Department of Education (ED) operations and student aid program funding continue without disruption, even as a partial federal government shutdown enters its second week. The same cannot be said, however, for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), where agency contingency plans categorized income verification and transcript services as "non-excepted" activities, and therefore subject to disruption.
The "Get Transcript Online" and "Get Transcript by Mail" services have both been offline since at least the beginning of the week. NASFAA reached out to federal officials on Monday, but has been unable to determine whether these system outages are casualties of the federal shutdown or truly just part of a larger system maintenance issue. Additional services that require IRS staff processing will most certainly be delayed, if not discontinued, until Congress and the President reach an agreement to fund government operations. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) continues to function, according to ED officials.
At the Federal Student Aid conference in November, ED announced that copies of tax returns and written statements of non-filing would be acceptable for verification purposes in lieu of IRS tax return transcripts and verification of non-filing forms, respectively. To reduce the impact of the IRS shutdown on students, families, and schools, NASFAA has urged ED to release written guidance as soon as possible.
Publication Date: 1/2/2019