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.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2021!
|1.04% – 11.98%1||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|1.13% – 11.23%*,2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|3.84% – 9.40%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|1.05% – 11.44%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|1.22% – 11.66%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|2.76% – 7.14%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|1.24% – 11.99%7||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers. |
1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
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.
Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
Information advertised valid as of 4/22/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.
4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.26% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.22% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.37% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.12% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.52% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.29% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 10.76% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.22% to 11.16% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 4/1/2021. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)..
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.76% – 7.14% (2.76% – 7.14% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 3.01% – 7.50% (3.01% – 7.50% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.19% – 6.73% (2.19% – 6.73% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 2.89% – 7.09% (2.89%-7.09% APR).
Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.36% – 9.54% (1.36% – 8.82% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.13% – 9.84% (4.13% – 9.12% APR).
Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.36% – 8.34% (1.36% – 8.04% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.03% – 8.64% (4.03% – 8.34% APR).
Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.10% – 7.41% (2.10%-7.41% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.69% – 7.83% (4.69% – 7.83% APR).
Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 4.45% – 9.60% (4.45% – 9.53% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.38% – 12.81% APR).
Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.55% – 7.05% (3.55% – 6.77% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.97% – 10.07% APR).
Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable Rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of March 1, 2021, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.11%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%.
Fixed Rate Disclosure: Fixed rate ranges are based on applicable terms, level of degree, and presence of a co-signer.
Lowest Rate Disclosure: Lowest rates require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate degree (where applicable), and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer. Borrowers should carefully review federal benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are considering possible loan forgiveness options, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision on our website including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/Promissory Note, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank participating school.
Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7 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.