The IRS DRT is Ready for FAFSA Season – Are You?

"The 2018-19 FAFSA season launches Oct. 1, and an old friend is back to help ease the process. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is available once again to help families provide their tax information directly from the IRS. This tool was shut down in March due to security concerns over attempts to access people's data to file fraudulent tax returns, but those issues have been addressed and we are back in business for the 2018-19 FAFSA," The National College Access Network writes in a blog post

"To improve the system’s security, transferred financial information will now be encrypted. Instead of showing the actual information on the computer screen or a Student Aid Report, those fields will simply say 'Transferred from the IRS.' Students and parents also will not be able to change or correct the information; if any adjustments are necessary, only financial office staff will be able make them. Please note that the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will still be visible on the confirmation screen and the Student Aid Report.

... The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office has put together a set of information and FAQs regarding the DRT, and we strongly encourage the staff at your organization to review these resources and and share them with students and families. Our colleagues at NASFAA also provided some important points to keep in mind when speaking with applicants:

  • 'Know the background of how and why the DRT went down in the first place. You should be able to explain to students and parents that the tool was temporarily suspended due to security concerns, and that these new changes were implemented to address data security. The changes are not intended to make things more difficult, but to better protect applicants’ sensitive information.
  • 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.
  • Reassure families who might be wondering how they can know if their information is correct if they can’t see it. Assure them the information comes directly from what they filed with IRS. If they are comfortable they filed their tax return correctly, they should be comfortable with that information.
  • Tell families that using the DRT can save them time on the back end if they are selected for verification. If they have to provide documentation of tax information to the school, it will be less time-consuming with the DRT. Without it, manually reviewing that information can slow the process.'"

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.

 

Publication Date: 9/29/2017

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