The Privacy Act

What does the government do with your information?

The U.S. Department of Education (the Department) uses the information that you provide on the FAFSA to calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is used by eligible and participating schools that you select or list on your FAFSA to determine the types and amounts of federal student aid that you are eligible to receive. Section 483 and 484 of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended, provide the Department the authority to ask you and your parents the questions on the FAFSA and to collect the Social Security numbers of you and your parents. We use your Social Security number to verify your identity and retrieve your records, and we may request your Social Security number again for those purposes.

State and institutional student financial aid programs may also use the information that you provide on the FAFSA to determine if you are eligible to receive state and institutional aid. Therefore, the Department will disclose the information that you provide on this form to each institution you list in Questions 97a-97h, state agencies in your state of legal residence, and the state agencies of the states in which the colleges that you list in Questions 97a-97h are located.

If you are applying solely for federal aid, you must answer all of the following questions that apply to you: 1-9, 14-16, 18, 21-22, 27-28, 31-36, 38-45, 48-56, 58-68, 71-80, 82-96, and 98-99. If you do not answer these questions, you will not receive federal aid.

Without your consent, the Department may disclose information that you provide to entities under a published "routine use." Under such a routine use, we may disclose information to third parties we have authorized to assist us in administering our programs; to other federal agencies under computer-matching programs, such as those with the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Selective Service System, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and Veterans Affairs; to your parents or your spouse; and to members of Congress if you ask them to help you with student aid questions.

If the federal government, the U.S. Department of Education, or an employee of the U.S. Department of Education is involved in litigation, the Department may send information to the Department of Justice, or a court or adjudicative body, if the disclosure is related to financial aid and certain conditions are met. In addition, the Department may send your information to a foreign, federal, state, or local enforcement agency if the information that you submitted indicates a violation or potential violation of law, for which that agency has jurisdiction for investigation or prosecution. Finally, the Department may send information regarding a claim that is determined to be valid and overdue to a consumer reporting agency. This information includes identifiers from the records; the amount, status, and history of the claim; and the program under which the claim arose.

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