Getting ready to help students fill out the FAFSA?
The Department of Education released a list this week highlighting the eight steps that need to be followed when filing for federal student aid. And included in the article is an important reminder: Students can — and should — list multiple colleges on their FAFSA.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available to FAFSA filers this fall, but the tax information it imports will remain masked — even to students and parents.
According to a recent Federal Student Aid memo, the change will enhance security and privacy. But many financial aid professionals are worried the tool’s new constraints will discourage families and students from using it to import their tax information when applying for federal aid.
Will the FAFSA’s earlier filing date result in increased access to higher education?
New federal data is promising.
After a four-year decline, FAFSA completions are up for the high school class of 2017, the first cohort of students who were able to file for aid starting on Oct. 1 — a full three months earlier than previously allowed.
Financial concerns cause nearly 3 million students to drop out of college each year.
Researchers at Tyton Partners believe a student-centered approach to financial aid could help reduce those numbers. In a recent report, the Boston-based advising firm chronicled the challenges posed by the current system and examined potential solutions through a survey of more than 1,800 higher ed administrators.
Their take? Targeted communication could help improve the process for both students and colleges.
“According to administrators, the biggest challenges preventing students from accessing aid are lack of student engagement, lack of awareness, and insufficient financial aid,” the report notes. “All three of these issues are addressable through improved communication between the institution and the student.”
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→
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