Category Archives: Student-Aid Programs

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Education Dept. Announces Moves to Ease Burden of Fafsa Tool’s Absence

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Monday said the department would relieve some of the burden on students and families affected by the suspension of the Internal Revenue Service’s Data Retrieval Tool, which makes it easier to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Fafsa.

The changes, announced in a “Dear Colleague” letter, will affect the verification requirements for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Fafsa cycles. Instead of using the tool or requiring a tax transcript, “institutions…

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DeVos Withdraws Obama-Era Memos Focused on Improving Loan Servicing

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday withdrew three memos, issued during President Barack Obama’s administration, that had been focused on streamlining the student-loan-servicing industry and improving customer service for borrowers.

Ms. DeVos described the move in a letter to James W. Runcie, chief operating officer of the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid.

The three memos, issued by John B. King Jr., a former secretary of education, and Ted Mitchell, a former under sec…

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New York State Is Set to Test Free Tuition

New York is set to offer free tuition to public colleges for state residents who earn less than $125,000 a year, reports the Associated Press. Under a deal between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, and legislators, students from such families will be able to enroll at campuses of the State University of New York or the City University of New York without paying tuition.

While other states allow free tuition to community colleges as well as other reduced tuition programs, the New York effort is …

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Breach of Financial-Aid Tool May Have Compromised Data on 100,000 Taxpayers

Nearly 100,000 taxpayers may have had their personal information compromised by a security breach of an Internal Revenue Service tool that makes it easier to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Fafsa, according to the IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, who testified on Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee.

The tool, which mysteriously and abruptly went offline in March, is scheduled to be available again in October, officials have said. Mr. Koskinen testified that 3…

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IRS Tool Used for Student-Aid Forms Will Be Offline Until the Fall

A tool that millions of students have used to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Fafsa, will be offline until the fall, the Internal Revenue Service and the Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office announced on Thursday.

The IRS and the department announced the outage of the Data Retrieval Tool, a resource that makes it easier to fill out the Fafsa, earlier this month, several days after the tool mysteriously went offline.

“While this tool provides an important c…

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With IRS Data Tool Down, Lawmakers Ask Education Dept. to Help Students

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate has asked the U.S. Department of Education to help families who may be affected by the outage of a popular online tool that had made it easier to apply for federal student aid.

The Internal Revenue Service and the Education Department announced this month that they had suspended the data-retrieval tool, a device that automatically pulls federal tax information into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, th…

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Former For-Profit Lobbyist Quits Job at Education Dept.

Taylor Hansen, a former lobbyist for for-profit colleges, quit his job at the U.S. Department of Education on Friday, Bloomberg reports.

Mr. Hansen is the son of Bill Hansen, head of USA Funds, a student-loan-guarantee agency that has recently branched out into other career-education projects. The younger Mr. Hansen was one of only a few advisers to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos with experience working in higher education.

He resigned after the department announced that it would reverse an Oba…

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Citing Security Fears, IRS Suspends Key Tool in Financial-Aid Process

The U.S. Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday announced that the IRS had suspended the agency’s data-retrieval tool, a key online resource that, among other things, makes it easier for students and families to fill out the financial-aid form known as the Fafsa.

This week, reports circulated online that the data-retrieval tool had suddenly become unavailable, without a public explanation from the Education Department or the IRS. After questions swirled about the to…

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AmeriCorps Joins NEH and NEA Among Programs Trump May Cut

A list of programs that could be cut in the Trump administration’s forthcoming budget includes not only the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, but AmeriCorps, The New York Times reports.

Although the aim of the cuts is to trim domestic spending, most of the targeted programs cost less than $500 million per year, a drop in the bucket for a government whose spending is likely to exceed $4 trillion. The previously reported cuts in the NEA and NEH generate…

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sues Nation’s Largest Student-Loan Servicer

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing Navient, the country’s largest servicer of federal and private student loans, for failing borrowers during every stage of repayment, the federal agency said on Wednesday in a news release.

In the lawsuit, which seeks undisclosed damages, the bureau states that Navient violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Navient provided borrowers with b…