Tax issues could set FAFSA processing back again

April 1, 2024

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Education Department officials said Friday they’d been made aware of potential issues with incorrect tax data on processed student aid forms, threatening once again to upend the troubled delivery of Institutional Student Information Records to colleges.

The department later said that a joint investigation of the issues with the Internal Revenue Service found fewer than 20 percent of applications were affected by the errors. They asked colleges to await detailed “remediation plans” for fixing the affected applications on Monday.

“We recognize how important it is for schools and families to have the information they need to package and receive aid offers,” officials wrote in an update on Saturday. “Accordingly, we will continue our joint efforts with [the] IRS to resolve these issues and implement updates to resolve data inaccuracies as expeditiously as possible.”

The department began sending out processed ISIRs early last month, a step that colleges hoped meant the delays and missteps that plagued the new FAFSA rollout since last summer were in the past. But in the past two weeks a series of calculation errors and technical issues set back the timeline even further, dashing financial aid officers’ hopes of providing accurate aid packages to students before May.

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