Kentucky residents filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for student aid must do so this spring without a vital tool, according to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA).
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), used to transfer data from tax forms to the FAFSA, has been shut down by the IRS because of security concerns. It will not be available again until the next FAFSA season begins Oct. 1, according to a release from the department and the IRS.
The DRT is also used by students and parents whose income must be verified before students can receive their financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education requires many students to go through verification.
Some borrowers repaying federal student loans also use the DRT if their loan repayment program requires yearly updating of income data, according to the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC).
“The IRS is working to identify the number of taxpayers affected by questionable use of the Data Retrieval Tool,” the statement added. “Identity thieves may have used personal information obtained outside the tax system to access the FAFSA form in an attempt to secure tax information through the DRT. The IRS continues to review the extent to which this contributed to fraudulently filed tax returns.”
Without the DRT, the FAFSA and verification forms must be filled out manually. The FAFSA can be found at fafsa.gov. Colleges have their own verification forms.
KHEAA is the state agency that administers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), need-based grants and other programs to help students pay their higher education expenses.
KHESLC is a public nonprofit agency that services federal student loans and makes private education loans. KHESLC and KHEAA have the same board of directors.
For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit www.kheaa.com; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926, ext. 6-7214.