The U.S. Department of Education (USED) changed the financial aid processing cycle, effective for the 2017-2018 year. Students will now use "prior prior-year data" when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). What this means is, applicants will report their 2015 tax and income information for both the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFSA cycles.
With the implementation of the prior prior-year concept, certain financial information submitted for the two cycles will be compared. In cases where there are discrepancies between a student's two applications, both will be selected for further review. The USED will inform students and their respective Offices of Financial Aid of this review by indicating the Comment Code 399 (COM399) on their 2017-2018 FAFSAs.
As per federal regulations, all discrepancies require corrective action by the RCGC Office of Financial Aid. This may result in a change to a student's financial aid eligibility for the 2016-2017 aid year. The student's aid package will be adjusted accordingly. In the event the financial aid package is reduced, the student is responsible for any balance owed to the College.
How it Works
The RCGC Office of Financial Aid will download students' 2017-2018 FAFSAs on a rolling basis during the aid year. All FAFSAs with the COM399 code will be selected for review.
After reviewing both the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFSAs, additional documentation will be requested from the student via the RCGC Portal to resolve discrepancies. A courtesy email will be sent to the student's RCGC email account explaining the situation.
(Some examples of requested documentation may include 2015 W-2s, 2015 tax return transcripts, Verification of Untaxed Income V6 worksheet, child support benefit statements, etc. Note this is not a complete list of documentation that may be requested.)
Students will have 30 days to comply with the COM399 request for documentation notice. Failure to do so may result in the loss of their 2016-2017 aid package.
All documentation must be submitted together at one time to the Office of Financial Aid.
Students may submit this documentation either in person at the Office of Financial Aid, or as PDF email attachments to email@example.com.
A financial aid administrator will review the additional documentation and update the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFSAs accordingly. This may result in a change to a student's financial aid eligibility.
If a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) increases, the RCGC Office of Financial Aid must adjust his/her 2016-2017 aid package. This will entail returning the funds (i.e. Pell grant, Direct Subsidized Loans, etc.) back to the federal government. The student will be responsible for the balance, and therefore must follow up with the RCGC Business Office.
If a student's EFC and eligibility remains the same, no adjustments will be made to his/her 2016-2017 financial aid package.