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College Board

IDOC - FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. 
We use IDOC for all of our PROFILE filers. What does the College Board do with Early Decision (ED) applicants who are admitted, not admitted, or deferred to Regular Decision?
A.
For your ED/EA applicants who were not admitted, you may send us a "No Send" file containing each student's CSS ID or Social Security Number so that those students who submit a PROFILE will not be asked to send in IDOC information for your college. In January, we will send all IDOC users who indicate on their SOF that they will submit a "No Send" file instructions for submitting those files.

During IDOC processing, when a student submits a PROFILE with an IDOC college selected, he or she is immediately notified about the IDOC requirement for each participating college and an IDOC record is created. As a result, we cannot accept a "No Send" file once processing has begun.

How IDOC treats your ED/EA applicants who are accepted or deferred to regular decision depends on your business practices. If you would like to include them in the regular IDOC process to obtain current year tax returns, you don't need to do anything. If they have submitted the PROFILE they will be notified of the IDOC requirement. If you want to exclude them from IDOC notification, then you should include them in your "No Send" file.

Q. 

How many Cover Letters/Requirements documents would a student receive if she is applying to three colleges that participate in IDOC? What if one college doesn't wish to receive the student's W-2s or Verification Worksheet? Would these still be listed or are the Requirements personalized to contain only the information that the individual college is requesting?
A.
Each IDOC student receives one Cover Letter/Requirements document regardless of the number of IDOC colleges and programs to which she is applying. The Requirements will list all of those colleges and programs and a cumulative list of the documents required by those colleges and programs. If any of the colleges requires a Verification Worksheet, it will be listed in the Requirements as a required document.

Whether every college or program listed on the Cover Letter/Requirements is able to view online all of the documents that the student submitted, is up to each college or program. If the college wants to see all of the documents submitted in each student's packet, the institution does nothing. If the college only wishes to see the documents it requested, it should select Option G - Restrict Images in the IDOC Section of its Service Options.

Q. 

How are students notified about IDOC?
A.
Exactly how a student is notified depends on how he or she becomes an IDOC student.

PROFILE Filers
If your college or program indicates on your IDOC Participation Agreement that you want your PROFILE filers (either all or a selected population) to participate in IDOC, those students will receive IDOC information in their online PROFILE Acknowledgment and submission email.

Before IDOC Processing Begins - If the student submits a PROFILE application between PROFILE start-up and IDOC start-up (approximately October 1 to February 1), he will receive a message on his PROFILE Acknowledgment and submission email that tells him which colleges will be requesting information via IDOC and that the College Board will send an IDOC notification in early February.

Then, in early February, he will be sent an IDOC notification email with his IDOC ID and information about how to access the IDOC website.

After IDOC Processing Begins - If the student submits a PROFILE application after IDOC processing begins (early February), she will receive her IDOC ID and information on how to access the IDOC website in both her online PROFILE Acknowledgment and submission email.

Students Included in Submission Files
If your college or program indicates on your IDOC Participation Agreement that you will send the College Board (via electronic submission file) those students who should be notified about IDOC, we will notify those students through an email notification.

Emails to Parents
If we have the parents' email address we will send them the IDOC notification and reminder emails.

Q. 

What if the student's email address is invalid and the notification is undeliverable (the message "bounces back")? How is the student notified of the IDOC requirement?
A.
If the student provided an email address for the parent in the PROFILE Application or the school submits it in its submission file, the parent is also notified about IDOC requirement. In most cases at least one of these two notifications reaches the recipient. If neither the student nor the parent receives a notification, but the student knows through other information that IDOC is required, the student can still sign into https://idoc.collegeboard.com using her SSN and date of birth to get the required information and documents.

Additionally, you can run a bounce-back report for your institution in the IDOC section of this website. It will give the information you need to contact students to inform them of the requirement. This information is also available on an individual student basis in Status Checking.

Q. 

How soon after our college sends a submission file will students be notified about IDOC?
A.
When a student is added to IDOC through your college's submission file, in most cases the IDOC notification will be sent within 24 hours after the College Board receives the student's information in a valid submission file. For example:
  1. College uploads submission file Monday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.
  2. Overnight batch process updates the IDOC database, adding those students.
  3. On Tuesday (next day), each student is notifified via email to submit an IDOC packet.
Please note that the steps listed in 2-3 only occur on business days. Thus, if you submit a file on a Saturday or Sunday, the record will be picked up during the overnight batch process on Monday.

Q. 

Can students send in their IDOC packets by fax?
A.
Currently we do not accept IDOC packets by fax. Through testing we have determined that the image quality of faxes is often not acceptable. In addition, we cannot always determine the sender of the fax in cases where we would need to follow up.

Q. 

Do you inform the college of the date a packet was received for processing?
A.
The data file that we send to you contains the date that the packet was received for processing. This date is contained in field number 5, DATE-PACKET-RECEIVED. This is the day that the packet was received in the mail, not a processing date.

Q. 

We do not consider an unsigned tax return to be valid. Will the College Board process a packet if a tax return is unsigned?
A.
We will process a packet even if a tax return is not signed. We only fail to process packets for the reasons listed below. Our users report that once a packet is received, if it can be processed it is less confusing to students if colleges and programs follow up directly with students, rather than delay processing the tax form. In addition, it is possible that the college denied a student's application for admission or financial aid after IDOC notification, and would not want the College Board to follow up on the college's behalf. The Signature Present fields (fields 213, 249, and 285) can be used to trigger follow-up communications with the student or parents.

The following are the reasons packets cannot be processed. The student is then contacted with instructions for correcting errors:

  • Student did not return an IDOC Cover Sheet with the packet of information.
  • IDOC Cover Sheet is damaged and/or could not be read.
  • Only one page of a 1040 or 1040A was submitted in the packet.
  • Submitted tax forms didn't include federal tax forms from the current tax year.
  • Identifying information provided on one or more of the tax forms could not be read.

Q. 

If the family sends in a Cover Sheet that has no ovals filled out, will the College Board send it back to the student?
A.
The College Board stresses in the instructions that students should fill in the appropriate ovals on the Cover Sheet. However, we do not attempt to determine whether the correct ovals were filled in. If this is of particular concern to your college or program, we suggest that you stress the importance of the ovals in your communications to IDOC students (through direct mailings, instructions on the web, etc.).

Q. 

Why would a spouse's tax return and other documents be coded as "Other" instead of the correct document code?
A.
In most cases, if a spouse's Social Security Number is provided on the Cover Sheet and documents are submitted with a matching Social Security Number, those documents will be keyed with the correct document owner code for spouse, not as "Other." However, if the spouse's Social Security Number is entered incorrectly on the Cover Sheet and doesn't match the Social Security Number on the tax return, the document will be coded as "other." If the tax return is filed jointly, it will be keyed as a joint return.

Q. 

Will IDOC accept a tax preparer's signature on a tax return as "signature present?"
A.
We accept a tax preparer's signature or stamp as "signature present," following the guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education in the 2004-05 Federal Student Aid Handbook.

Q. 

How long do you keep copies of the documents once they have been imaged? The Cover Letter/Requirements state that paper copies of documents will be destroyed.
A.
Paper documents are kept in a secure location and destroyed approximately 120 days after the end of the processing year. (2015-16 IDOC documents will be destroyed in spring 2016.)

Q. 

I'm trying to view the images of a student's documents, but can't get to the image. What should I do?
A.
Check to make sure that you have signed in to the finaid online site, that the student record that you are trying to find was processed, and that the student has released his or her information to your college. You can check a student's IDOC status in the Status Checking section of finaid online.

If you are getting the student's name and CSS ID but no image, check to see that you have installed Adobe Reader or higher. Even if you have previously installed an Adobe product, other software can overwrite it, so when experiencing such problems it is important to verify that your Adobe product is still installed.

Q. 

I need technical support for Adobe Acrobat. Whom do I contact?
A.
For questions about Adobe Acrobat, go to http://adobe.com/support.

Q. 

I'm having problems downloading my IDOC files. Whom do I contact for technical support?
A.
For technical questions about any finaid online function, including downloading IDOC files, send an email to finaidservices@collegeboard.org.

Q. 

The Welcome Page says Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) is the only "approved browser." What does "approved browser" mean?
A.
The latest two versions of IE are the only browsers considered "approved" because they are the only browsers in which the wide range of functionality on finaid online has been tested thoroughly and has been verified to be working correctly and securely.

Q. 

I got a pop-up message that says I am using an "unapproved browser." What does that mean?
A.
The wide range of functionality on finaid online requires a significant amount of testing. Although we do some testing with browsers other than IE, we have not tested all of the functionality and to the same level as we do with IE, therefore, you may experience technical difficulties such as IDOC images or e-FNARS not displaying properly.

Additionally, some browsers have built in functionality that will supersede the recommended software. For example, Google Chrome has a default image viewer that will load instead of Adobe Reader that does not provide the viewing options of Adobe. Therefore, you should use IE as your browser to ensure that you have the most efficient experience possible.

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