Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceFinancial Aid · 1 decade ago

Are schools allowed to ask for bank statements to give financial aid?

I am having a problem with my school, which is cuny. I am under verification from pell, as they claim, but when i called pell I was under no such list. Anyway. I filled out a paper with my family showing how much assets we have. According to our taxes, we make an x amount of income on bank interest. We put in on the sheet that we make an estimate of how much we have. When we turned it in, they claimed we have much much more, no where even near what we really have. Now they are asking for bank statements or else I wont get financial aid. Are they allowed to ask for this? I went to another cuny school before and they asked for no such thing. I spoke to a represenative and they said that each school has its own policy. I tried to fight them but they are not budging. Can I have some advice?

Update:

I dont want to give statements because its private and i have no interest in taking a loan

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    As non-merit financial aid becomes less available, universities are asking for more proof of income and assets. It is to your advantage to provide the documentation because if as you state, your family assets are less than they believe, the financial aid department will put you into consideration for university based aide to make up the difference financially for you to attend their school if you are their desired choice.

    As an example, I went to Xavier University and could not qualify for much non-merit based financial assistance because I owned property and had investments. However, because they really wanted me to attend and felt I would be an asset to the university, they totaled up my merit based scholarships, the in kind assistance and loans, compared that to the tuition and fees and my asset availability and investments, found a net difference in my favor and offered me additional funds to attend their school. I could have attended a publically funded state school just with what I had because their tuition for in state students was so much lower and I had been accepted. They have now to verify "estimates" before they can consider you for real money.

    I really think they are trying to help you here with their own additional university based scholarships, honor loans and assistance.

    Source(s): Personal experience in 4 different universities through post-grad trying to fund education with as little loaned money as possible
  • 1 decade ago

    It may not have been necessary to show your bank statements, until the questions arose about your taxes and income interest.

    Any bank that gives a regular loan asks for all financial statements before it does. In this instance, if you don't supply the info, you're not going to get the loan. There is nothing you can do about it.

    Refusing to provide them will make them think you have something to hide...

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  • 1 decade ago

    In short, yes, your school has every right to request this information. If you don’t provide it, they also have every right to deny you ALL of your financial aid. When you signed the FAFSA, you certified that “If you are the parent or the student, by signing this application you agree, if asked, to provide information that will verify the accuracy of your completed form.” So, basically, you already agreed to give them the information they’re asking for.

    But I'll touch on each point in your question, in order.

    You are not under “verification from Pell.” Your entire application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been selected for Verification, which is a system of "checks & balances" that was established by the federal government to prevent abuse of the Federal Student Aid system. A student can be selected for Verification by the FAFSA processor OR by the school itself. Either way, the process requires your school to cross-check the information on your FAFSA with other documents like your taxes, W2s, and -- yes -- your bank statements.

    Keep in mind that Verification happens *all the time* and isn't meant to be feared like an IRS audit. In fact, some schools are "100% Verification School,” meaning that they require EVERY single student (who applies for federal aid) to undergo this process. In short, no one is targeting you.

    Who did you call? You can't "call Pell." That's the name of the Grant program (and the now-retired Senator it was named for). The only people you should be calling are your school Financial Aid Administrators. Federal regulations give the Financial Aid Office the “final say” in all of these matters. In fact, federal regulations concede that the Department of Ed cannot “limit the authority” of the Financial Aid Office, so even if you had gotten in touch with “Pell,” there’s nothing he can do, particularly if your school has a reason for asking for your bank statements (and they do: it sounds like your “bank interest earned” conflicts with the amount of assets you reported).

    Schools are required by the government to resolve any "conflicting information" in a student's financial aid application. In fact, one of the things that we are trained to do is look at your "interest income" and, based on that amount, calculate the value of the assets you have. (It’s not hard. You can’t claim $100 in interest income and then say that you have $200 in assets. No one’s interest rate is *that* high!). If the amount of assets they calculate is dramatically different from the amount that you reported, that's a discrepancy that they must resolve before giving you financial aid. Really, all you need to do to is show them your bank statements and they will either say “OK” or they will correct the error to show your real #s. The only way you will get in trouble is if you are intentionally lying (“estimating” is OK unless you are purposely WAY off).

    If your school selected you for Verification, it is very likely that the other people you called don’t have you on the “list” of people selected for Verification. Your Verification selection status will only show up on your FAFSA if (a) you were selected by the FAFSA processor or (b) if your school has sent a correction to your FAFSA that says “so-and-so was selected for Verification.” Unless they need to change some information, they won’t correct your FAFSA with this information; you may never show up on this “list” (which isn’t really a list at all but, rather, a flag on your FAFSA). Again, it doesn't matter what list you're on. If your school selects you, you're officially selected.

    Just because your former school didn’t select you for Verification doesn’t mean they don’t select other people -- and it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have if you were attending there right now. Verification happens everywhere and has similar requirements at every school. However, each school selects a different number of students a different times.

    You can opt not to complete Verification, but you will not be eligible for any Federal Student Aid, including (especially) your Pell Grant. The more you resist providing them with your bank statements, the more suspicious you look. If you have nothing to hide, hand them over. Because of FERPA (Family Education Rights and Protection Act) the information you give them will be confidential.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If they're providing you with aid based on your current finances, yes you need to provide bank statements.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have no idea what cuny school is, but I think that they are allowed to do this, when you are tying to get financial aid, since financial aid is primarily income based.

  • Ida
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    If a financial aid office has a policy of verifying asset information, or if the school has reason to suspect that you provided inaccurate asset information, yes, they are allowed, and required, to ask you to provide verification of your assets.

  • 1 decade ago

    if you are looking for money from someone, they can ask you for financial statements. And if they prove that you are right, why wouldn't you give them the statements? Financial aid is a priviledge, not a right, so you are at their mercy. You don't have to show them, and they don't have to subsidize your education

  • 1 decade ago

    For finacial aid, they can pretty much ask for what ever they want to verify that you qualify.

    If you only have what you say, why the problem with the bank statements?

  • 1 decade ago

    No, they can not request your bank stmt....

    Pell grants and govt loans are based upont he amount you report in your taxes each year. They CAN request a copy of your signed or filed taxes...but nothing beyond that.

    I would cantact the govt, I am sure there is a number at www.fafsa.gov

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