Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) Statement‎ about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

March 9, 2017

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool on and is currently unavailable. We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. However, at this time, the IRS anticipates the online data tool will be unavailable for several weeks.

This does not limit families’ ability to apply for aid. Applicants have other options while the data tool is unavailable. Applicants filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and applying for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan can manually provide the requested financial information from copies of their tax returns. The online FAFSA and IDR application remain operational, and applicants can continue filing the FAFSA or applying for an IDR plan as they normally would.

As part of a wider, ongoing effort at the IRS to protect the security of data, the IRS decided to temporarily suspend the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) as a precautionary step following concerns that information from the tool could potentially be misused by identity thieves. The scope of the issue is being explored, and the IRS and FSA are jointly investigating the issue. At this point, we believe the issue is relatively isolated, and no additional action is needed by taxpayers or people using these applications. The IRS and FSA are actively working on a way to further strengthen the security of information provided by the DRT. We will provide additional information when we have a specific timeframe for returning the DRT or other details to share.

Additional information for applicants:

The DRT provides tax data that automatically fills in information for part of the FAFSA as well as the IDR plan application.

The online FAFSA and IDR application remain operational. You can continue filing the FAFSA or applying for an IDR plan as you normally would.

The income information needed to complete the FAFSA and apply for an IDR plan can be found on your tax return. If you did not retain a copy of your tax return, you may be able to access the tax software you used to prepare your return or contact your tax preparer to obtain a copy.

If you are unable to get a copy of your tax return, you may visit to view and download a summary of your tax return, called a tax transcript, at Get Transcript Online. You must verify your identity to use this tool. You also may use Get Transcript by Mail or call 1-800-908-9946, and a transcript will be delivered to your address of record within five to 10 days.

For more information on or for help with:
completing the FAFSA, visit or call 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
applying for an IDR, visit

Summer 2017 Financial Aid

Financial aid funds for Summer 2017 are very limited. Summer is part of the 2016-17 financial aid award year.

Student must have filed a 2016-17 FAFSA with the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office to be considered for Pell or student loans.

  • Generally, state aid and NIU scholarships/grants are not available for summer
  • Students who utilize full annual Pell and Federal Direct loan limits during Fall and Spring do not have remaining eligibility for summer for these programs
  • Pell-eligible undergraduate students enrolled in 3 summer credit hours and who enrolled in fewer than 12 hours for Fall 16 or Spring 17 may have remaining eligibility for summer
  • PLUS loans for parents of dependent undergraduates or GradPlus loans for graduate and law students may be available, subject to credit approval, for students enrolled at least half-time
  • Undergraduates: Please review the Summer 2017 Undergraduate Financial Aid Supplement (PDF) as a guide to summer aid eligibility and options.

In order to be eligible for federal student loans, all students must be registered at least half-time.

Less than half-time students may be eligible for a private educational loan.

Summer 2017 Full-Time/Half-Time Status Definitions for Financial Aid Purposes Only

Degree Level Full-Time Status Half-Time Status
Undergraduate 12+ credit hours 6 credit hours
Graduate 6+ credit hours 3 credit hours
Law 8+ credit hours 4 credit hours