New year, new FAFSA login credentials

There is a new step for students filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid this year. Students must create a new sign-in identity for the FAFSA called the Federal Student Aid ID, or FSA ID.

The FSA ID replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN, which was used to sign the FAFSA and do other tasks on the Federal Student Aid site in May of last year. The new FSA ID is supposed to be more secure.

The FSA ID is a username and password students will need to login and sign documents and access information across Federal Student Aid sites.

Marshall University Financial Aid Counselor Senior Sarah Musgrave said students should create the FSA ID before they file their FAFSA this year.

“It’s best if you create the ID before you file the FAFSA, though it’s not necessary,” Musgrave said. “And it takes a little bit of time, I’ll admit.”

Musgrave stressed it is important that students and parents set up their own separate FSA IDs.

“There’s a lot involved with setting it up and a lot of challenge questions and it’s important that the person who sets it up sets up their own challenge questions,” Musgrave said.

There is no deadline for setting up the FSA ID, but students cannot electronically sign the FAFSA without it. Submitting a paper signature is a way around the FSA ID, but Musgrave said this may cause processing delays in scholarships and financial aid. Submitting a paper signature could also delay when the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission gets FAFSA information for PROMISE Scholarships and West Virginia grant renewal.

Musgrave said without an FSA ID students will have issues paying their loans in the long term because payment requires a student to access Federal Student Aid sites, such as the National Student Loan Data System.

“If you are going to be a loan borrower, you have to have an FSA ID to electronically sign your master promissory note and to complete entrance loan counseling, which is required before we can disburse a loan,” Musgrave said. “So it’s very important to get one.”

Musgrave said that after setting up the FSA ID, the password for the FSA ID does expire every 18 months and a new password must be created after this time period.

Amanda Gibson can be contacted at [email protected].