Mesa Journeys




Financial Aid

Verification Guidelines

UPDATE JULY 13, 2021

2021 – 2022 Academic Year Temporary Verification Relief:

*The U.S. Department of Education announced on July 13, 2021, temporary verification relief 21-22 FAFSA filers and schools. This has allowed San Diego Mesa College to “waive” the 21-22 Verification Worksheet and 2019 Income Tax documents for most students. However, if the document was already submitted we are required to review them and make any corrections necessary to the FAFSA information. To see if you benefited from this verification relief, Check your mySDCCD portal account. “Waived” documents will not display as missing or on an “Initiated” status.

 21-22 Income Reduction Request: 

We urge students and families whom experienced or are experiencing a significant change between the FAFSA reported 2019 income information when compared to the family’s 2020 income to complete and submit for evaluation the 2021-22 Income Reduction Request. The form is available at: 

Students should contact their Financial Aid Office assigned Technician for further assistance. Look for your Technician based on your last name at:


If you will be submitting a 21-22 Income Reduction Request form and your 21-22 verification documents were initally waived, the temporary verification relief will no longer apply and you will be required to submit the documents.

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What is the Verification Process?

Verification is the process by which the Financial Aid Office staff is required to compare the information submitted on any of the financial aid applications available, the FAFSA, the California Dream Act Application or a California Promise Grant previously known as the BOG Waiver, against the information on the documents provided by the student, the student and/or parent, and the student and/or spouse to certify the accuracy of the FAFSA application information.

Documentation requirements are set forth by the U.S. Department of Education and the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by their verification guidelines. In compliance with these regulations, San Diego Mesa College will verify the information on the Student Aid Report SAR/ISIR for all students who complete the application process for federal & state financial aid and who are selected for verification by the Department of Education CPS system or the California Student Aid Commission edits.

San Diego Mesa College will not provide or offer aid to any student whose SAR was selected for verification until all documents required are submitted and the verification has been completed.

Verification Selection

There are two main types of CPS verification: random selection of the financial aid population based on general, historical data and those selected by specific system edits and criteria determined by the U.S. Department of Education or California Student Aid Commission.

Institutional Verification: San Diego Mesa College will select for additional verification all files that have conflicting data and any applications that after 4/15/XX indicate that they have not completed the income tax return for the reporting year.

If I am selected for verification this year, can I be selected next year?

Yes, you may. There are no limitations in the law that prevents this from happening. Records are selected for verification based on logic and edits applied to each FAFSA received. Some students are selected only once while others are selected multiple years. Regardless, once a student is selected for verification, aid eligibility can be determined only after the student completes the verification process.

Verification Process versus Documenting Basic Eligibility Requirements

It is important to know that there is a difference between the documents requested and submitted to comply with the verification process versus those requested to determine the student’s basic eligibility requirements. Documentation to establish basic eligibility requirements are due 45 days from the day of the notification but no later than the student’s last day of attendance for the term. For information on basic eligibility requirements visit the Federal Financial Aid Eligibility webpage.

Verification Deadlines for 2020-2021

The deadlines are regulated by the U.S. Department of Education, and it will be followed at San Diego Mesa College. Students who fail to turn in all documents required to complete the verification process by noon (12:00 noon) on the designated deadline are not eligible for aid for the term. The law establishes that a student selected for verification by CPS will have 120 calendar days from the last day of school attendance or 9/15/21 (whichever comes first) to submit the required documents. Students who submit verification documents after the last day of attendance can only have their Federal Pell Grant eligibility determined and no other aid program eligibility can be determined. The 120 days deadlines for the 20-21 year are:

Enrollment Period Deadline*
Fall 2020 Term April 16, 2021
Spring 2021 Term September 15, 2021
Summer 2021 Term September 15, 2021

*If you withdraw from school, the 120 calendar days is a hand calculation starting on the day of withdrawal.

Deadlines to Resolve Conflicting Information or Institutional Verification Edits for 2020-2021

San Diego Mesa College will select for Institutional Verification any aid application for which the school has received information that is in conflict with the information submitted on your the FAFSA, BOG waiver and/or CA Dream Act Application. The deadline to submit documentation to clear conflict is last date of attendance for the term.

What happens after I submit the documents to the aid office?

The documents are used to compare the accuracy of the data in the aid application. There are only two options:

    1) The data submitted is 100% accurate and the file will continue its process to determine the aid package and process the award letter, or
    2) The data is not 100% accurate and in many occasions more documents are requested. The student must provide the new documents until the conflict is resolved to our satisfaction. Once we have the accurate information corrections to the application are made.
Corrections prior to packaging and awarding aid

We are required by law to submit a correction to the aid application, if discrepancies are found between the documents submitted for verification and the information on the SAR/ISIR. The following procedures will be used for making the corrections:


    - corrections to reported income (taxable and untaxable), asset figures, household size, number in college and dependency must have a new need analysis performed and the data must be transmitted to the Central Processor to produce an electronic student aid report.
Corrections needed after packaging and awarding aid

Regardless of the time of the year, once the school has information that affects the student’s eligibility, the Financial Aid Office is required to review/audit the student’s file.

Award changes prior to disbursement

  • If corrections to the SAR/ISIR due to verification result in a change in the student’s award, the student will be sent a revised award letter notification by email. Financial aid notifications are produced weekly for new awards and changes to awards made during the previous week.

Award changes after aid has been disbursed

  • If the change results in an overpayment, it is the student’s responsibility to repay the overpayment. However, all efforts will be made to reduce the overpayment by adjusting any subsequent disbursement for which the student is eligible.
  • If the change results in an underpayment, a disbursement will be process 1-2 weeks after the corrected SAR/ISIR has been received by San Diego Mesa College.
Notification of Verification Requirements

Students will be notified which documents must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office in order to complete verification process via e-mail. Students may also log unto their Reg-e information page.

  • The missing information letter (email) will list the required verification items, any other actions required to complete verification, and other items required by the Financial Aid Office.
  • Missing information letters (email) are generated to the students on a weekly basis. Although letters are generated on a weekly basis, a student will receive a maximum of three letters [one per month]. No further attempts will be made once the system has generated the three (3) notifications.
  • Students who fail to complete the verification process before June prior to the start of the new academic year lose their priority standing for campus-based awards.
  • If, following verification, the institution discovers evidence of student aid fraud (including identity theft), waste or abuse of US Department of Education funds, such evidence may be referred to the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education.

This page was last updated March 2021.