Congress Seeks Improvement to Financial Aid Process

Melissa Maichle California, Community Colleges, Compliance, Financial Aid Industry News, FL, General Issues in Financial Aid, MA, NY, PA

A bill introduced on July 26, 2017 by Marc Veasey of Texas seeks to make it easier for students to gain access to the required non-filer statements that can currently only be requested through the IRS. These forms are required for verification of income to receive both federal and state grants along with federal student loans. If the bill passes, the IRS and Dept. of Education have 90 days to have a portal up and running whereby students would be able to get the data in a simpler fashion. The new online process would also require the IRS to respond to all requests within 10 days.

The difference with the new portal vs. the current IRS method is that students could utilize personal identifying forms such as college transcripts or home utility bills instead of specific accounts such as a home mortgage or credit cards.  The current IRS process can be cumbersome for certain demographics as it requires a valid email address and a text enabled phone.  The system forces users to utilize an older method of requiring the 4506-T form to be filled out and then mailed or faxed to the IRS.

By giving users more options with this bill, there will be fewer barriers for families to access the information they need to apply for federal aid, hence the name of the bill.  “Capable students shouldn’t have to postpone their college dreams because a government agency can’t provide them the documents they need in time for crucial financial aid deadlines,” Congressman Veasey said. “A delay of a few weeks can mean the world of a difference for a student losing sleep because they do not know how they will pay for college.”