CHANGES TO VERIFICATION PROCEDURES FOR THE 2020-2021 FAFSA CYCLE

Effective for the 2020-2021 academic year, the Office of Financial Aid is changing its procedures for those students selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education after completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).   Verification of student FAFSA data will no longer be processed in-house by the Office of Financial Aid.  Through a partnership with Inceptia, all verification processes will be completed by Inceptia through a Verification Gateway portal. 

The decision to outsource verification, for students selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, was made by Charter Oak after careful deliberation of the benefits to our students.   We expect that it will expedite the review process and reduce the delay of financial aid packages to students and their families. 

Please watch for future announcements regarding when and how students will submit verification documents through the Verification Gateway from Inceptia.  This will include information on how to access their secure website, creating an account, and uploading required documentation.  

* Eligible students and parents are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to eliminate the requirement of providing an IRS Tax Return Transcript in order to finalize the review of their FAFSA data.  To use the IRS DRT, students simply navigate to the to “Financials” section of the FAFSA application where there is an option to use the IRS DRT. 

 

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS ORDERING TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPTS

Moving to better protect taxpayer data, the Internal Revenue Service has implemented a new format for tax return transcripts that will redact personally identifiable information (PII).  Identifying information, including names, addresses, AND SSN's, will now be partially redacted from the tax return transcript, but all money amounts will be visible. 

The new transcript, with redacted PII, went into effect on September 23, 2018.

Based on the limited information that will now be displayed on the tax return transcript, students are required to reference their name and student id on their tax return transcript before sending it to the Office of Financial Aid.  This is the only way that our office will be able to match the tax transcript to the student’s financial aid record. 

Students who do not want their financial aid delayed are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer their tax data onto their FAFSA application.  Students who cannot use the IRS DRT, or choose not to use the IRS DRT, will be responsible for providing their full name and student id on all transcripts (student/spouse/parent) submitted to the Office of Financial Aid. 

 

PHISHING EMAIL SCAM ALERT

 

The Office of Financial Aid is alerting students to an active phishing campaign directed at student email accounts.  These fraudulent email messages appear to be coming from the billing office of the school where the student is attending and may appear to be legitimate. 

The scheme targets financial aid disbursements and refunds by accessing student account information.  It does this by changing student direct deposit information to a bank account controlled by the scammer.  As a result, financial aid refunds intended for students are diverted to the scammer.

Below is an example of a recent phishing email which the U.S. Department of Education has shared with us:

 Subject:  Updated billing statement issued

Please view and confirm your UPDATED 2018 bill.

Bills should be paid in full by the due date, or you should enroll in one of the payment plan options found in your portal.  All payment plans have an enrollment fee of 40.00 per semester.  Late fees of 15.00 will be assessed for each missed due date.  Information showing how to enroll and payment plan FAQS can be found under the student/parent portal.  Students may grant proxy access for parents/guardians to their accounts so current and future statements, payment plan options, and other information is available electronically. 

If you have any questions concerning your billing statement, please contact the XXXXX.  Remember, your portal is available 24 hours a day to make paying your bill more convenient. 

 

Please note that Charter Oak State College will never use email and request that you reply with your student password, full Social Security number, or other confidential personal information.  If you receive an email that you believe is suspicious, please do not respond to the email or click on any links or attachments.   We recommend that you report it to our help desk by following this link: 

https://charteroak.edusupportcenter.com

 

IRS DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL (IRS DRT)

 

  • 19-20 and 20-21 Cycle Information:

 The IRS DRT is available for students to use with the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 FAFSA applications. Additional security and privacy protections have been added to address identity theft concerns. Due to these concerns, tax information transferred from the IRS onto the FAFSA application won't be visible to applicants. Students will see "Transferred from the IRS" in the appropriate fields as shown below:

Screen shot of FAFSA page indicating 'You have successfully transferred your 2016 IRS tax information' and showing three FAFSA questions with 'Transferred from the IRS' next to them.

 To use the IRS DRT, students simply navigate to the to “Financials” section of the FAFSA application where there is an option to use the IRS DRT.  For most applicants selected for verification, the use of the IRS DRT may eliminate the requirement of providing an IRS Tax Return Transcript to the Office of Financial Aid.