Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Admitted in November 2016. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.
You may be advising a student who lives with their grandmother or aunt, but was never legally adopted. In other instances, an older brother, sister, or family friend is raising a child but no official adoption took place.
For some families, this approach may have offered a way to handle conflicts and crises without involving the court system. However, complications can arise when it comes time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
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.
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→
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.
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).
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.