Tag Archives: FAFSA

Reminder: Keep an Eye on Financial Aid Deadlines

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Need financial aid for the 2018-19 academic year?

The US Department of Education is reminding students to remain cognizant of deadlines when completing the FAFSA.

While the FAFSA is primarily used to award federal financial aid, many colleges, states, and scholarship programs also use the form to assess eligibility for their aid programs.

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Expert Advice: Listing College Options on the FAFSA

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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.

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FAFSA Update: Data Imported From DRT Will Be Masked

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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.

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DRT Now Available for Income-Driven Repayment Plan Applicants

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The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is now available to student loan holders applying for an income-driven repayment plan, the Department of Education announced last week.

According to a press release, “new encryption protections” have been added to the tool. However, the DRT will remain out-of-service for FAFSA filers until Oct. 1.

Continue reading DRT Now Available for Income-Driven Repayment Plan Applicants

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

New Flexibilities for FAFSA Filers Affected by DRT Outage

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Institutions now have more options when it comes to verifying FAFSA information.

Last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that colleges and universities would be granted new flexibilities due to the extended outage of the IRS’s Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

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Out-of-Service: IRS Data Retrieval Tool Unavailable to FAFSA Filers

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The IRS Data Retrieval Tool that many students use to complete their FAFSA is currently unavailable, and officials estimate it will be several weeks before it is back up and running.

Representatives from the IRS and the Office of Federal Student Aid said Thursday that they decided to suspend the service out of concern that it could be misused by identity thieves.

Although FAFSA applicants still have the option to enter income information manually, college access advocates are concerned that students and families who can’t access the tool will face more complications in their quest to access federal student aid.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, introduced in the 2010-11 school year, helps speed up the application process and reduces the potential that a student’s FAFSA will be flagged for verification — a process that can delay the awarding of financial aid packages.

Continue reading Out-of-Service: IRS Data Retrieval Tool Unavailable to FAFSA Filers

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

Tips to Boost FAFSA Participation

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Looking for ways to boost FAFSA completion rates in your school district?

Erin Bibo, deputy chief of college & career programs with DC Public Schools, shared success strategies in a recent column published by Homeroom — the official blog of the US Department of Education.

“Financial aid plays a huge factor in students’ college-going decisions and success,” Bibo wrote. “For a large urban district like DC Public Schools, where 77 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced price lunch, getting graduating seniors to complete their FAFSAs on time isn’t an optional task, it’s a necessary one.”

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Track FAFSA Completion Rates by School, District

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Looking for a better way to chart FAFSA trends in your community?

Check out the US Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid Completion Tool.

The searchable database provides weekly updates for every high school where five or more students have filed a FAFSA. The form is completed annually by current and prospective college students to determine their eligibility for financial assistance.

Continue reading Track FAFSA Completion Rates by School, District