STUDENT AID ELIGIBILITY WORKSHEET FOR FAFSA QUESTION 23

Some of the ideas put forth for Reauthorization of the HEA, include eliminating the drug-related eligibility questions on the FAFSA. Presently, students who report on their FAFSA that they were convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs must complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet for Question 23 to determine if they are eligible for Federal Student Aid. The 2020-2021 Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet for FAFSA Question 23 can be found here.

2020-2021 FAFSA PDF RELEASED

The 2020-2021 FAFSA PDF is here. The 2020-2021 FAFSA cycle began on Oct. 1 and the application is available for students and families to complete until June 30, 2021. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the financial aid process. Students use the FAFSA to apply for federal student aid, such as grants, work-study, and loans. In addition, most states and colleges use information from the FAFSA to award nonfederal aid. FSA is pushing students to apply as early as possible, since some funds are limited, particularly funding from state aid programs which students also apply for through the FAFSA. Be sure to remind your students that some funds are limited, so it’s a good idea to apply as soon as possible

FSA ID ENHANCEMENTS FOR NEXT GEN FINANCIAL SERVICES ENVIRONMENT

Last month the Department made additional enhancements to the FSA ID. The enhancements were made as part of the Next Generation (Next Gen) Financial Services Environment FSA has been implementing. The FSA ID is used by students, parents and borrowers to access websites like FAFSA.gov, StudentLoans.gov, NSLDS Student Access, StudentAid.gov, and the myStudentAid mobile app. The FSA ID is also required for access to the Application for Borrower Defense to Loan Repayment and the Federal Student Aid Feedback System.

According to a recent electronic announcement from FSA, the following enhancements were made on May 19th.

Require verified email address or mobile phone number. New FSA ID users will be required to provide either a verified email address or mobile phone number when creating an FSA ID account. Existing FSA ID users who do not already have a verified email address or mobile phone number will be prompted to provide one when logging in for the first time after implementation of this change. This enhancement ensures FSA ID users can manage their account more effectively and helps us stay in contact with FSA ID users as needed. As a reminder, a verified email address or mobile phone number can be used to log in, reset a password, retrieve a username, or unlock an FSA ID account.

Replace Create-Your-Own Challenge Questions with Pick-From-List Challenge Questions. FSA ID users must answer four challenge questions when creating an FSA ID account. The answers to the challenge questions may be required to verify the user’s identity and are an important security feature. Currently, FSA ID users select two challenge questions from a list of questions and create two challenge questions on their own. To streamline the process for users, we will remove the create-your-own option. Users will select all four required challenge questions from a list.

Add Editable Summary Page to the Create Account Process. Users will have the option to edit the summary information that is presented at the end of the process to create an FSA ID. If a user identifies an error, he or she may edit and save the information directly on the summary page, rather than having to go back to correct the information on a prior page.

IRS ANNOUNCED UPDATED TAX TRANSCRIPTS REDACTING SENSITIVE INFORMATION

As we reported last month, the IRS recently announced that as of September 23, the individual tax return transcript(s) was replaced with an updated version that redacts sensitive personal identifying information of the tax filer. These changes are part of an effort to continue to combat stolen identity refund fraud, and to protect taxpayer information.

At the end of the current calendar year, when taxpayers or third parties call the IRS with a transcript request, the transcript will be mailed to the taxpayer’s address of record. The transcript will not be faxed on request to either the taxpayer or a third party.

According to a recent electronic announcement from FSA here’s what’s changed on the IRS Tax Transcripts

As part of the verification process, students (and if applicable their spouses or parents) may be required to submit to institutions a copy of their income and tax information via a tax transcript. The IRS has announced that with the launch of the new tax transcripts the following information will now display:

  • Last 4 digits of any SSN listed on the transcript (e.g. XXX-XX-1234)
  • Last 4 digits of any EIN listed on the transcript (e.g. XXX-XX1234)
  • Last 4 digits of any account or telephone number
  • First 4 characters of the last name of any individual
  • First 4 characters of a business name
  • First 6 characters of the street address, including spaces
  • All money amounts, including balance due, interest and penalties

Based on their review of the changes to the IRS tax transcripts, they do not believe that the redaction of sensitive personal information will pose a significant burden for institutions in using the new tax transcripts for verification purposes. Institutions should still be able to identify and match the tax payer information on the tax transcript with the FAFSA information on file either by use of the limited redacted information provided on the tax transcript or by use of the new “Customer File Number” available on the new transcript. As a result, the IRS tax transcript is still acceptable documentation for verification purposes.

Additional changes were made to the IRS forms 4506-Td 4506T-EZ provide an opportunity for the tax filer to provide a Customer File Number which is optional and available for the filer to use when using the form to request a transcript. Starting early next calendar year tax payers may also assign a Customer File Number to their tax transcript that they obtain through Get Transcript On-line and Get Transcript On-Line By Mail. Up to 10 numeric characters, such as a student identification number, can be included to better assist institutions in matching the tax transcript to the appropriate student.

In the spring of 2019 the IRS plans to remove the option for requesting third-party receipt of tax information from Form 4506-T and 4506T-EZ.  Instead, transcripts will be mailed only to the taxpayer’s address of record. Institutions still interested in receiving tax transcripts directly from the IRS may request to become participants in the IRS’ Income Verification Express Services [IVES] program by registering for e-Services on IRS.gov.

For more information from FSA, check out this electronic announcement here.

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2019-2020 FAFSA PDF RELEASED

The 2019-2020 FAFSA PDF is here. The 2019-2020 FAFSA cycle began on Oct. 1 and the application is available until June 30, 2020. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the financial aid process. Students use the FAFSA to apply for federal student aid, such as grants, work-study, and loans. In addition, most states and colleges use information from the FAFSA to award nonfederal aid. FSA is pushing students to apply as early as possible, since some funds are limited, particularly funding from state aid programs which students also apply for through the FAFSA. Be sure to remind your students that some funds are limited, so it’s a good idea to apply as soon as possible.

The IRS DRT back for the 2019-2020 FAFSA cycle with stronger security and privacy protections. As a result, the tax information transferred from the IRS does not display on the IRS DRT web page, in the FAFSA form, or on the Student Aid Report. Instead of the user’s tax information being displayed, the phrase “Transferred from the IRS” appears in the appropriate fields on fafsa.gov. Schools will have access to the tax return information that is transferred via the IRS DRT.

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