Education Dept. Updates 2018-19 FAFSA Form

The U.S. Department of Education on Monday released a draft version of the 2018-19 academic year Free Application for Federal Student Aid, reported Politico Morning Education.

The revised version contains a number of minor or technical updates, but also includes more substantive changes to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool "to enhance the privacy of applicant and parent IRS tax return information." The department also plans to allow families who filed an amended tax return to use the tool, which went offline in March following concerns that its information could potentially be misused by identity thieves.

Prior to the announced updates, a broad coalition of higher education associations—including AACRAO—sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos expressing grave concern with the suspension of the tool. The groups urged the department and the IRS to use all necessary resources to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and to take immediate steps to alleviate the increased burden that is now falling on millions of student applicants.

"We recognize the seriousness of the IRS' concerns regarding the security of data and the possible misuse of the tool to commit tax fraud, but this should not preclude the timely adoption of reasonable security measures or a revised system," the coalition said in the letter. "Use of the [data retrieval tool] is not merely a convenience to students: it is vital to ensuring that students, particularly those least likely to receive federal financial aid, can in fact do so."

 

Went offline: http://www.aacrao.org/resources/resources-detail-view/disabled-irs-data-tool-complicates-financial-aid-application-process

 

Related Links

The Federal Register

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/04/17/2017-07620/agency-information-collection-activities-comment-request-2018-2019-free-application-for-federal

Politico Morning Education

http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-education/2017/04/supreme-court-could-clear-roadblocks-to-school-vouchers-219829

Coalition Letter to Secretary DeVos on Suspension of IRS Data Retrieval Tool

http://aacrao.org/docs/default-source/Advocacy1/SignOn-Letters/community-irs-drt-letter.pdf?sfvrsn=2