Category Archives: FSA ID

How to Finish the FAFSA, Steps 3-4: Fill It Out and Sign/Submit

FAFSA Step 3Now that you’ve gathered materials  and created an FSA ID , it’s time to complete and submit the FAFSA at FAFSA.gov.

Applying online is fast, simple and best of all… it’s safe. The online form allows you to rapidly transfer previously filed tax information and has many “helps and hints” along to way to answer any questions that may come to mind. And, you may choose to send your FAFSA results to up to 10 schools that interest you.

FAFSA Step 4Be sure to enter your information exactly as it appears on your Social Security card. When finished, you will sign with your FSA ID. Don’t forget to hit “Submit” when you’ve completed the form!

How to Finish the FAFSA, Step 2: Create an FSA ID

FAFSA Step 2If you’ve completed the first of the five (fairly fast) FAFSA steps and have gathered materials  needed to complete the FAFSA, then you are ready to complete step 2 and create an FSA ID.

“FSA ID” is just a fancy acronym for a username and password. To create an FSA ID, visit fsaid.ed.gov and follow the prompts onscreen. Parents of dependent students will need an FSA ID of their own for the FAFSA, too.

Once you have an FSA ID, save it somewhere safe! You will need your FSA ID to sign the FAFSA online and to access information about other financial aid programs as well.

New Release Date for FAFSA

The new FAFSA filing date is October 1. Learn more at Start With FAFSA dot org.
The new FAFSA will become available Oct. 1 this year.

Question: What’s new and improved about the FAFSA for the 2016-17 school year?

Answer: College students and high school seniors will be able to submit the FAFSA beginning October 1, 2016, instead of waiting until Jan. 1, 2017. Learn more about these changes at StudentAid.gov.

Stay in touch and we’ll keep you informed!

  • The upcoming changes to the FAFSA offer numerous benefits for students and parents. As more information becomes available, we’ll share it with you here at StartWithFAFA.org.
  • Like us on Facebook for information about a wide variety of scholarships and college planning tips for students.
  • Visit us at UCanGo2.org for an abundance of information about planning, preparing and paying for college.

How to Get a Head Start This Summer

If you’ll be a senior in high school this fall you may already be showing early signs of senioritis*. You’re probably busy wondering where you’ll go to college, what classes you’ll take, and whether or not you’ll live on campus. While going to college or a career technology center is a great new chapter in your life, don’t forget about one of the most important things… paying for it!

The one form you’ll need to apply for federal financial aid and some state aid is called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application will be available Oct. 1 this year. Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible for priority consideration for some types of financial aid.

To electronically sign and complete the FAFSA online, you and your parent will each need an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID). The FSA ID is a username and password that you’ll use to access your FAFSA, make corrections, access income tax documents and sign the form. Creating your FSA ID takes about 7-10 minutes, so why not do it this summer? Here’s what you do:

    1. From a secure computer go to the Federal Student Aid website.
    2. Create a username and password, and enter your email address.
    3. Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security number, contact information and challenge questions and answers.
    4. Review your information, and read and accept the terms and conditions.
    5. Confirm your email address using the secure code, which will be sent to the email address you entered when you created your FSA ID. Once you verify your email address, you can use it instead of your username to log in.

You can use your FSA ID to sign a FAFSA right away. Only the owner of the FSA ID should create and use the account and you should never share your FSA ID.

Now you’ve completed one important step in the FAFSA process. Hang on to the FSA ID information to use in early October when you complete your FAFSA. You’ll also use the FSA ID in future years, so be sure to save it somewhere safe and somewhere you’ll remember it.

*Senioritis: Noun
A supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.
“I try not to let my grades suffer from my senioritis”

Your Acronym Glossary

Acronyms, schmacroynms! What do they all mean? As you navigate your way through the financial aid process you’ll run across plenty of three to four letter terms that may seem like a foreign language. Let us try to help make some sense of it all!

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
Your or your family’s wages, salaries, interest, dividends, etc., minus certain deductions from income as reported on a federal income tax return. Commonly referred to as AGI.

Agreement to Serve (ATS)
The binding agreement you must sign to receive a TEACH Grant. By signing the ATS, you agree to teach (1) full-time, (2) in a high-need field, (3) at a low-income school or educational service agency that serves certain low-income schools, and (4) for at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing (or ceasing enrollment in) the course of study for which you received the grant.

Cost of Attendance (COA)
COA includes tuition and fees; room and board (or a housing and food allowance); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and dependent care. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses, including an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer; costs related to a disability; and reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs.

Data Release Number (DRN)
The four-digit number assigned to your FAFSA that allows you to release your FAFSA data to schools you did not list on your original FAFSA. You need this number if you contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center to make corrections to your mailing address or the schools you listed on your FAFSA. You find this number below the confirmation number on your FAFSA submission confirmation page or in the top right-hand corner of your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
This is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA, the application for federal student aid. Your EFC is reported to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR).

FAFSA
Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FREE application used to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, and work-study.

FSA ID
The FSA ID is a username and password combination that serves as a student’s or parent’s identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as a digital signature on some online forms.

Satisfactory Academic Programs (SAP)
A school’s standards for satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate offered by that institution.

Student Aid Report (SAR)
A summary of the information you submitted on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You receive this report via e-mail a few days after your FAFSA has been processed. If there are no corrections or additional information you must provide, the SAR will contain your EFC, which is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.

To learn more about financial aid terms, check out the glossary through the U.S. Department of Education.

What’s up with the FSA ID?

The Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID) is used to log in to certain FSA websites, such as FAFSA.gov. It’s comprised of a username and password, and it has replaced the old PIN system. If you used a PIN to sign your last FAFSA, you’ll be given directions on how to set up an FSA ID the next time you log in at FAFSA.gov.

Setting up an FSA ID is easy, and it’s strongly recommended that you set it up before you start the FAFSA. Simply visit fsaid.ed.gov, click ‘Create an FSA ID,’ and fill in the requested information.

Here are a few things you need to know:

  • If you are a dependent student (see our FAFSA Dependency Questionnaire in the resources section), one of your parents will also need to set up their own FSA ID. Parents will use the same website and follow the same steps.
  • Your email address cannot be the same as your parent’s email address on the FAFSA. Make sure you have two separate email addresses before you set up your FSA IDs.
  • Because many high schools have firewalls to prevent students from receiving external mail, it’s best not to use an email address that’s been assigned to you by your school.
  • If you have any questions about the FSA ID, click ‘Help’ in the top right corner at fsaid.ed.gov. You’ll find a wealth of information there.

Don’t forget to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible for priority consideration for some types of financial aid!

Are You Haunted by The Ghosts of FAFSA’s Past?

While it may be true that submitting your FAFSA can make you want to scream, completing the form is now easier than ever. Don’t believe us? Here are some examples.

Paper vs. electronic
Any counselor or teacher who was around to see the original release of the first Halloween movie, will tell you they had to submit their FAFSA on paper. EEK! Imagine having to wait longer than a vampire’s lifespan for your FAFSA to make it to Illinois via snail mail, only to have it returned to you two or three weeks later with a list of errors that need to be corrected before re-mailing the form! Today, the online FAFSA can be processed and corrected in just a few days.

Worksheets vs. built-in formulas
Back in the day, there were additional worksheets that had to be completed by many FAFSA filers (anybody out there remember Worksheets A, B & C?). Those have been eliminated by fine-tuning the financial aid process.

PIN vs. FSA ID
The newest improvement to the FAFSA process is the switch from a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) to the Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID) system used to sign the FAFSA electronically. We’re all familiar with user IDs and passwords, and this new method is more secure and equally user-friendly. If you used a PIN on your FAFSA last year, you’ll be given step-by-step instructions for switching over to a new FSA ID when you submit your 2016-17 form. If you’d like to create your new FSA ID before you begin the application, visit fsaid.ed.gov.

The moral of the story here is not to be discouraged by the way things used to be. When it comes to college preparation and FAFSA completion, things have changed for the better. To stay up-to-date on the latest college planning news and tips, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/UCanGo2.

I’m a Parent. Do I Need an FSA ID Too?

If your student needs your information for the FAFSA, you’ll need to create an FSA ID separate from your student’s FSA ID. You can create an FSA ID, consisting of a username and password, at FSAID.ed.gov. As a parent, your FSA ID will allow you to electronically retrieve your tax information and sign your student’s FAFSA. If you have more than one child completing the application, you can use the same FSA ID for all applications.

After you’ve created an FSA ID, you can update your information on your student’s FAFSA by choosing the option to “Enter the student’s information” from the FAFSA login page. We recommend you create an FSA ID before accessing your student’s FAFSA to help avoid additional steps in the login process.

To learn more about the FSA ID process visit studentaid.gov/fsaid.

Can I Access My FAFSA Without an FSA ID?

Federal Student Aid (FSA) has officially done away with the PIN system. The fastest and easiest way to create a new FAFSA, or to access an existing application, is to first create an FSA ID consisting of a username and password. We recommend you take this step first to avoid additional steps later.

To create an FSA ID visit FSAID.ed.gov, OR from FAFSA.gov:

  1. Choose “Start a New FAFSA” or “Login” from the home page.
  2. Then, select “Enter your (the student’s) FSA ID,” and click the link to “Create an FSA ID”.
  3. From there, follow the prompts to create a secure username, password and security questions with answers that you’ll remember.  For faster processing, be sure to enter your information exactly as it’s registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

For more information about the switch from PIN to FSA ID, check out our last post.

Important! FAFSA to Replace Personal Identification Number (PIN) Process

Beginning May 10, 2015, Federal Student Aid will require both new and existing users to create an FSA ID consisting of a username and password to access the following websites: FAFSA on the WebThe National Student Loan Data SystemFederal Direct Consolidation LoansFederal Student Aid and Agreement to Serve. The FSA ID will be used to replace PINs.

Use the following steps to create an FSA ID:

Step 1: When logging in to one of the websites listed above, click the link to create an FSA ID. Only the owner of the FSA ID should create and use the account. Never share your FSA ID.

Step 2: Create a username and password, and enter your email address.

Step 3: Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security number, contact information, and challenge questions and answers.

Step 4: If you have a Federal Student Aid PIN, you will be able to enter it and link it to your FSA ID. You can still create an FSA ID if you have forgotten or do not have a PIN.

Step 5: Review your information, and read and accept the terms and conditions.

Step 6: Confirm your email address using the secure code, which will be sent to the email address you entered when you created your FSA ID. Once you verify your email address, you can use it instead of your username to log in to the websites.

For more information about this change, please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out/pin#fsaid-intro.