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Latest from FSA: Upcoming FSA ID Enhancements

April 20, 2017

FSA recently announced a variety of enhancements to the FSA ID experience, which will be implemented based on feedback from users and financial aid professionals. These changes will allow more effective account management, strengthened security, and updated training resources.

These enhancements, which will be implemented on May 14, 2017, include:

  • Text messaging as an option for account recovery
  • Improved navigation on User Account Management pages
  • Removal of the option to link FSA PINs to FSA IDs
  • New video tutorials
  • New fact sheet
  • And more

For more information on these enhancements, check out FSA’s original release.

 

Latest from FSA: FSA Posts Updated Reports to FSA Data Center

April 17, 2017

latestfromfsa

In March, FSA posted several updates to the FSA Data Center, refreshing quarterly application, disbursement, and portfolio reports to include data through year-end 2016.

FSA’s updates included several key findings in areas that include:

  • Application Volume and Aid Disbursements
  • Shifts in the Outstanding Loan Portfolio
  • Increased Enrollment in Income-Driven Repayment Plans
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
  • Defaults and Delinquency Rates
  • Default Recoveries

For full details on these findings, check out FSA’s original release.

Reminder: Protect PII when Submitting Documents to the Nelnet School Service Center

April 11, 2017

Recently, Nelnet’s School Service Center has encountered an increase in the number of schools and third parties submitting documents without proper protection of personally identifiable information (PII). We would like to take this opportunity to remind all schools and third parties that PII must be protected when submitted to a servicer. We recommend following the guidelines outlined below.

  1. When emailing documents containing PII, save them as new files and password-protect or encrypt them. Send the encrypted documents as email attachments and provide the password (if applicable) in a separate email or by phone.
    1. Note: If you use email-encryption software, the encrypting and attaching process will be handled by the software.
  2. Never email PII to a personal email account. Nelnet employees will never ask you to do so.

As a reminder, PII is any information about an individual that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity. Examples include name, social security number, date of birth, and place of birth. Loss of PII can lead to identity theft and/or other fraudulent use of the information.

If you have any questions on this process, please contact the Nelnet School Service Center at 866.463.5638.

Latest on IRS Data Retrieval Tool

March 30, 2017

FSA and the IRS announced today that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on fafsa.gov and StudentLoans.gov will remain unavailable until “extra security precautions” can be added. The IRS DRT has been unavailable since early March, when it was disabled due to security concerns. The announcement indicates that both FSA and the IRS are working to resolve the security issues, but that students and their families should “plan for the tool to be offline until the start of the next FAFSA season.”

As a reminder, though the IRS DRT is unavailable, online FAFSA applications are still operable. Students can gather the income information necessary for the FAFSA and income-driven repayment plans on previously filed tax returns. If previously filed returns are not available, tax transcripts can be attained online or by calling 1.800.908.9946.

For more information on the status of the IRS DRT, including steps the IRS is taking to protect taxpayers, please see the original announcement.

 

Latest from FSA: Statement on IRS Data Retrieval Tool

March 13, 2017

On Friday, FSA and the IRS released a statement about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The statement notes that the tool – found through FAFSA.gov – is currently unavailable and is expected to remain unavailable for “several weeks.” The statement notes that the tool has been taken down “as a precautionary step following concerns that information from the tool could potentially be misused by identity thieves.”

The statement stresses that this lack of availability does not affect students’ ability to apply for financial aid. The IRS recently shared details on getting IRS information for FAFSA usage in lieu of using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. A portion of their instructions are included below:

Getting Your 2015 Tax Return Information For the 2016–17 and 2017–18 FAFSA

Applicants filing a 2016–17 or 2017–18 FAFSA must use data from their 2015 tax returns.

You should always retain a copy of your tax return, either electronically or on paper, and keep it in a secure place.

If you did not keep a copy of your tax return, here are some options:

  1. Access the tax software product you used to prepare and file your 2015 return.  You may be able to access your account to download/print a copy.
  2. Contact the tax preparer/provider who filed your 2015 return if you used a tax professional.
  3. Download your tax transcript (a summary) at Get Transcript Online.  Review the rigorous identity authentication requirements for Secure Access before attempting to register.
  4. Use Get Transcript by Mail and a transcript will be mailed to the address on your return within five to 10 days.
  5. Call our automated line at 800-908-9946 to order a transcript by mail.

If you filed an amended tax return, Form 1040X, you should use the adjusted gross income and earned income listed on your revised tax return.

Read the statement from FSA and the IRS. 

 

Be Aware: IRS Data Retrieval Tool Currently Unavailable

March 9, 2017

As announced on NASFAA’s Twitter account on March 7, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is currently down due to technical issues.

This morning, the IRS and FSA released the following statement about the outage:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) Statement about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

The IRS DRT on fafsa.gov is currently unavailable, and we continue to work on the issue. Applicants filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can manually enter the requested financial information from copies of their tax returns.

Additional information:

The online FAFSA remains operational, and families can continue filling the FAFSA as you normally would, using your 2015 tax information.

The income information needed to complete the FAFSA can be found on your tax return. If you did not retain a copy of your tax return, you may be able to access the tax software you used to prepare your return or contact your tax preparer to obtain a copy.

If you are unable to get a copy of your tax return, you may visit www.irs.gov/transcript to view and download a summary of your tax return, called a tax transcript, at Get Transcript Online. You must verify your identity to use this tool. You also may use Get Transcript by Mail or call 1-800-908-9946, and a transcript will be delivered to your address of record within five to 10 days.

For more information on or for help with completing the FAFSA, visit StudentAid.gov/fafsa or call 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

 

We will continue monitoring updates and provide more information on the outage as it is available.

Latest from FSA: FY 2014 3-Year Draft CDRs Distributed February 27

March 8, 2017

FSA recently announced that the Department of Education distributed the FY 2014 3-Year Draft cohort default rate (CDR) notification packages to all eligible domestic and foreign schools on February 27, 2017.

FSA’s announcement details how Draft CDRs were sent to the SAIG mailbox for the destination point administrator designated by the school Each eCDR package included the following information:

  • Cover Letter (message class SHDRLROP)
  • Reader-Friendly Loan Record Detail Report (message class SHCDRROP)
  • Extract-Type Loan Record Detail Report (message class SHCDREOP)

FSA did not send eCDR notification packages to schools who are not enrolled in eCDR. Such schools can download their CRDs and accompanying Loan Record Detail Reports from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

FSA’s announcement also notes that the period for appealing the FY 2014 3-Year Draft Cohort Default Rates under 34 C.F.R Part 668, Subpart N began on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 for all schools.

For full details, read FSA’s original announcement.