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Financial Aid Auditing: An Essential Part of your Program

Financial Aid Auditing: An Essential Part of your Program

August 1, 2017

When tuition management companies provide financial aid assessment, they save schools from countless hours of gathering families’ financial information and can remove the guesswork from aid awards. Financial aid assessments provide schools with the information and documents necessary to help families who need it most.

But what if information submitted by some families is incomplete or worse, dishonest? That’s where audits come in.

“Audit.” The word ranks right up there with “root canal” when it comes to things that sometimes must be endured. But audits can be used for the common good. Complete financial information is necessary for financial aid award fairness. Schools that don’t do their most to assure accurate information risk allocating essential aid dollars away from families that truly need them.

While most tuition management companies provide document collection as part of financial aid assessment, most don’t audit at all; they simply take families at their word for accuracy and completeness. In a perfect world that would be enough, but does your school want to take that risk?

Real Auditing and Support
TADS has processed financial aid applications since the 1970s. Our processes complete your families’ real financial picture. How? A hands-on auditing team that reviews every application. If anything is missing, TADS will contact your families directly. No more paper chasing for you! And with over 140 comparison points in our system, our auditors can address inconsistencies. Here’s a summary of what TADS collects and reviews for each financial aid application:

  • Most recent 1040 for each parent living in the home;
  • Whether parent is indicated as dependent on other parent’s taxes;
  • Notarized letter of Non-Filing;
  • Foodstamps/budget letter listing parent name;
  • W2/pay stub(s)
  • Business Schedule(s), Social Security income, unemployment documentation;
  • Confirm adults and dependents living in household if more or less are listed on tax documents;
  • Check for Duplicates of Income (Does income reported on application align with 1040?)
  • Know source of any other income and confirm the source if not clear;
  • Review and resolve any errors found, i.e. why does reported income differ from taxes? TADS is prepared to evaluate all family financial conditions, including ownership of significant assets, corporations, partnerships, and farmland.

TADS will contact the family via email or phone if we are missing any documentation, if we have any incomplete information reported on the application, or if there is an unexplained discrepancy between income on the taxes and the income reported on the family’s application. The TADS review process typically takes about two weeks. We advise submitted documentation within 4 days of completing application to facilitate timely review of the family’s application.

Once the review is complete, we run the information through a customized formula that helps allocate financial aid to the families that meet your school’s mission. While TADS offers a recommendation of need based on the application submitted, the ultimate award decision is made by the school.

Financial Aid Assessment – Why Use a Third-Party?
Our service provides a distinct benefit for your school and students by giving your program greater objectivity, impartiality, and an association with national standards. In addition, parents are more comfortable providing sensitive and confidential information to an outside service and will generally disclose more complete information to them.

Ready to let TADS do all of the work for your 2018-19 school year applications? Sign up for a webinar today!