Filing your FAFSA is about to get A LOT easier!
Posted By: Melissa Elliott - 9/20/2017 8:29:36 AM

The 2017-2018 school year just started, but it is already time to start thinking about 2018-2019. On October 1, 2017 the 2018-19 FAFSA will open. In addition, starting on October 1st, students and their families will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to submit data from their 2016 tax return when completing their 2018-19 FAFSA.

Last spring, ED and the IRS temporarily suspended the DRT due to security concerns. When the DRT comes back online on October 1st, how will it be safer than before? First, encryption technology has been added to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool so that taxpayer information is better protected. Second, borrowers that file the FAFSA will no longer be able to see exact income numbers from their tax returns show up on the FAFSA. Rather, the applicant will just be able to see that the data has been transferred from the IRS. Third, parents that file a joint income tax return will need to submit their earned income information from their W2 manually. Fourth and finally, applicants for federal student aid will not be able to make their own corrections to the transferred data from the IRS. If a corrected tax return is filed, they will need to show a copy to the financial aid office of whatever college they are attending. The changes are not intended to make things more difficult, but to better protect applicants’ sensitive information. If you are wondering how you can know if your information is correct if you can't see it, remember that the information comes directly from what you filed with IRS. If you are comfortable that you filed their tax return correctly, you should be comfortable that the information is correct.

While using the tool is optional, it’s still a more streamlined way to file the FAFSA. It pulls information directly from the IRS, so manual entry errors are eliminated. Also, the DRT can save you time on the back-end if you or your student are selected for verification.

As always, please let our office know if you have any questions.  We want to provide you the financial support you need to afford your education!

 


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