The Department of Education Shuts Down a Key Tool Used to Complete the FAFSA

fafsa logo

The United States Department of Education has shutdown the IRS Retrieval Tool, a key tool used when filling out the FAFSA.  The FAFSA website has this announcement:

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is unavailable at this time. We regret any inconvenience.

To fill out a FAFSA, you can manually input your tax information. Remember, if you’re filling out the 2017–18 FAFSA form, your 2015 tax information is required (not 2016).

Politico reported that the IRS and the Education Department confirmed that the tool was shut off because of concerns that the data being used by identity thieves.  According to Politico the IRS and the Education Department joint statement said the action was “a precautionary step following concerns that information from the tool could potentially be misused by identity thieves.”  The tool could be “unavailable for several weeks.”

The absence of the tool means that students will have to enter the IRS data themselves.  Until now, the tool has been available for seven years.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, heads runs an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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