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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ARE YOU READY FOR THE 2019-2020 FAFSA

The 2019-2020 FAFSA launches on October 1, 2018. 2019-2020 FAFSA applicants will be required to provide their 2017 tax year information on the form. This year, applicants will have two ways to complete the form online by either completing the application at FAFSA.gov or by using the new myStudentAid app to complete the form right form their smart phone. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is reportedly ready to go for the 2019-2020 year too, so, we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that this year, it all works as expected.

THE FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID GOES MOBILE

If you attended last year’s Federal Student Aid conference in Orlando, Florida you were among the first to hear about FSA’s plans to redesign the FAFSA.Gov website and move the application to a mobile app.

According to an announcement from Federal Student Aid, the redesigned website was launched on July 22. Now, the site is optimized to fit mobile phone screens and has been redesigned for a better user experience. The FAFSA app is expected to be released later this year by October 1, 2018, so that students and parents can begin applying for aid the upcoming 2019-2020 FAFSA application cycle. More specific information on the mobile app, which will become available later this summer, will follow in an upcoming electronic announcement. For now, check out the electronic announcement from FSA for more information and to grab a copy of a helpful PowerPoint that can be used as a reference tool for aid administrators, counselors and even financial aid nights and internal staff training.

FSA UNVEILS NEW DHS-SAVE RESOURCE PAGE

Beginning in May 2018, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) will give Title IV schools access to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (Save) system for submitting third step verification requests to obtain the immigration status for determining student eligibility for Title IV aid. Increasing electronic access for Title IV schools to the save system is a collaborative effort by ED and DHS, designed to modernize the third step verification process. DHS’ existing paper-based process will be discontinued on May 1, 2018.

To assist schools in getting up to speed with the new process, the Department created a new DHS-SAVE resource page on the IFAP website. It provides the guidance on the electronic third step verification process for determining a student’s eligibility for title iv as well as dear colleague letters and announcements and other resources.

SCHOOLS MUST AUTHENTICATE IDENTITY OF FAFSA FILERS

Beginning with the 2018–2019 FAFSA cycle the IRS DRT will obscure a taxpayer’s information from a FAFSA applicant but ISIR data received by schools will have all of the information. Last month federal student aid issued a reminder to institutions that they are obligated to protect the security and confidentiality of data used in all aspects of administration of the Title IV Federal Student Aid programs. This includes having policies and practices in place that provide for adequate authentication of an applicant’s identity before disclosing any confidential information. Schools may not disclose income and tax information from the FAFSA with the applicant his or her spouse or parents unless they can authenticate their identity.

A FAFSA applicant appearing in person and presenting an unexpired, valid government issued photo identification (e.g. a driver’s license, non-driver’s identification card, other state issued identification, or U.S. passport) is a secure way of doing so for purposes of disclosing FAFSA information.

FSA cautioned institutions that while an institution may have policies and procedures in place that provide for authentication in a manner other than in person, or practices that guide staff interactions with students and families about how to answer questions from applicant’s and their families without compromising highly confidential information they may also need to strengthen their internal controls and provide additional training for staff to ensure that confidential information is not inappropriately or inadvertently disclosed.