Can We Use Drop Box Or Similar File Sharing Services To Collect Verification and Other Documents From Students?

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Important Note: Beginning July 13, 2021 and for the remainder of the 2021-22 FAFSA processing and verification cycle (including summer periods attached to the 2021-22 award year), the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is waiving verification of FAFSA/ISIR information, except for identity/Statement of Educational Purpose and high school completion status in Verification Tracking Groups V4 and V5. All income data elements, taxes paid, household size, and number in college are not required to be verified in any tracking group (V1 or V5). This waiver applies no matter where schools or students are in the verification process. Conflicting information still must be resolved. See Dear Colleague Letter GEN-21-05 and AskRegs Q&A, How Do We Implement the Verification Waiver For the Remainder Of 2021-22?, for guidance specific to the waiver. The following guidance is still relevant information depending on context and/or application of the verification waiver.

There is nothing in the Title IV regulations that would prevent a school from using a "drop box" or other similar document sharing services to collect verification and other student eligibility documents from students or parents.

According to guidance NASFAA has received from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the use of any drop box method of collecting documents must comply with the standards of security necessary to protect the personally identifiable information (PII) that is being exchanged. You should confer with your school's information technology (IT) staff and contact ED's Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) for assistance as you implement policies and procedures to ensure your drop box system is adequate to protect the privacy of your students' data.

For additional resources, visit ED's Protecting Student Privacy website, particularly the Data Security and FSA Cyber Security Compliance pages. 

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