Free FAFSA Guide
Summary: Your FSA ID gives you a single username and password (that you choose) to sign the FAFSA and access various U.S. Department of Education websites. Students and parents need their own FSA IDs. You can create a new FSA ID in just a few minutes.
The U.S. Department of Education replaced the FSA PIN (Federal Student Aid PIN) with the new FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID), effective May 10, 2015. The FSA ID will allow students and parents to access and electronically sign the online version of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and various U.S. Department of Education websites with a user-selected username and password.
A More Secure Logon Process
This new login process is more secure, since it eliminates the need for students and parents to provide personal data, such as their name, date of birth, and Social Security Number (SSN), every time they access U.S. Department of Education websites. This change permits self-service password retrieval by email without requiring the applicant to reveal personal data. It also allows for name changes (for example, through marriage) without requiring an application for a new FSA ID.
Single Sign-on for All U.S. Department of Education Websites
The new FSA ID provides a single sign-on for accessing all of the U.S. Department of Education’s consumer-facing websites. For example, in addition to FAFSA on the Web, the FSA ID is used to access:
- National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
- My Federal Student Aid
- The TEACH Grant website
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool does not require students and parents to re-authenticate themselves if they log in with an FSA ID.
The FSA ID username must be at least six alphanumeric characters. The password must be 8-30 alphanumeric characters. The password may not match the individual’s name, Social Security Number, or date of birth. Everybody must change their password at least once every 18 months.
When choosing a password, remember that the FSA ID is also an electronic signature, used to sign the FAFSA, loan promissory notes, and other legal documents. So, it is best to consider other tips for choosing a good password.
Each FSA ID must be associated with a different email address. Parents may not use their own email address for a dependent student. Students must have their own email addresses. (A new, web-based email account can be obtained for free from Gmail.com, Outlook.com, or another free email website.)
How to Create Your FSA ID
Follow these steps to create a new FSA ID:
- Click on the link to create a FSA ID from fsaid.ed.gov or other U.S. Department of Education websites, such as StudentLoans.gov, StudentAid.ed.gov, National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and TEACH Grant.
- Verify that you are at least 13 years old.
- Create a unique username and password, and provide your email address. When choosing a username and password, remember that the FSA ID is an electronic signature used to apply for financial aid and sign loan promissory notes and other legal documents.
- Provide all required personal data, such as your name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and contact information, as well as answers to the challenge questions you select.
- If you already have an FSA PIN, you can link it to your FSA ID. This can speed up the verification process. (If you have forgotten it or do not have a PIN, you don’t need a FSA PIN to create an FSA ID.)
- Carefully review your information. Read and accept the terms and conditions on the FSA ID site.
- Check the email account that was used to create your FSA ID. You can add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book to make sure the emails get delivered to your inbox. Look for a message that contains a secure code you can use to verify your email address on the FSA ID site. You will then have the option of using this email address instead of your username to access the various U.S. Department of Education websites. If you change your email address, you will need re-verify it.
The FSA ID may be used to file a FAFSA immediately. There may be a delay of a few days before the FSA ID can be used to login to the other U.S. Department of Education websites.
- If you don’t have an FSA ID yet, go to fsaid.ed.gov now and create one. It will only take a few minutes and your new FSA ID will be easier to use than the old FSA PIN.
- Never share your FSA ID with anyone, even your family. It can be used to sign the FAFSA and student loan documents, but it also gives access to your personal data, so keep it safe and secure.
- File the FAFSA every year to maintain eligibility for student aid.