The Big Deal About the FSA ID
Completing the FAFSA this year? You'll first need to obtain an FSA ID for both the student applicant and one parent. The FSA ID is important but simple, made up of a username and password and used to access a handful of federal financial aid websites, including fafsa.gov. You can't complete the FAFSA, and therefore receive financial aid, without one. You can also use the FSA ID to sign your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note, complete Direct Loan entrance counseling, and apply for loan repayment plans. And it never expires. Getting an FSA ID is straightforward, but it does require a few steps. We've outlined the process below.
Steps to Create an FSA ID
- To begin, go to studentaid.gov/fsa-id. You can get your FSA ID before the FAFSA becomes available, so if you're a parent of a current high school junior, you're welcome to complete the process now. Just make sure you save your FSA ID in a safe and memorable place so that you'll have it ready for the financial aid application process next year.
- On studentaid.gov/fsa-id, enter your first name, last name, date of birth, and Social Security number. Make sure the name you enter matches the name on your Social Security card. Then click Continue. Remember, both the student and one parent will need to complete this entire process.
- On the next screen, create a username at least six characters long. Your username is not case sensitive. Enter your email address, and use one that you will have access to through college and beyond. Then, create a password. Your password must be 8-30 characters long, have uppercase and lowercase letters, have numbers, and not include your name or date of birth,
- On the following screen, enter your mailing address and mobile phone number. Indicate whether you would like to use your mobile number for account recovery. Doing so will also allow you to use your mobile
- Next, you'll select your communication preferences (how you want to hear from Federal Student Aid) and your language preference (English or Spanish).
- Then, you'll select four challenge questions and your answers, which will be used in case you forget your username or password. Each answer must be unique.
- Finally, you'll review your information, and accept the terms and conditions.
- Once you submit your information, you'll have the opportunity to verify your mobile phone number (if you selected that option) and email address, so that you can use them in place of your username.
- Federal Student Aid will verify your personal information to make sure it matches what's on record with the Social Security Administration.
FSA ID Tips
- Don't use your high school email address to obtain an FSA ID, as you won't have access to it once you graduate. Use an email address to which you'll always have access.
- Each email address can only be tied to one FSA ID. Same with each mobile phone number.
- If you forget your FSA ID at any point, you can easily retrieve it. On studentaid.gov/fsa-id, select Forgot My Username or Forgot My Password. You can opt to receive a code via mobile phone or email, or answer your challenge questions. If none of these options work, you'll need to call 800-4-FED-AID for assistance. You can also watch the short videos What to Do If I Forgot My FSA ID Username and What to Do If I Forgot My FSA ID Password.
- If you're having trouble retrieving your FSA ID, don't try to create a new one. Instead call 800-4-FED-AID for assistance.
- Parents can use the same FSA ID to sign multiple FAFSAs, but every student applicant needs his or her own FSA ID.
- Once you get yourself an FSA ID, you can use it immediately to sign a new FAFSA, but if you need to use it for any other purpose, including a renewal FAFSA, you'll need to wait three days for your information to be matched with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
- The FSA ID will also be used to access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, the resource within the FAFSA that allows you to pull in federal tax data directly from the IRS. So make sure you have your FSA ID handy throughout the FAFSA process.
For additional information on the process of obtaining an FSA ID, you can watch a short video here. And remember, if you're stuck at any point, give Federal Student Aid a call at 800-4-FED-AID.