Information on the Privacy Act, use and disclosure of Social Security Numbers

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We use the information provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine if you are eligible to receive federal student financial aid and the amount that you are eligible to receive. Sections 483 and 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, give us the authority to ask these questions, and to collect Social Security Numbers (SSN) from both you and your parents. Your SSN is used to verify your identity and retrieve your records. We may request your SSN again for these purposes.

State and institutional student financial aid programs also may use the information provided on your FAFSA to determine if you are eligible to receive state and institutional aid and the need that you have for such aid. Therefore, we will disclose the information provided on your FAFSA to each college listed on your FAFSA, the state agency in your state of legal residence, and the state agencies in the states for the colleges listed.

If you are applying solely for federal aid, you must answer all of the following questions that apply to you and are requested: 1-9, 14-16, 18, 22-23, 26, 28-29, 32-37, 39-59, 61-68, 70, 73-86, 88-105. The question numbers are located in the Help and Hints.

Without your consent, the U.S. Department of Education may disclose your information to third parties under a published “routine use.” Under the published routine uses, we may disclose the information to private firms that assist the U.S. Department of Education in administering the federal student financial aid programs. However, private firms that contract with the U.S. Department of Education must maintain the safeguards required under the Privacy Act.

The Department also may send your information to other federal agencies through computer matching programs to verify your eligibility for federal student financial aid, to perform debt collection under the federal loan programs, and to minimize and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal student aid programs. Such computer matching programs include matching programs with the Internal Revenue Service, Selective Service System, Social Security Administration, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Department of Homeland Security. The Department also exchanges information with the Department of Justice to enforce Section 5301 of the Anti Drug Abuse Act.

In addition, your name, address, SSN, date of birth, Expected Family Contribution, dependency status, and state of legal residence will be sent to the state agency in your state of legal residence. This disclosure will allow you to apply for state student financial aid without necessarily having to submit an additional application form. Your application information also will be sent to the college(s) listed on your FAFSA, or its representative, and to the state agencies in the states of the colleges listed. The status of an application also may be sent to state agencies, local educational agencies and secondary schools having agreements with the Secretary, for the purposes of coordinating student aid and counseling students whose applications may be incomplete or in need of correction, and on FAFSA completion.

If you request us to do so, we may disclose your information to other Federal agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, to enable you to obtain information from other Federal agencies’ records that will assist you in completing the FAFSA online. However, without your specific consent, we will not disclose your information for this purpose.

Lastly, we may send your information to members of Congress if you ask them to help with federal student aid questions and to your parents or your spouse if they provided information on your FAFSA.

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

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