What is an FSA ID and why do you need one?

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A Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) is the account used to access the U.S. Department of Education’s online system. If you plan to apply for federal student aid, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and to do so online, you will need to create an FSA ID. You can also use your FSA ID to manage your federal student aid online.

What is an FSA ID?

An FSA ID is the information you use to access your account for federal student aid on the Department of Education website. It consists of a username and password.

Each FSA account can have only one FSA ID, and you should never create an FSA ID for someone else, including family members. FSA IDs are tied to Social Security numbers and serve as a legal signature.

Your FSA ID will help you do the following:

  • Access the online FAFSA form.
  • Sign your FAFSA application and submit it online.
  • Prefill the online FAFSA form with information from the previous year.
  • Log in to the myStudentAid app.
  • Sign loan contracts.
  • Manage student loan repayment plans.

How to create an FSA ID

Creating an FSA ID is essential for completing the online FAFSA form. Here’s how to get one:

  1. Enter personal information. Start by heading to the Federal Student Aid website. You will need to provide your Social Security number, email address, phone number, full name, date of birth and mailing address.
  2. Create a unique username and password. Your password should be between eight and 30 characters long. It must have at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter and one number. Special characters are not required but can be used.
  3. Complete challenge questions and answers. You will need to select a total of four challenge questions and provide your answers. These questions will be used to verify your identity if you forget your password.
  4. Enter your email address or phone number. An email address or phone number can be used for only one FSA account. If you share an email or phone number with someone else, make sure that it has not already been used to create an FSA ID.

Frequently asked questions about FSA IDs

What do I do if I forget my FSA ID?

If you forget your FSA ID, you can follow the prompts on the login page to regain access to your account. You will need to provide either your email address or your phone number, or give answers to your challenge questions.

What do I do if my password expires?

Your FSA ID account does not expire. You will be asked to change your password only if there is a security event or you need to recover your account. If this happens, follow the steps provided to you in order to reset your password.

Do parents need an FSA ID?

Yes, sometimes parents need to create an FSA ID. If you are a dependent, one of your parents will have to provide information for your FAFSA, and they will need to create their own FSA ID to do so. In creating their FSA ID, they should use their own Social Security number and email address or phone number.

What’s the difference between a Federal Student Aid PIN and an FSA ID?

The use of the Federal Student Aid PIN (sometimes referred to as the FAFSA PIN) was retired on May 10, 2015. The FSA ID has now replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN. Anyone who has not logged in to the U.S. Department of Education website since May 10, 2015, will need to create an FSA ID to do so.

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Written by
Emma Woodward
Contributing writer
Emma Woodward is a freelance writer who loves writing to demystify personal finance topics. She has written for companies and publications like Finch, Toast, JBD Clothiers and The Financial Diet.
Edited by
Student loans editor