What Is the FSA ID?

Students headed to college and borrowers repaying federal student loans are familiar with the PIN, or personal identification number, that was needed to access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the U.S. Department of Education’s websites.

FSAIDTo better protect consumers’ privacy and make access easier, the Federal Student Aid (FSA) office of the U.S. Department of Education has now transitioned to a secure login system called FSA ID. Here are the top questions and answers for the FSA ID.

Q: Do I need an FSA ID?

A: If you have or plan to take out federal student loans, or you are the parent of a dependent student who will have federal student loans, yes, you will need an FSA ID. You will use it to complete, update and sign the FAFSA; complete required entrance and exit counseling; sign for federal student loans; view information about your federal student loans and other repayment activities.

Q: Which sites do I access with the FSA ID?

A: You will need an FSA ID to access the following FSA and Department websites:

  • fafsa.gov to complete, update and sign the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • http://studentaid.ed.gov to learn about and apply for financial aid and to manage federal student loans
  • nslds.ed.gov to view information about all your federal student loans
  • http://studentloans.gov to complete entrance and exit counseling, sign Master Promissory Notes (MPNs), estimate payment amounts and complete agreements and counseling for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH Grant) program
  • teach-ats.ed.gov to apply for and manage the TEACH Grant

Q: How do I set up the FSA ID?

A: Go to http://studentaid.gov/FSAID to learn more about the FSA ID and create yours. You will need to supply a valid email, a unique username and password; enter personal information and agree to the terms and conditions. You have the option to verify your email address, which will let you retrieve your username or reset your password without answering challenge questions.

The entire process only takes a few minutes, and you’ll be able to use your FSA ID to access the above sites within one to three days.

Q: Can I still use my Federal Student Aid PIN?

A: No. But you can link your Federal Student Aid PIN to your FSA ID to gain immediate access to the sites above while your FSA ID information is verified.

Q: What if I don’t remember my Federal Student Aid PIN or don’t have one?

A: You don’t need a Federal Student Aid PIN to create an FSA ID.

By: Iowa Student Loan

Financial Aid Myths

Have you heard that applying for financial aid isn’t worth it because your parents earn too much or because it takes too long to complete? Don’t be tempted by these common myths to skip completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You could be passing up free money. And that’s the last thing you want to do when it comes to paying for college.

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Financial Aid Myth — You won’t receive financial aid because of how much money your parents earn.

Income is not the only determining factor when it comes to whether or not you’re eligible for federal student aid. And there is no income level that automatically disqualifies you for aid. Taking the time to complete the FAFSA is the only way to qualify for federal student aid and you won’t know if you qualify until you do that step, so completing the FAFSA every year you are in school is important.

Also, did you know that the FAFSA is used for more than just federal financial aid? State and school aid is also awarded based on your FAFSA results. If you don’t complete the FAFSA, you could also be missing out on these other sources of financial aid.

Financial Aid Myth — The FAFSA is difficult to complete.

The FAFSA has changed a lot since it was first introduced, and the application is revised often to make the process smoother. The online process uses logic to limit questions to ones that are relevant and completing it online instead of filling out a paper application lessens the chance for mistakes. According to the federal government, completing the FAFSA now takes less than 21 minutes on average. That’s not too bad if the outcome is grants, scholarships and other funds to help lower your college expenses, is it?

Financial Aid Myth — You need to have your taxes filed before starting the FAFSA.

While you will eventually need final annual tax information for your FAFSA, you can start and even submit it with estimated information. It’s really important not to wait until your or your family’s taxes are filed to submit your FAFSA, especially if your college or university’s priority deadline is well before April 15. Financial aid is distributed first to those students who file their FAFSA by the school’s deadline, so if you miss that by waiting until you file your taxes, you may miss out on important opportunities.

If your taxes won’t be filed until closer to the tax deadline, you can estimate your information using last year’s tax return. Then once your taxes for this year are completed, you can update that information online. Remember, there is no penalty for using estimated information.

Financial Aid Myth — You only need to complete the FAFSA once.

If you complete the FAFSA before starting college, you may think you don’t need to file it ever again. But you should file the FAFSA every year as soon after Jan. 1 as possible if you intend to enroll in classes during the next academic year. This is especially important if your family’s circumstances change because you may be eligible for new or more aid next year. Even if there are no major changes to your family, though, other factors such as how financial need is calculated may mean you are eligible for different options next year. And, once you complete the FAFSA the first time, it will take even less time to complete the following years.

Financial Aid Myth — Your parents are not supporting you financially in college so you don’t have to include their information on the FAFSA.

Unfortunately you may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes, even if you are paying for all your college expenses yourself. You will need to answer questions in the FAFSA to determine if you are considered a dependent student or an independent student. If you are considered a dependent student, you will need to report your parents’ information on the FAFSA. If you are unsure how what type of student you are, contact your college or university’s financial aid office for assistance.

By: Iowa Student Loan