Can a Student's Federal Tax Information and Other Financial Aid Information Be Shared With the TRIO Office?

Award Year: 2024-25 KA-36818 Helpfulness Rating 1,265 page views

This guidance is specific to the 2024-25 award year and later. For 2023-24* award year guidance see AskRegs Q&A, Can a Student's Financial Aid Offer Information Be Shared With the TRIO Office?

This AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A was updated on December 1, 2023 to reflect guidance shared at the 2023 Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference, Session B010: Data Use and Considerations Under the FUTURE Act and FAFSA Simplification.

At its 2023 FSA Training Conference, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) provided guidance related to sharing FAFSA data and federal tax information (FTI) for use by the TRIO program starting in 2024-25. Essentially, when and what data may be shared depends on how the data will be used.

Under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), general access and use of any FTI data is allowable only for the application, award, and administration of federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs. If your school is determining a student’s eligibility for or the amount of a TRIO grant, then FTI may be accessed and disclosed for that purpose.

If FTI will be used by the TRIO program for any other purpose such as additional student services and resources, FTI may not be shared. Under the IRC [26 USC 6103(l)(13)], FTI data may be used “only for the purpose of (and to the extent necessary in) determining eligibility for, and amount of, Federal student financial aid under a program authorized under subpart 1 of part A, part C, or part D of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.” As the TRIO program is not authorized under this provision, FTI may not be shared for this purpose.

However, if the student provides explicit written consent, a TRIO advisor or other TRIO administrator may participate in discussions with a financial aid administrator for purposes of the TRIO program.

It is important to note that the TRIO programs are actually established under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended. Therefore, sharing non-federal tax information (non-FTI) with your school’s TRIO program personnel would be allowable without the student's written consent if:

  1. Consistent with HEA 483(a)(3)(E) [20 USC 1090], it is disclosed and used for the application, award, and administration of financial aid to the applicant; or for research that does not release any individually identifiable information on any applicant, to promote college attendance, persistence, and completion.
  2. Having first met that test, the disclosure also meets the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requirements of 34 CFR 99.31(a)(1) because the disclosure is to a school official determined to have a legitimate educational interest in the disclosed information, specifically to make determinations about students' eligibility for TRIO services.

See also AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A, What Is Federal Tax Information (FTI)? 

We encourage schools to stay tuned to Today's News for additional guidance on this topic.

AskRegs Q&As represent NASFAA's understanding of regulatory and compliance issues. They are FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY. While NASFAA believes AskRegs Q&As are accurate and factual, they have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). If you should need written confirmation of AskRegs information for audit or program review purposes, please contact your ED School Participation Division. NASFAA shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein; nor for incidental or consequential damages resulting from the furnishing, performance, or use of this material.