a random selection process by the Department of Education,” she said. “About 30 percent, or three out of every 10 students, are randomly selected for the verification process by the Department of Education through criteria they established.
“If selected for verification, the student must bring copies of parent and student taxes, schedules and W-2s to the Financial Aid office.”
Students still can be chosen, but the process will be easier, Flis said.
“If a student is selected for verification, they will still need to complete the OCU Verification Form and Student Data Form, but will not be required to turn in taxes or W-2s because the IRS Data Retrieval match will already have done that,” she said.
Students who don’t follow the new procedure face red tape, Flis said.
“If the student does not log in and perform the data match, it can delay their financial aid from being processed, as they will be required to request a tax transcript from the IRS, which can take up to six to eight weeks,” she said.
Sarah DeYong, music theater junior, said she supports the change if it quickens the financial aid process.
“I’m all for speed if it works,” she said.