FAFSA Flexibilities Announced by the Federal Government

on April 24, 2017

The U.S. Department of Education announced new flexibilities for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) because the Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) was suspended after a security breach.


According to the department, the new measures enacted to help FAFSA filers include:

  • Institutions can accept a signed paper copy of the 2015 IRS tax return that was used by a tax filer for submission to the IRS as acceptable documentation to verify information provided on the FAFSA
  • Institutions are no longer required to collect documentation obtained from the IRS or other tax authorities verifying that the applicant, the applicant’s spouse or the applicant’s parents did not file a 2015 tax return (often referred to as Verification of Nonfiling)

The new flexibilities are implemented immediately and apply to the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFSAs. 


“These flexibilities are an important step toward making the process easier,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said.  “They help applicants who normally would have used the IRS DRT to more easily complete the application process.”

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