On average, it takes only about seven minutes to create a Federal Student Aid ID. This is definitely time well spent. Your FSA ID is an important part of the entire financial aid process. An FSA ID consists of a username and password, and it provides access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems. It also serves as your signature. Your ID will be used when applying for financial aid, signing promissory notes, during entrance and exit counseling, applying for certain repayment plans, and keeping track of all your federal aid on the National Student Loan Data System website.

Many parents and students are finding that small mistakes made while applying for an FSA ID can lead to time-consuming hassles later on. Simple errors can delay your financial aid, and everyone wants to avoid that.

Here are a few tips that can hopefully make the process easier:

Apply early – Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for an FSA ID. Since applying for federal student aid requires you to provide sensitive info, like your Social Security number, the data must be verified, which can take a few days. You don’t want to miss the FAFSA deadline because you were waiting on this information to get processed.

Know the requirementsIf you are a dependent student, both you and your parent need to apply for an FSA ID. Your parent will need to apply with a separate email address because an email address cannot be used with more than one FSA ID. If your parent does not have a SSN, they cannot get an FSA ID. This does not mean that you cannot apply for aid. It just means that the FAFSA application must be printed, signed and mailed in. An online FAFSA application can be sent to 10 schools, but a printed one can be sent to only four schools.

Double check your Social Security cards or documentsNames and numbers for the students and parents must be entered exactly as they appear on their documents (Social Security card, Alien Registration Card, etc.).  If they don’t match, you’ll get an error message, and your application will not be processed. Also, the name, date of birth, and Social Security number that you list on the FAFSA must exactly match what you list when you register for your FSA ID.

Be patientDue to the verification process, your FSA ID may take one to three days to be activated. During this waiting period, do not try and create another ID; this will only cause more problems. You will receive an email letting you know when you are able to log in using your FSA ID.

Provide an email addressEntering an email address when signing up may not be required, but it could save you a lot of time and aggravation down the line. Providing an email makes it easier to reset your password, and could help avoid a password reset process that takes about seven to 10 days.

Keep track of your informationUnless you change it, FSA passwords expire every 18 months. If you attempt to log in to the FSA website three times and are unsuccessful, you will be locked out. Make note of the email address you signed up with, as well as the answers to your security questions, just in case you do need to reset your password.

Be persistent – Check your email on a regular basis.  If it’s been a few days and you haven’t heard anything, log on to the FSA website to check your status. You will be able to see your account profile, which will let you know where you stand in the verification process.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – If you have any trouble creating your FSA ID, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 for assistance. This video, made by the FSA, may also be useful: How to Create your FSA ID.

Applying for your FSA ID is one of the first steps toward receiving financial aid, so the few minutes it takes to apply are well worth the benefits you could eventually receive.

Photo of Financial Coach Jessica.About Jessica

After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, I have spent the past 5 years advising students about financial aid process and the options available to keep them from getting behind on their student loans. I would like to share my knowledge with you.  I want to help you and students like you have a better understanding of your finances, provide guidance on ways to effectively manage your money, and offer you the support and encouragement needed to be successful.

This service is not intended to constitute any tax, investment or legal advice. If you need investment, legal, tax advice, and/or credit counseling, please consult with a professional within those areas.

Links to third-party financial resources are provided as a convenience for informational purposes only. Trellis Company does not endorse or approve any of the products, services or opinions of the entities or individuals associated with these links.  Trellis Company bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of any external site associated with the links provided or any subsequent links.

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