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What You Need to Know About FSA ID
In order to complete the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and qualify for need-based aid, the first thing you’ll need is an FSA ID.
The vast majority of students submit their FAFSA online, and the FSA ID is your login information for that process. An FSA consists of a username and a password. If you are a dependent student and your parents’ information is included on the FAFSA, they’ll need to create an FSA ID too. Keep reading to learn how to create and use an FSA, and what to do if you forget your FAFSA pin numbers.
How to create an FSA ID
You can create an FSA ID through the US Department of Education’s Student Aid website. You’ll need to come up with a unique username in order to make one. You’ll also have to prove your email address, your social security number, and your date of birth. Your FSA ID is where they check with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to ensure you are a real person. Have your SSA card with you when you create your FSA ID to avoid any mistakes and always use the name listed on your SSA card and not any other names you may use.
It takes 1-3 days for the SSA to verify your identity. They will send an email once the verification is complete and let you know if there are any issues. Students/parents can use their FSA ID’s during those 1-3 days to sign their FAFSA, however, if the FSA ID identity is not verified, they may have to resubmit another FAFSA.
Your email address and cell phone number can be used to retrieve your FSA ID username and/or update your FSA ID password, should you forget it. They will verify these are your email address/phone number by sending verification codes.
Do Not Use Your Parents Email or Phone Number For Your Student FSA ID. You should always use an email address you will have access to for the next four years. If your phone number changes frequently, it’s best to not enter your phone number. You can always add one later in your college career if needed.
Do Not Use Your High School Issued Email Address or One You Can Not Access in the Future. Remember, you will use your FSA ID throughout college, so it’s important that you’ll have access to the address used for the next several years.
Do Not Use Your Parent’s Email Address. If your parents’ information is required on your FAFSA they will also need to create an FSA ID (or use one they have previously created for themselves when submitting a FAFSA or as the parent of another student submitting a FAFSA).
Eligible non-citizens without a social security number will not be able to create an FSA ID. Non-citizen students can complete the FAFSA online, however, they’ll have to sign using the “Print a Signature” page at the end of the form. Without an FSA ID, they also won’t be able to use the IRS DRT.
What is my FSA ID used for?
Your FSA will be useful for a host of tasks related to federal financial aid. You’ll use your FSA to:
- Login and fill out your FAFSA
- Electronically submit your FAFSA
- Use the National Student Loan Data System
- Login to My Federal Student Aid
- Sign electronic promissory notes
What to do if you forgot your FSA ID.
If you forgot your FSA username or password,. There are several ways to regain access to your account.
Retrieving your username
If you forgot your username, you can reset it using the username retrieval tool on the FSA’s website. You can choose to receive your username If you no longer have access to this account, you can choose to answer your security questions.
When logging into your FSA ID, if you registered your email address/phone number, you can use those as your username. It doesn’t hurt to try all 3 if you’re having problems logging in.
Resetting your password
If you forgot your password, you can reset it using the password retrieval tool on the FSA’s website. Make sure to have your username, email, or phone number handy, as well as your date of birth.
Reminder: If you have to change your password using your Challenge Questions because your phone number/email address wasn’t verified or you no longer have access to those, you’ll have to wait 30 minutes after you change it to login to any FSA sites, including FAFSA.
If you can’t gain access no matter what..
What should you do if you can’t gain access to your FSA ID through the links provided on their site (Forgot username/Forgot password) or through the email address/phone number/challenge questions? You’ll need to contact FSA ID through live chat, 1-800-4-FEDAID, or the FSA Help page. They will only speak to the person who’s FSA ID is in question (Parents, you can’t call for your student). This is the only way to gain access–you cannot simply just create a new FSA ID.
What do I do with my FSA PIN Numbers?
If you are returning to school after a long break, you may remember your FSA PIN. If you haven’t logged in since 2015, you would have used an FSA PIN to login. However, the US Department of Education has adopted a full username and password system rather than a PIN in order to ensure account security. Your PIN will no longer be valid, and you’ll most likely need to create an FSA ID.
How long does my FSA ID take to activate?
Once you create your FSA ID, you can use it right away to fill out and submit the FAFSA. However, if you plan to use it to electronically sign promissory notes, you’ll have to wait for a few days.
Why should I submit my FAFSA online using my FSA ID?
Submitting your FAFSA online with an FSA ID has a variety of advantages
Submitting online is the best way to submit a FAFSA for most students and will yield dramatically quicker results. Additionally, it removes the possibility of your form being lost in the mail. It also makes it easier to submit your FAFSA the next year. You’ll be able to pull from your past data and save time. If you are an eligible non-citizen and can not create an FSA ID, you can still submit your FAFSA online, however, you’ll need to print a signature page. You’ll want to make sure you allow extra time for your FAFSA to process due to this.
Top advantages of using FSA ID and submitting online FAFSA:
- Reduces the chances of typos in students name, DOB, and SSN. (Parents/students rarely complete the FAFSA in one sitting. If they have a typo in those areas at one of their sittings, it will create a different FAFSA. If they get past the point of entering the email address on the typo FAFSA, FSA is going to email them repeatedly about an incomplete FAFSA. There is no way to stop this.
- Even with your first FAFSA, by logging in with your student FSA ID, it will prefill information that was entered when you created your FSA ID. Name, SSN, address, phone number. All of this reduces the chances of making mistakes!
Related: How long does it take for the FAFSA to be processed?
Will my FSA ID expire?
FSA IDs do not expire. If you take a long break from school, you’ll still have the same FSA ID when you return. However, your password will automatically change every 18 months if you don’t change it yourself.
Other FAFSA Resources
If you are just getting started with the FAFSA, we have extensive resources to help guide you through the process. Check out our guide on interpreting your EFC, how to complete the FAFSA for graduate school, and the differences between the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. When the time rolls around to resubmit, check out our guide for FAFSA renewal. Best of luck in your financial aid process, and make sure to check out the other resources on our site as questions arise.