All posts by Liz Glaser

Lawmakers Examine Factors Behind Suspension of DRT

The Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) was suspended on March 3, with Federal Student Aid (FSA) and IRS citing security and privacy concerns. On  May 3,  the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing to get a better understanding of the problems that caused the tool to be taken out of service and the steps FSA and the IRS are taking to restore this critical tool.

James Runcie, the Chief Operating Officer of the office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), confirmed that the DRT will continue to be suspended for 2017-2018 FAFSA; it will return Oct. 1, 2017 for the 2018-2019 FAFSA. This solution, according to a memo from FSA, will “limit the information that displays to the applicant” to enhance security. Taxpayer information will be encrypted and hidden from view on both the IRS DRT page and the FASFA page. Continue reading Lawmakers Examine Factors Behind Suspension of DRT

Legislative Update: Affiliates Ramp Up Advocacy Efforts

After last month’s successful Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, advocacy efforts within many NACAC affiliates are on the rise.

Over the past several months, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee have hosted SACAC legislative days. Because SACAC is a regional affiliate, advocacy days take place in specific states, allowing members to meet with their own legislators and impact students where they live.

Continue reading Legislative Update: Affiliates Ramp Up Advocacy Efforts

Reminder: Beware Potential FAFSA Scams

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iStock

The Department of Education has always advised caution when working with third-parties on FAFSA completion, and is urging additional vigilance going forward given the unavailability of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

Representatives from the IRS and the Office of Federal Student Aid suspended the service in March out of concern that it could be misused by identity thieves. The tool, which many students use when applying for federal aid, is not expected to be restored until fall 2017.

There are reports that some students and families have been scammed by individuals seeking to take advantage of this situation by charging families for help filing the FAFSA and/or stealing the families’ personal information for illicit use.

Continue reading Reminder: Beware Potential FAFSA Scams

Breaking Down Barriers: New White Paper Examines Racial Equity in Higher Ed

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iStock

Coalition building and collaboration at the federal level may help lead the charge for equity-centered admission and higher education policies.

That assessment was shared last month by panelists and attendees at a Washington, DC, event marking the release of a new white paper examining racial equity and barriers to postsecondary education for minority students.

The paper was released by the Young Invincibles, a bipartisan nonprofit focused on the needs of young people ages 18-34. Through policy research and analysis, the organization advocates for a broad range of policy priorities, including access to postsecondary education — a crucial element for this age group.

Continue reading Breaking Down Barriers: New White Paper Examines Racial Equity in Higher Ed

Students and Counselors Make the Case for a Streamlined FAFSA

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Educators, advocates, Hill staffers, and students gathered in Washington, DC, earlier this month to learn more about efforts by the National College Access Network (NCAN) to simplify the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA).

The overarching goal of this new streamlined FAFSA is simple — stop making low-income students repeatedly prove that they are low-income. The NCAN report, Half the FASFA: Cutting the Red Tape to Postsecondary Aid, includes three potential pathways to shorten the FAFSA.

For example, on one track, once a student has confirmed that their family earns a means-tested benefit such as SNAP (food assistance) or TANF (cash assistance), they are automatically sent to the signature portion of the form.

Continue reading Students and Counselors Make the Case for a Streamlined FAFSA