Verification Policies & Procedures

About Verification

Verification is a quality-control method used by the U.S. Department of Education to check the accuracy of information submitted on the FAFSA.

All schools that disburse federal Title IV funds are required to participate in the verification process. It is the policy of Bluefield University to verify all students selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, in addition to any students selected for verification by Bluefield University. Procedures published in the current Department of Education Verification Guide are used to review, evaluate, and correct errors.

 

Verification Steps

  1. The Financial Aid Office will send you a request outlining all forms and information that must be submitted to satisfy verification requirements.
  2. If selected for verification, you will have until census date (last day to add or drop a course) to submit all required items to the Financial Aid Office.
  3. If you do not submit the required items within the time frame, your application will be closed for the remainder of the academic year. You may reactivate your file by submitting the required documents along with a change in aid form no later than the end of the semester for which you are applying for aid. If extenuating circumstances exist, you may schedule an appointment with a counselor to discuss your situation.
  4. A revised award letter will be sent to the financial aid applicant if any awards change because of verification.

The General Provisions of 34 CFR 668.14(f) of the Federal Register require that Bluefield University ensure the consistency of the information related to a student’s application for federal student aid, regardless of the source of that information. All information received must be reconciled with one exception; if the applicant dies during the award year, the University is not required to pursue the resolution of conflicting data.

If the Financial Aid Office has any conflicting information on an applicant or believes an applicant’s application information is in error, it must resolve the discrepancies prior to disbursing any federal student aid. The requirement to resolve conflicting data is separate and distinct from the verification requirements and procedures, and supersedes any verification policies. Further, if a discrepancy is discovered after federal aid has been disbursed, it must be reconciled and the student will be required to repay any amount of aid received in excess of his or her eligibility.

Note: If the Financial Aid Office suspects that a student, or another individual, has intentionally misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain federal financial aid funds, the office can report suspicions, and will provide the evidence, to the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education, for review.

Verification Update

The U.S. Department of Education continues to move to a more individualized verification process where only certain elements of the verification are performed on particular students. This means that Bluefield University will not require the same documentation from each student. Instead, the University will require only documentation that is relevant to the individualized verification. You will be notified by email (to your BU email address) of the individual forms you will need to complete. You may also see your required forms in your myBU account. Additional documentation may cause unnecessary delays in processing your financial aid file.

Only submit forms as requested by the Financial Aid Office. All verification items must be submitted to:

Bluefield University
Attn: Financial Aid Office
3000 College Avenue
Bluefield, VA 24605
Fax: 276.326.4356
[email protected]

Which Documents Should You Submit?

Click for additional information regarding Tax Returns and the IRS Data Retrieval. Tax Returns are no longer accepted for verification purposes. The following are forms that may be requested by the Financial Aid Office. Only submit requested forms.

The most recent forms can be downloaded here.

2020-2021 Financial Aid Year

  • V1 Dependent Verification Worksheet – Standard Verification
  • V1 Independent Verification Worksheet – Standard Verification
  • IRS Tax Transcript of 2018 student tax return* if the student did not use the IRS Data Retrieval (unchanged) when completing the FAFSA.
  • IRS Tax Transcript of 2018 spouse tax return* if the spouse did not use the IRS Data Retrieval (unchanged) when completing the FAFSA and if you are married and filed separate tax returns.
  • IRS Tax Transcript of 2018 parent tax return* if the parent did not use the IRS Data Retrieval (unchanged) when completing the FAFSA and you were required to provide parental information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • V4 Custom Verification Group (Dependent) – Student must verify high school completion status and identity/statement of educational purpose.
  • V4 Custom Verification Group (Independent) – Student must verify high school completion status and identity/statement of educational purpose.
  • V5 Aggregate Verification Group (Dependent) – Student must verify high school completion status and identity/statement of educational purpose, in addition to items in the Standard Verification Group.
  • V5 Aggregate Verification Group (Independent) – Student must verify high school completion status and identity/statement of educational purpose, in addition to items in the Standard Verification Group.

*We recommend for all students (and parents when applicable) to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to submit tax and income information through the FAFSA. If unable to use this tool through the FAFSA process, a tax return transcript can be requested. Please review the documents needed above to determine if this information is required since this manual process takes much longer than DRT’s automated interface.

2021-2022 Financial Aid Year

 

  • V1 Verification Worksheet – Standard Verification
  • IRS Tax Transcript of 2019 student tax return* if the student did not use the IRS Data Retrieval (unchanged) when completing the FAFSA.
  • IRS Tax Transcript of 2019 spouse tax return* if the spouse did not use the IRS Data Retrieval (unchanged) when completing the FAFSA and if you are married and filed separate tax returns.
  • IRS Tax Transcript of 2019 parent tax return* if the parent did not use the IRS Data Retrieval (unchanged) when completing the FAFSA and you were required to provide parental information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • V4 Custom Verification Group – Students must verify high school completion status and identity/statement of educational purpose.
  • V5 Aggregate Verification Group – Students must verify high school completion status and identity/statement of educational purpose, in addition to items in the Standard Verification Group.

*We recommend for all students (and parents when applicable) to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to submit tax and income information through the FAFSA. If unable to use this tool through the FAFSA process, a tax return transcript can be requested. Please review the documents needed above to determine if this information is required since this manual process takes much longer than DRT’s automated interface.

 

Students or Parents Filing an Amended Return

  • Submit a signed copy of IRS Form 1040X that was filed.
  • Submit a signed copy of the original return that was filed, a tax return transcript, or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Students or Parents Who Were Victims of Identity Theft

  • Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800.908.4490.
  • Request an alternative tax return transcript TRDVB (Transcript DataBase View).
  • A statement signed and dated that indicates that the tax filer is a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft.

An individual who is required to file an IRS income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, must provide:

  1. A copy of IRS Form 4868, ‘‘Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,’’ that was filed with the IRS for the appropriate tax year;
  2. A copy of the IRS’s approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time for that specific tax year;
  3. Verification of non-filing letter (confirmation that the tax return has not yet been filed) from the IRS or other relevant tax authority dated on or after October 1, 2018; and
  4. A copy of IRS Form W–2 for each source of employment income received for tax year and, if self-employed, a signed statement certifying.

In addition, an individual who filed or will file an income tax return with the relevant taxing authority of a U.S. territory, commonwealth, or with a foreign central government must provide:

  1. A transcript that was obtained at no cost from the relevant taxing authority of a U.S. territory (Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands) or commonwealth (Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands), or a foreign central government, that includes all of the tax filer’s income and tax information required to be verified for the appropriate tax year; or
  2. If a transcript cannot be obtained at no cost from the relevant taxing authority, a signed copy of the income tax return(s).

 

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231

 

Meet our core Counseling faculty

Dr. Challen Mabry

Assistant Professor of Counseling

Dr. Kristen Moran

Associate Professor of Counseling

Brandy Smith

Assistant Professor of Education & Counseling,
Director of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program,
Title IX Confidential Counselor