New FAFSA: Latest Update

One enhancement of the new FAFSA that we’ve heard a lot about is the ability to electronically import your latest tax return data directly from the IRS website into your online FAFSA, replacing tax questions you would have had to fill in by hand. The electronic retrieval of IRS information is scheduled to begin in January 2010, but Stuart, an EducationGrant reader, pointed out that I was incorrect in some important details, and he was right. A little more research led me to information from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators about how this new technology is going to work. For starters, it’s going to be rolled out in stages (which seems like a sensible plan).

At first, the new IRS information retrieval feature will only work for importing 2008 tax return data into a 2009-2010 online FAFSA, and the retrieval technology itself will not be available until late January 2010, rather than January 1st.

Once the IRS info retrieval function is fully tested and proves to work successfully, then importing 2009 tax return data into a 2010-2011 FAFSA may begin sometime in the summer of 2010.

The NASFAA stated that the IRS Data Retrieval process will be available to dependent and independent student who are 2009-2010 FAFSA-on-the-Web applicants, and the parents of dependent applicants, who meet all of these criteria:

  • You must be filing an initial or renewal 2009-2010 FAFSA (IRS Data Retrieval will not be available for corrections entry for 2009-2010)
  • You must have a PIN, which is required to access tax information on the IRS database, as well as to sign and submit the FAFSA online. (Any student or parent who does not have a PIN will get the opportunity to apply for a PIN and use it immediately to both transfer IRS data and submit the FAFSA, but to prevent glitches, it’s faster to get your PIN ahead of time.)
  • You must have a valid Social Security Number (SSN)
  • You must have filed a 2008 federal tax return
  • Your marital status has not changed since December 31, 2008

Other changes to the FAFSA, such as a streamlined form, the ability to skip questions that don’t apply to you, and instant estimates of Pell Grant eligibility, should be available even in the 2009-2010 FAFSA in January.

Here’s a quick look at the current (2009-2010) and new (2010-2011) online FAFSA forms, from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Annual Report (FY 2009):
2010-2011 fafsa sm3

Stay tuned to EducationGrant for more updates on the new FAFSA over the next several months, and in the meantime, thanks to Stuart for the IRS retrieval clarification.

7 comments to “New FAFSA: Latest Update”

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  2. i am a single mother of three with no help from any of there father’s. our total income for the month is $246 in cash and ^^( DOLLARES ON FOODSTAMPS MY RENT IS FOUR HUNDRED SO MY MOM AND GRANDMOTHER PAY THE REMAINDER OF THE BALANCE OFF THEY ARE FIXING TO CUT MY GAS OFF FRIDAY AND I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO. I’M TRYING BUT IT SEEENS LIKE IT’S ENOUGH

  3. Hi Tara,
    In this economy times are definitely tough, so we applaud you for being a single mother and taking care of your children the best that you can! If you are looking to go back to school, you should look into scholarships and grants for single mothers: You should also apply for financial aid, and fill out a FAFSA form (which is the application). For more information, please visit

    Best of luck & take care!
    EducationGrant Editor

  4. Hi, am writing to see maybe if I gould get some help I decided to go back to school just to get some education behing me cause we all know to get a good high paying job you have to have a college degree behind you. I am a single mother of 3 ranging from 8-5-and 2 I work a full time and a part time and I am taking courses on line for medical billing. I pay all the necessities needed electric-200 rent-650 insurance, gas, daycare and then some im just barely making it I really dont think I could afford to repay any student loans so I was looking towards any type of grants, FSEOG, or scholarships I really would appreciate any helping hands I could get.

  5. Hi Cecilia,

    Good luck with going back to school! So apply for any grants, you will still need to fill out a FAFSA form (financial aid application). It may be worth looking into applying for financial aid – there is more information at Being a single mother, you are also eligible for any single mother scholarships: I would also look into other types of scholarships – what scholarships is the school you are interested in offering? what about scholarships from your town or state, religious organizations, or other groups in your community? It is very important for you to keep a close eye on the deadlines, so you don’t miss our on a chance to receive money for your schooling! Also – apply to any and every scholarship you can! Although it may be a time consuming process, in the end every dollar you receive will go toward your education!

    Best of luck,
    EducationGrant Editor

  6. hey i was wondering where do you get the FSCA forms at for the pell grant

  7. Hi,
    The FAFSA form is available online here:

    Thanks for reading,
    EducationGrant Editor

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