West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) and Community and Technical College System (CTCS) announced that this year’s application deadline for the need-based Higher Education Grant Program has been extended until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the only application required for the grant, can be completed at https://fafsa.ed.gov.
The state extended the deadline because of a technology issue at the federal level. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced an outage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows students and parents to electronically access, review and transfer tax information required for the FAFSA. Federal officials are working to correct the issue, but estimate the tool will be unavailable until at least next fall.
“The Higher Education Grant is a lifeline to college for thousands of low-income students in our state, and we want to ensure that they and their families have ample time to complete the necessary steps to apply,” said Paul Hill, HEPC Chancellor.
“We still encourage completion of the FAFSA as soon as possible, but we hope this extension allows as many students as possible to be considered for the grant, which paves the way for so many of our community and technical college students,” said Sarah Tucker, CTCS Chancellor.
Like in previous years when the IRS Data Retrieval Tool was not an option, students and parents can estimate their income information on the FAFSA and correct the information later, if necessary, in order to meet financial aid deadlines.
If students or their parents do not have a paper or electronic copy of the necessary tax form available – which for this year is the 2015 tax return – they can access it online at www.irs.gov/transcript . A hard copy can be requested by calling 1-800-908-9946 and a transcript will be delivered to the address on record within 5-10 days.
For help completing the FAFSA or applying for financial aid, West Virginia students and families can call the HEPC and CTCS financial aid office at 888-825-5707 or visit the state’s free college-planning website at www.cfwv.com.