Before you can access financial aid to pay for college, you need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). And unless you’re sending the FAFSA via snail mail, you need a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID to sign the FAFSA.
Along with signing the FAFSA, you can use your FSA ID to log into federal financial aid websites such as StudentLoans.gov and the National Student Loan Data System, as well as the myStudentAid mobile app.
While borrowers used an FSA PIN in previous years, the government introduced the new FSA ID in 2015 to ramp up online security. These days, the FSA ID provides a secure and easy way to log into your financial aid accounts and sign legal documents without compromising your personal information.
What is an FSA ID?
The FSA ID is a username and password that gives you the unique benefit of logging into your accounts and electronically signing documents — while removing all personally identifiable information.
Because the FSA ID doesn’t require you to provide sensitive information each time you sign in, it offers a secure way of accessing and updating your information. It also serves as your secure online signature on legally binding documents, such as the FAFSA and student loan Master Promissory Note.
Since the FSA ID is unique to each individual accessing the site, students and parents must have their own IDs. It’s linked to your individual email, phone number and Social Security number, so you can’t share an FSA ID with a family member.
If you’re applying for financial aid as an independent student, your parents might not need an FSA ID. But if you’re a dependent, both you and your parents will need this secure login to sign the FAFSA.
What sites can you access with your FSA ID?
You use your FSA ID to log into FSA websites such as,
- myStudentAid app
- National Student Loan Data System
- Agreement to Serve website
All of these sites are important for managing financial aid and student loans, whether you’re applying for financial aid for the first time or completing student loan exit counseling as you approach graduation.
New and incoming undergraduates, for instance, can use their FSA ID to sign their FAFSA and FAFSA renewal forms. And graduates and student loan borrowers can use their FSA ID for student loans, whether they want to:
- Sign a Master Promissory Note for student loans
- Complete student loan entrance and exit counseling
- Retrieve student loan info, such as lender information and total balance
- Apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan
- Apply for an income-driven repayment plan
As you can see, your FSA ID is crucial for accessing all the sites associated with federal financial aid and student loans.
How to create your FSA ID
It only takes a couple of minutes to create your FSA ID. To get started, take the following steps:
1. Go to the Create a New FSA ID page. Begin your FSA ID application on this screen by creating your new username and password.
2. Next, enter your Social Security number, date of birth and full name.
3. On the following page, provide contact information, including your email address and phone number. You can indicate whether you’d like to receive secure codes via email or text. You’ll also provide your mailing address and set your language preference.
4. Create several “challenge questions and answers.” Make sure to record your answers so you don’t forget them in the future. Otherwise, you might have trouble resetting your password.
5. Review your profile information and accept the terms and conditions. Simply verify your email address or phone number, and your FSA ID will then be created.
Wait 1-3 days for FSA ID verification
While you can use your FSA ID to sign your FAFSA immediately, you’ll need to wait one to three days before you can use it to log into other accounts. That’s simply because it takes the Social Security Administration (SSA) a few days to match your information. You will receive an email confirmation once your account has been verified.
If you want to find out sooner, you can check your SSA match status via the “Manage my FSA ID” tab on the FSA ID site. After signing in, look for “SSA Verification,” where you can see if your status is “Matched,” “Not Matched” or “Pending.”
If you see a mismatch, sign into your account and double-check that you’ve entered your Social Security number and other personal information correctly.
Need FSA ID help?
While the process of creating an FSA ID is straightforward, you might run into issues if you have an FSA PIN, which is what students used prior to May 10, 2015. In this case, you have the option of connecting your PIN to your FSA ID during the setup process. If you go this route, your FSA ID will be up and running immediately, and you won’t have to wait the typical one to three days for SSA verification.
Another potential issue could be if you need to change your username or password. In this situation, you can go to the “Edit My FSA ID” tab on the login page. In the event you feel your information has been compromised, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) immediately.
Save your FSA ID in a secure place
Since you need your FSA ID to manage your accounts, it’s critical to save your username and password. Rather than saving it on your computer, which could be hacked, consider writing it down on a piece of paper and storing it in a safe place. Alternatively, you could use a secure password-storing software, such as Lastpass or 1Password.
As long as you hang on to your FSA ID, you should have no trouble signing into your accounts and managing your federal financial aid and student loans. Plus, you’ll be all set when it comes time to renew the FAFSA and ensure you have financial aid throughout all four years of college.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.
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College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
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2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.
4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
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Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
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