Everything You Need to Know About FSA IDs

In Paying for College on May 05, 2016

You probably have a lot of questions about the FAFSA, and that's understandable - financial aid can be confusing! One thing you may have questions about as you fill out the FAFSA is the FSA ID. It’s a relatively new component and one you’ll need to become familiar with to navigate the student aid system.

The Basics
So, what exactly is an FSA ID and what does it stand for? It’s your Federal Student Aid identification and you can use it to access your financial aid information in the online financial aid system. Think of it as a username and password for financial aid. It can also be used as an electronic signature, for example, when you submit your final FAFSA and sign promissory notes.

Creating an FSA ID
You can create an FSA ID by going to the Federal Student Aid website, inputting your email, and creating a username and password. Keep in mind each FSA ID must be associated with a different email address. Make sure you’ll remember your username and password and if you think you’ll forget them, write them down and store them in a secure place.  

Make sure the information you enter is accurate – if the data you input doesn’t match the information on file with the Social Security Administration you won’t be able to use your FSA ID at all. 

Do I Really Need an FSA ID?
You don’t necessarily need an FSA ID to complete your FAFSA. However, it’s strongly recommended because it’s the fastest way to sign your application and make sure it’s processed.

What About the PIN?
If your parents or older siblings say you’ll need a PIN number to fill out your FAFSA, don’t be confused! The PIN was part of an old system, and the FSA ID serves the same purpose now. PINs are no longer used for your FAFSA. If you have a PIN, you can link it to your FSA ID when you create the ID.

Have more questions? Check out our complete guide to the FAFSA.

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