Error causes universities to encounter issues with student aid

Error causes universities to encounter issues with student aid

Photo by C.J. Eldridge

C.J. Eldridge, News and Features Editor

A problem with the Internal Revenue Service’s Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) caused students to have issues with knowing what financial aid they can receive through filling out the FAFSA.

Cindi Patterson, North Greenville’s financial aid director, said this is a problem on the Department of Education’s side, where they were having issues linking to the IRS’s data. This tax information is used to determine what financial aid will be available.

The problem is no longer affecting NGU as of the middle of April.

“Now we’re not having those issues . . . At this point, we’re in a good state where we’re getting all of our information, and we’re beginning to package students,” Patterson said. “We really haven’t had some of the issues that some other schools have had that use different software.”

She added that the 1500 FAFSA forms they received all seem to be working well now.

The FAFSA has also been simplified for this year, with less than half the questions to be completed than used to be required.

“You want to complete the FAFSA because you want your financial aid,” Patterson said.

The FAFSA grants you access to potentially receiving federal financial aid, like loans and the Pell Grant. This is also a requirement for receiving certain South Carolina state aid. The HOPE, LIFE and Palmetto Fellows scholarships are based on highschool grades, not income.

Patterson said, “And we do use that Student Aid Index to grant some institutional scholarships as well.”

There is no longer an income cutoff for federal aid either anymore. This is new for this year. Factors like family size and the year a student is in school make a difference as well.

The deadline for completing the FAFSA to receive South Carolina tuition grants has been moved from June to August due to the issues.

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