Government Funding to Expire Saturday, with a Variety of Scenarios Still Possible
Government funding is set to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday if Congress does not take action, but a variety of outcomes are still possible as Congress and the administration work to fund the government. One potential scenario would involve Congress completing an FY2017 omnibus appropriations bill and President Trump signing the funding bill into law before time runs out. Another potential path would involve Congress passing a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government flat-funded at current levels for potentially a short period to stave off a shutdown and give Congress additional time to complete the appropriations process. A CR that would fund the government at current levels for the remainder of the year is also a possibility. A less likely outcome would involve a government shutdown if Congress and the administration fail to agree on a Continuing Resolution or omnibus spending bill by Friday. The situation remains highly fluid and APLU’s Office of Governmental and Congressional Affairs will continue to work to advance funding priorities and keep APLU members informed.
Department of Education Announces Changes to FAFSA Application Process Due to Suspension of IRS DRT
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced changes to the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application process in response to significant concerns expressed by institutions, students, and families regarding the suspension of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). The IRS and ED suspended the DRT, which allows students to automatically import tax information to the FAFSA, last month due to data security concerns. Effective immediately, colleges and universities can accept a signed 2015 tax return in lieu of using the IRS DRT or an IRS transcript. If the student, their parents, or spouse did not file a 2015 tax return, institutions will not be required to get documentation from the IRS to prove that they did not file. However, students must still submit a signed statement verifying that they were not required to file a 2015 income tax return, documentation of income in 2015, and a copy of W-2 forms from jobs held that year. The IRS DRT is expected to be down until the fall.