9 Myths About the FSA ID

Get an FSA ID

As a graduate student, I‘m no stranger to filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), and when I filed my 2016-17 FAFSA, I was prompted to create an FSA ID—the username and password you need to log in to the FAFSA. I followed the step-by-step instructions, and voila! I easily created my very own FSA ID in no time!

2016-17 FAFSA Login with FSA ID

Login options on fafsa.gov

The FSA ID replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN (check out this blog post explaining why). Students, parents, and borrowers must use an FSA ID to log on to certain Department of Education (ED) websites like fafsa.gov, StudentAid.gov, and StudentLoans.gov. The FSA ID is a more secure way to access and sign important documents without using personally identifiable information (PII).

More than 30 million FSA IDs have been created, and people, like me, have used their FSA ID more than 146 million* times. With any new process, there are some myths floating around about creating and using an FSA ID. Let’s tackle some of those right now…


Myth #1:
It’ll take a long time to create my FSA ID.

On average, it takes about seven minutes to create an FSA ID. If you previously had a Federal Student Aid PIN, you can link it to your FSA ID; this will help eliminate a few steps in the process. Federal Student Aid (FSA) has a variety of resources, like this helpful video, that walks you through each step of creating an FSA ID.


Myth #2:
Only students need to create an FSA ID.

If you are a dependent student, then your parent will need an FSA ID, too (if he or she will sign the FAFSA electronically). That’s because you will need to provide your parent’s information on your FAFSA and your parent, will need to sign the FAFSA, as well. But here is something very important—your parent must create his or her own, separate FSA ID. Your parent shouldn’t use your FSA ID, and you shouldn’t create an FSA ID for your parent.

If you’re not sure if you’re a dependent student, visit StudentAid.gov/dependency.


Myth #3:
It’s okay to let someone else create or use my FSA ID.

Not okay. Each individual person needs to create his or her own FSA ID. A Parent should NOT be creating an FSA ID for their child, and a student should NOT be creating an FSA ID for his or her parent. For example, if a parent tries to create both the parent’s and child’s FSA ID, it’s easy to mix up information like Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and usernames and passwords. Because we verify your information with the Social Security Administration (SSA), it’s crucial that this information be correct. Also, if someone else creates your FSA ID, how will you know the answers to your challenge questions if you need to retrieve a lost username or password?

Also, FSA IDs are used to sign legally binding documents, so giving someone access to your FSA ID is like allowing them to forge your signature. Be sure to create your own FSA ID, and save yourself the trouble.


Myth #4:
I need an e-mail address to create an FSA ID

You do NOT need an e-mail address to create an FSA ID. If you don’t have an e-mail address, you can leave this field blank. Adding your e-mail address is strongly recommended, though, because once your e-mail address is verified, you can enter it instead of your username when you log in. You can also use your e-mail address to retrieve your forgotten username or password or to unlock your account. It’s easy to update and verify your e-mail address by clicking “Edit My FSA ID.”

Edit My FSA ID Tab

Edit My FSA ID Tab


Myth #5:
As a parent, I can use the same e-mail address for both my FSA ID and my child’s.

An e-mail address cannot be used with more than one FSA ID. If you choose to provide an e-mail address when creating your FSA ID, the student will need to include his or her e-mail own address, and the parent will need to include his or her own e-mail address. If you don’t have an e-mail address, you can leave the field blank.


Myth #6:
I need an FSA ID to fill out the FAFSA.

The fastest way to sign and submit your FAFSA is to use an FSA ID. That said, if you or your parent don’t have an FSA ID, you can still submit the FAFSA. If you fill out the FAFSA online, but don’t have an FSA ID, you can choose the option to submit your FAFSA without signatures, and print and mail a signature page. If you can’t fill out the FAFSA online, you have other options.

Students without access to a computer can receive assistance from a wide range of college access organizations, like the National College Access Network (NCAN); a student can also visit a local library, use a computer at school, as well as get help from school counselors.


Myth #7:  The Social Security Administration has to verify my information before I can use my FSA ID.

If you’re filling out a FAFSA for the first time, you can use your newly created FSA ID to sign and submit your FAFSA right away. But, if you need to submit a renewal FAFSA or make corrections after you’ve submitted your FAFSA—and you did NOT link your PIN when you created your FSA ID—you first have to wait for the SSA to verify your identity. The verification process takes one to three days.

Make sure to enter your information exactly as it appears on your Social Security card to avoid delays. Once your information is verified, you can use your FSA ID to submit your renewal FAFSA, make corrections, access your loan history, and a host of other things.

If you’re a parent, you never have to wait for the SSA match to sign your child’s FAFSA. However, if you sign the FAFSA when your SSA match status is listed as “pending” and it later returns “no match,” we will remove your signature from your child’s FAFSA. If that happens, you will either need to resolve the conflict with the SSA and sign electronically again, or print and mail a signature page.


Myth #8:
Confirming my e-mail address can take up to 24 hours.

You should receive your e-mail confirmation within three minutes. Although, your e-mail account’s spam filter could delay your confirmation. It’s a good idea to add the FSA ID e-mail address—FSA-ID@ed.gov—to your address book to make sure you get your confirmation.


Myth #9:
I forgot my password, and it’s going to take 30 minutes to reset it.

You only have to wait 30 minutes if you reset your password using your challenge questions.

But, the easiest way to reset your password is to enter your verified e-mail address. Once you do, you can use your FSA ID immediately.

 


There are lots of resources online to help you create and use your FSA ID; visit StudentAid.gov/fsaid for more information! In no time, you’ll have your very own FSA ID, too!

* These figures are accurate as of April 11, 2016.

 

Alexis Anderson is an intern at Federal Student Aid’s office of communications. She is a graduate student at The George Washington University studying Strategic Public Relations.

Photo by Getty Images.

8 Comments

  1. i have an FSA ID that I used as a parent of 2 dependents who are applying to college. I am now applying to grad school. I tried to use my FSA ID as a student and I’m getting an error. Do I need a new ID?

    • Your FSA ID should work to begin a new FAFSA with you as the student. What does the error say exactly?

  2. I used same email for my parent ID as my son did for his ID, now I cant sign his completes fasfa…..Ive tried to create new ID, edit Id for me the parent but it does goes to his ID ?
    I don’t want to mess up his, help?

    • Your son will have to change the email address associated with his FSA ID. He just has to log in, type in a different email, and verify that email address using the Secure Code. After that’s complete, you should be able to sign. Only one email address can be used for each FSA ID. An FSA ID is unique to an individual person and it’s connected to your Social Security number. You cannot use the same username or email for two FSA IDs. They must be different. It’s an electronic signature.

  3. I’m the parent, so I put in my username and password and I get “error” did it again got the same message “error”. I then clicked on “forgot username”. What I finally got back was the same username and password that I had entered. So, I attempt to login again with the username and password that was sent to me and again I get “error”. I’m very frustrated and not a happy camper.
    I need some help, please.

  4. Please be aware that if you use a MAC instead of a Windows PC, creating an FSA ID has many, many glitches. And when you try to edit information, you can be locked out with no way of getting back in withour logging in on a Windows PC. Thiese glitches need to be corrected!

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