BOSTON (AP) — Families applying for federal student aid are facing extra hurdles this year after a potential data breach led federal officials to remove an online tool that smoothed the process.
Federal officials say an online service known as the Data Retrieval Tool will stay offline until the next application period. In the past, families could use the tool to import their tax information automatically to a complex form needed to obtain federal aid.
Now families filing the form will have to fill out their tax information manually using old tax returns, an obstacle that could deter some families from filing.
Federal officials removed the online tool in early March after finding that identity thieves may have used stolen personal information to access the online tool and steal additional information.