Government financial aid tool shuts down, sending students into a panic

Financial experts, policy makers and parents express a lot of angst over the possibility that college students are taking on too much debt. Nolan Fein is doing his best to avoid that outcome, but lately he’s been getting thwarted by the breakdown of a government financial aid tool.

Last week Fein, a 24-year-old junior at the University of Pittsburgh, began attempting to fill out his Free Application for Federal Financial Aid, or Fafsa, the gateway form to receive most types of financial aid. He discovered that the tool, which pulls applicants’ tax information directly from the Internal Revenue Service, known as the IRS data retrieval tool, was down.

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