Matthew Stabley

Department of Education Changes Verification Requirements for Students Still Waiting on Financial Aid Packages

Millions of high school seniors must decide where they're going to college by Monday, but thousands of them are still waiting on their financial aid packages.

The Department of Education announced it is changing the verification requirements so students still waiting on their federal aid packages will get them faster. It is part of an ongoing effort to help students and parents affected by the suspension of the IRS data retrieval tool, which makes it easy for students and parents to automatically upload their tax returns for the application.

The IRS removed the link from the FAFSA website in March when it detected a security breach. Hackers may have compromised the personal data of almost 100,000 taxpayers by posing as students using the tool, the IRS said.

As a result, thousands of students were unable to complete the application process or were chosen for further verification by the school to which they applied.

As of Tuesday, colleges and universities no longer are required to collect tax return transcripts or verification on non-filer forms. The Department of Education sent a letter to colleges and universities about the change.

The change is crucial because the sooner students get their financial aid packages, the sooner they can make an informed decision.

If this affects you, contact the school's financial aid office immediately, ask what it needs from you and get that out as soon as possible.

Most financial aid offices will be able to give an answer on your reward package within a day or two.

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