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Financial Aid: Verification


The Department of Education has regulations to ensure that only eligible students receive financial aid. Verification is the process used to confirm the data you provided on the FAFSA. It is to your benefit to submit all requested items as quickly as possible since your financial aid file cannot be reviewed or completed until verification is complete. If there are any differences found between information reported on the FAFSA and the actual figures provided in the verification documents, the institution will submit the corrections on your behalf. Your financial aid award will be based on the corrected information.

Your financial aid file may have been selected for verification randomly by the federal processor, or because your file appears to have errors or conflicting information. If your file is selected, requested documentation should be submitted as soon as possible to avoid delays in processing your financial aid.

If you are a dependent student and both biological and/or adoptive parents reside in the same household, you will need to provide both parents’ information regardless of their marital status or gender.

If you are an independent student and your marital status on the date the FAFSA was completed was “married,” you will need to provide your spouse’s information regardless of gender.

A student/parent is considered “married” if the student/parent was legally married in any domestic or foreign jurisdiction that recognizes that relationship as a legal marriage, regardless of where the couple resides. This determination applies to same sex or opposite sex couples. This determination does not apply to domestic partnership, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

If you have questions, visit the Financial Aid Office or call (843) 203-0000.


Professional Judgment is the review of a student’s eligibility for financial aid due to extenuating circumstances that may change the family’s ability to contribute to the student’s educational expenses. Through Professional Judgment, the Financial Aid Office reviews the information submitted and may make appropriate changes to individual items on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) such as adjusted gross income, child support, etc. This authority is granted to financial aid offices through the Higher Education Amendments of 1992, as amended.


The Financial Aid Office’s Professional Judgment policy serves to assist families by reviewing their special circumstances. To make appropriate adjustments and to be good stewards of our funding, we must have the most accurate information available concerning the family’s financial situation. Therefore, it is necessary to request documentation from the student and other parties as determined by the Financial Aid Office to substantiate any claims of extenuating circumstances.

If you have questions, visit the Financial Aid Office or call (843) 203-0000.


A Dependency Override occurs when a financial aid administrator exercises professional judgment and overrides the Department of Education’s criteria for dependent students. An override may only be granted on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. Parental incarceration, abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety, or parental abandonment are some reasons for which a dependency override may be considered. In these rare instances, students may complete a Dependency Override Worksheet.

What is Not Considered

Students are not considered independent for financial aid purposes for any of the following reasons:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax pur­poses
  • Parents live away from student or in a foreign country
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency
  • Students who think their unusual circumstances may warrant a dependency override should file the Dependency Override Worksheet.

If you have questions, visit the Financial Aid Office or call (843) 203-0000.


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