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With state and institutional aid deadlines fast approaching -- some as soon as this week -- the IRS Data Retrieval Tool that allows students and families to transfer their federal tax data directly into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is unavailable. By importing income data directly from the IRS, the tool aims to save time on the FAFSA and avoid verification checks that often act as obstacles for low-income and first-generation college students completing financial aid applications.

Several college-access groups, including the National Association for Student Financial Aid Administrators and the National College Access Network, are monitoring the issue, as are other state and local partners.