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. Getting an FSA ID is straightforward, but it does require a few steps. We've outlined the process below.
- To begin, go to fsaid.ed.gov. 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 fsaid.ed.gov, you'll be asked to enter your email address, and to create a username and password. Providing your email address is not required, but it's strongly encouraged, as once you establish your FSA ID, you'll be permitted to use your email address interchangeably with your username. Remember, both the student and one parent will need to complete this entire process.
- On the next screen you'll be asked to enter your full name, Social Security number, and date of birth. Make sure the name you enter matches the name on your Social Security card.
- On the following screens you'll be asked to provide your mailing address, mobile phone number (and whether you would like to use it for account recovery), language preference, and four challenge questions and answers, also for account recovery.
- Once you submit your information, you'll have the opportunity to verify your mobile phone number (if you selected that option) and email address. These are optional steps, but strongly recommended, as they can then both be used to recover a lost username or password. And, as mentioned above, a verified email address can also be used as an alternative to your username.
- In addition to its usage on fafsa.gov, students can use the FSA ID to view their federal student aid history, find their loan servicer, complete entrance and exit counseling, sign their MPN, and apply for an income-driven repayment plan or a consolidation loan on StudentAid.gov.
Here are a few 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 fsaid.ed.gov, select the Manage My FSA ID tab and click Forgot My Username (where you can opt to receive a code via email or your mobile phone, or answer your challenge questions, to retrieve your username) or Forgot My Password (where you can either use your username/email address or mobile phone to reset your password). If you didn't verify your mobile phone number or email address when you set up your account, and can't remember your challenge question answers, 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). You can check the status of your SSA match by entering your username and password in the Manage My FSA ID tab on fsaid.ed.gov and then checking your account profile.
- 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.
- Your FSA ID password will expire every 18 months, so you'll need to change it within that time frame (or will be prompted to do so).
For additional information on the FSA ID, you can view frequently asked questions here. You can also watch a short video on the process of obtaining an FSA ID here. And remember, if you're stuck at any point, give Federal Student Aid a call at 800-4-FED-AID.