Advertiser Disclosure

FSA ID: Everything You Need to Know

Getting an FSA ID through the Federal Student Aid website is crucial to applying for financial aid to pay for college.
Sept. 4, 2019
Loans, Student Loans
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is your gateway to federal student aid — and the FSA ID is the key to that gateway.

Your FSA ID consists of two elements — a username and a password — that you and your parents will use to log in to federal student aid websites, such as,, the National Student Loan Data System and My Federal Student Aid. You’ll also use it to electronically sign the FAFSA and promissory notes, and signal the completion of entrance and exit counseling.

» MORE: Your FAFSA questions answered

Here’s what else you should know about the FSA ID:

You don’t need an FSA ID to fill out the FAFSA, but you do need one to sign and submit the form electronically. Without one, you’ll need to print, sign and mail the FAFSA signature page to submit your application, a much longer process.

You also need an FSA ID to access your student loan records and make changes to your FAFSA online.

» MORE: FAFSA checklist

To create an FSA ID, simply visit the Federal Student Aid website. You’ll need to provide an email address, select a username and password and enter your full name, date of birth and Social Security number.

» MORE: 5 FAFSA tips to save you time when applying



You can apply for an FSA ID at any time, so there’s no need to wait until you fill out your FAFSA. If you do wait until then, however, you will be prompted to apply for one before you submit the form.
Yes and no. You can use your FSA ID right away to sign and submit your FAFSA electronically, but you’ll need to wait a few days to use it for other purposes, such as signing a promissory note. If you already have a FAFSA personal identification number, though, you can link it to your new FSA ID and start using the ID right away.
If you’re applying for financial aid as a dependent, one of your parents will be required to sign the FAFSA. In that case, he or she needs a unique FSA ID to sign electronically. Not sure if you’re considered dependent or independent? Find out with these dependency status questions from the federal aid site.

» MORE: What are the FAFSA requirements?

No problem. Just go to the login page on any of the federal student loan websites and select “Forgot Username” or “Forgot Password” to reset your credentials. From there, you can either answer three challenge questions or request a secure code. If you choose the latter, the code will be sent to the email provided when you created your FSA ID.
Yes. And you should update your details as soon as possible if your email, mailing address or contact phone number changes. Just visit the Federal Student Aid website and select “Edit My FSA ID.” You can also use this tab to update your challenge questions, change your password or disable or enable your FSA ID.
Your username does not expire. But your password expires every 18 months if you haven’t changed it.
The Department of Education officially retired the personal identification number, or PIN, on May 10, 2015. If you haven’t logged in to the FSA website since then, your PIN will no longer work and you’ll need to create a more secure FSA ID. If you associate your PIN with your new FSA ID, you’ll save the one to three days that it usually takes for the Social Security Administration to verify your information.


About the author