"The automated tool designed to make it easier to put tax information into financial-aid applications will be back online Oct. 1, according to federal officials," Education Week reports.
"You probably remember that the 'data-retrieval tool' was taken down last spring after hackers tried to use it to get personal tax information from the system.
When they disabled the data-retrieval tool, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Education officials said they'd have it back up and running by Oct. 1, when the Free Application for Federal Student Aid becomes available for students to fill out. An Education Department spokeswoman confirmed that the tool—known as the DRT—will be up and running by Oct. 1.
... Last month, the Education Department's office of Federal Student Aid announced security changes for the DRT. Families can use the tool to import their tax information, officials said, but won't be able to see the dollar amounts. In each data field, they'll just see 'transferred from the IRS' instead.
Some counselors were concerned about that change, saying they feared it could discourage students from submitting the FAFSA because they couldn't see and confirm that the tax information was accurate.
... Families will notice that financial information such as their adjusted gross income is not displayed, but they 'can rest assured that the information comes directly from what they filed with the IRS, so if they are comfortable they filed their tax return correctly, they should be comfortable knowing the tax information being imported into their FAFSA is correct,' said Erin Powers, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators."
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Publication Date: 9/28/2017