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FAFSA and the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)


FAFSA and the DRT

Beginning with the 2017–2018 FAFSA cycle, the FAFSA application became available to students and their families three months earlier on October 1 (i.e. October 1, 2016 and not January 1, 2017 for the 2017-2018 award/academic year).

Additionally, beginning with the 2017-2018 cycle, the FAFSA collected income information from the tax/calendar year one year earlier than had been used in the past. Thus, for the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students and families provided income information from calendar year 2015 and not from calendar year 2016. Because of this, most tax return filers could electronically transfer their tax information directly into their FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

With the 2018-2019 FAFSA cycle, the IRS DRT will be reengineered to increase security.


Provides published regulations and Federal Register Notices pertaining to FAFSA and the DRT.


Provides the Department's guidance on FAFSA and the DRT in Dear Colleague Letters and Electronic Announcements.


These Frequently Asked Questions provide information and guidance pertaining to the FAFSA and the DRT. Institutions should review all applicable requirements and guidance to ensure that they are in compliance with the applicable FAFSA and verification requirements.

The listing of Frequently Asked Questions will be updated periodically and will include the date of the update. New and/or updated questions and answers will be marked NEW and appear in red font.


Provides upcoming training opportunities and links to previously held webinars and other training.


Provides links to resources with valuable information on FAFSA and the DRT.



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