Creating an FSA ID

The FAFSA is the single most important application a family can file to be considered for financial aid, and in order to submit it, you'll need to create an FSA ID. MEFA's Associate Director of College Planning Jonathan Hughes explains how to create your FSA ID, who needs to create an FSA ID, and what your FSA ID will be used for even after college. For more information on the FAFSA, visit our Applications for Student Financial Aid page.


 So, the FAFSA, usually ready to file on October 1st, won't be available until December this year. But one thing that you can and should do now is get your FSA ID. This is how you log into and complete the FAFSA. The FSA ID itself is a username and password set up with Federal Student Aid. And you need to have it all set up at least a couple of days before you even start to file the FAFSA.

Students need to have one, and so does at least one, and sometimes two, parents. Here's how you get one. Go to and click on Create Account in the upper right-hand corner. Now here's what you need to get an FSA ID: Your name, date of birth, email address and Social Security number.

If you don't have a Social Security number, you can still get an FSA ID. There's a process for that. It's just going to take a little bit longer.

Next, you need to set up a username and password, your actual FSA ID. Then you'll enter your mailing address, phone number, language and communication preferences, as well as your challenge questions and answers. It'll take about 1 3 days to verify all this information, but once that's done, you'll get an email from Federal Student Aid congratulating you for having successfully set up your FSA ID.

This is going to be your FSA ID for life, so don't lose it. Once everybody in your family that needs an FSA ID has one, then you're all set to file the FAFSA when it becomes available in December. And by that point, most of the hard work will have already been done.

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