UPDATE: Please read our 6/8/17 blog for DRT UPDATES concerning student loan borrowers.
As an update to our prior article, “Filing FAFSA Options While DRT is Down”, we wanted to keep families aware of the update on the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). The Department of Education (DOE) and the IRS have decided that the DRT will not be available to use for the remaining 2017-2018 FAFSA submission process. Both organizations were concerned about possible identity issues and felt a full suspension of the process would be the best course of action at this time. The government felt that identity thieves could use the information to file fraudulent tax returns. Here is the DOE Press Release regarding the DRT suspension.
In addition to the FAFSA verification process, the government will continue to suspend the link to Studentaid.gov website. The website is used to allow student loan borrowers to get an estimate of their various loan repayment options. Borrowers use this site to access their federal loan data from NSLDS. Due to the DRT suspension, a borrower will now need to input all their federal student loans manually to get an estimate. This will be both time consuming and could lead to possible human error during input. In addition, your work can not be saved.
FAFSA Verification for 2017-18
Although, it is too early to see what the colleges will request of their students and parents, there are a few options available for the 2017 -2018 FAFSA verification. The first would be to submit the actual tax return. Before DRT, this was the preferred method used by most colleges. More recently, colleges have requested the actual tax transcript. If you are uncertain, we listed the steps for this process in our last blog. The form required is Form 4506 T.
The DOE stated it is hopeful that the tool will be available in the fall of 2017 after added security protections are put into the system. For this year, I want to remind families that FAFSA verification is only needed for the college your student is going to attend. In addition, it needs to be done for all returning students.
As further information is released, the EFC PLUS blog will keep you updated!