Earlier this month, Fafsa applicants were no longer able to use the Data Retrieval Tool, which automatically fills in information to the application from an individual’s tax return. Without the tool, the already complicated Fafsa process requires applicants to fill in their own tax information from old returns or order transcripts from the I.R.S. which can take several weeks to receive.
The Department of Education and the I.R.S. released a statement that they had decided to suspend the tool temporarily to prevent any potential identity theft issues, even though no reports of identity theft have been made within the five years of the tool’s use. The change comes at perhaps the most inconvenient time during the peak of Fafsa season and as the tool was being used by more applicants than ever.
Students can still apply for financial aid, but the tool will be down for several weeks according to the above agencies. That means students shouldn’t wait to apply in hopes that it’ll be up again soon.
To read the full story by The New York Times, click here.