The Department of Education would be very happy if everyone used their IRS retrieval tool for the upcoming FAFSA. And, in the past, we’ve had several members of our Paying For College 101 group mention they have received this an email suggesting they do so. So now what do they do?
Here’s what we’ve found out….
In the past, as part of FSA’s ongoing effort to expand usage of the IRS DRT, Federal Student Aid emailed students and parents of dependent students who did not use the IRS DRT when completing the most recent FAFSA form. The email was meant to encourage parents to return to fafsa.gov, transfer their tax return information into the FAFSA form using the data retrieval tool (DRT), and submit the correction.
The email also discouraged parents from revising data that was accurate at the time the FAFSA form was originally filed, such as household size or number in college. Government communication about the email states that this correction submission will result in a more accurate Central Processing System transaction upon which financial aid administrators can determine a student’s eligibility for aid.
At one time, the Washington Post reported that there had been a surge in FAFSA verification requests. And, as late as December last year, the Department of Education made adjustments to its 2018-19 verification selection algorithm, which should have normalized the number of FAFSAs flagged for verification. Our suspicion is that the FSA sent the email (below) in an effort to encourage more users of DRT, that may have been scared away from using it in the fall because of glitches and fear of the security issues the system had in the spring of 2017, which led to it’s temporary shut down.
Here are our suggestion…
- To be on the safe side, whether you choose to use DRT or not, order your tax transcripts just in case the school asks for verification and make sure your student is checking his/her student portals for any requests for docs and/or financial aid award notices. You can order your tax transcript here and remember it is for the tax year you used for filing FAFSA.
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