*** We are aware that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on fafsa.gov and StudentLoans.gov is currently inaccessible. We advise that you do not wait for the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to be reinstated to complete your FAFSA, as this will only delay the processing of your financial aid file. In order for your financial aid file to be considered complete, we must receive your 2017-2018 FAFSA.
We recommend that in place of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you manually enter your 2015 tax return data into your FAFSA application, so that you can submit a completed FAFSA. If you do not have, or are unable to obtain a copy of your 2015 Federal Tax Return, you can request a copy of your 2015 Federal Tax Return Transcript from the IRS.
Please do not send copies of your 2015 Federal Tax Return or Federal Tax Return Transcript to our office. For more information regarding the current status of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please review the IRS Statement on the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
FAFSA: Harvard Law School’s FAFSA code is E00471
Key things to note when completing the FAFSA.
- All U.S. citizens and eligible non-U.S. citizens are required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for financial aid at HLS, regardless of whether you intend to apply for consideration for HLS need-based grant assistance or for Federal Stafford loans only.
- International students are not eligible for federal aid and, therefore, cannot complete the FAFSA.
- Students can submit the FAFSA any time after January 1, 2017 for the 2017-2018 application year. Your submission is processed by FAFSA and generally made available electronically to the HLS Student Financial Services Office in 48 hours. So, please allow at least 3 business days for the FAFSA to be changed to “received” on your “Your Documents” tab of “My HLS Financial Aid.
- Be sure to list “Harvard Law School” rather than “Harvard University” as the data recipient on your application. If you do not, we will not get your data.
- There is no cost to complete this form.
- The Federal government considers all graduate students to be independent for the purposes of determining eligibility for federal loans. Therefore, you only need to complete the student (and spouse, if applicable) sections of this form. Parent information is not required on the FAFSA for graduate students.
- The 2017-2018 FAFSA will ask you to report your 2015 calendar year income. FAFSA data is only used to determine your eligibility for Federal Loans. If you are applying for HLS need-based grant, your eligibility for this will not be based on your 2015 income, but rather on the financial data you and your parents will be asked to report on our own institutional forms.
- When filling out the FAFSA, all HLS students should opt to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (explained in detail below) when completing the FAFSA. This allows students who have filed a 2015 tax return with the IRS to directly transfer their IRS data directly into their FAFSA. Doing this will make sure data is consistent and will greatly minimize delays in the processing of your aid.
Importance of IRS Data Retrieval Tool
If applicants do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within the FAFSA on the web application, the following things MAY occur:
- It will be much more likely for the applicant’s FAFSA application to be selected for Federal Verification if the applicant does NOT use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA application and/or if the applicant changes their IRS retrieved data within the FAFSA once the Tool has been used to transfer their official IRS data.
- As a result of being selected for Federal Verification, the applicant will have to submit additional documentation to the Student Financial Services Office before Federal aid can be authorized. This will include submitting a Federal Verification Web Form and will possibly involve the applicant to request an IRS tax return transcript from the IRS.
- This additional documentation may take 6-8 weeks to complete due to IRS processing time and could result in a significant delay for applicants!
IRS Data Retrieval Within FAFSA
Within the FAFSA application, the applicant is required to report income information for 2015.
- If the student and/or spouse are non-tax filers, then there is no IRS data to retrieve; and therefore the IRS Date Retrieval Tool is irrelevant.
- If the student and/or spouse are tax filers, then the FAFSA applicant will be presented with questions about their respective tax returns. The applicant will then, if eligible, be given the option to open up the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, enter certain identifying information, and finally transfer their IRS data directly into the FAFSA on the web application.
- Do NOT make changes to that IRS information once it is retrieved. If you do, the data retrieval will be invalid.
- Unfortunately, some applicants who are tax filers are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If this is the case, you should still submit the FAFSA and provide your data accordingly to the best of your ability.
The U.S. Department of Education mandates that all schools that award federal financial aid (HLS awards Perkins and Stafford loans) verify key pieces of financial information that were submitted as part of the FAFSA. The Department of Education randomly selects and flags students it selects for this process.
If you are selected, we will get in touch with you to request any additional financial information we will need to comply with this mandated verification process as determined by the US Department of Education. We will not be able to process your application for aid until we complete this required verification process so we appreciate your prompt attention to this requirement.