Courtesy of NASFAA | April 18, 2017 | Pamela Eliadis, Service Director, System Operations & Aid Delivery Management, Federal Student Aid
Based on feedback from users and financial aid professionals, on May 14, 2017 we will implement several enhancements to improve the FSA ID experience.
The FSA ID—a user-selected username and password—is required for students, parents, and borrowers to authenticate their identity and access their federal student aid information online. The websites that require an FSA ID to log in are fafsa.gov, NSLDS Student Access, StudentAid.gov, StudentLoans.gov, and the Federal Student Aid Feedback System (when a customer chooses to authenticate). Since the implementation of the FSA ID almost two years ago, over 45 million people have successfully created an FSA ID and have used their FSA IDs to log in over 315 million times.
Refer to the sections below for more information about the FSA ID enhancements that will be implemented next month.
Text Messaging as an Option for Account Recovery
On May 14, 2017 we will add Short Message Service (SMS)/text messaging as an option for FSA ID users when performing the following actions:
- Resetting a forgotten password
- Retrieving a forgotten username
- Unlocking an account
This new feature, which users can add to their account when creating or updating their FSA ID, will maintain the security of the FSA ID while providing an additional self-service channel. Users who have forgotten their username or password, or who have an FSA ID account that is locked, may request that a secure code be texted to their mobile phone. The user enters the secure code on the FSA ID website and may then continue with the process to reset their password, retrieve their username, or unlock their account.
Note: Users will still be able to use the existing account recovery methods (i.e., requesting that a secure code be emailed or by providing answers to the challenge questions) if desired.
To take advantage of this new option, the user must first register their mobile phone number on the FSA ID website. The process to register for SMS/text messaging is as follows:
- When creating or updating an FSA ID account, the user will be asked if they want to register their mobile phone number for account recovery purposes. If they agree, they will enter their mobile phone number. Note that for security purposes, a mobile phone number can only be associated with one FSA ID.
- To verify the number, a secure code will be texted to the mobile phone. The text may take a few minutes to arrive.
- The user must then enter the secure code within 30 minutes on the verification page on the FSA ID website and click “Submit.”
- Once the mobile number has been verified, it can be used to reset a password, retrieve a username, or unlock an FSA ID account.
Note: Users who already have an FSA ID will not see any change to the current log-in process on fafsa.gov, the Federal Student Aid Feedback System, NSLDS Student Access, StudentAid.gov, and StudentLoans.gov, related to this enhancement. Instead, they will be prompted to register for SMS/text messaging after logging in to the FSA ID website. FSA ID users who have not yet registered their mobile phone number will also be encouraged to adopt the SMS/text messaging feature at the end of the “reset password” and “retrieve username” processes.
Users may choose to change their mobile phone number or unsubscribe from SMS/text messaging at any time by logging in to the “Manage My FSA ID” page on the FSA ID website.
On May 14, 2017 we will also implement several other changes to the FSA ID website to allow users to manage their FSA ID account more effectively, to strengthen security, and to provide users with updated training resources:
- The fifth challenge question (“significant date”) will become optional.
- Enhanced navigation on the User Account Management pages will simplify account changes.
- The option to link a Federal Student Aid PIN to the user’s FSA ID will be removed. In the past, a PIN expired after 18 months of nonuse. As we approach the two-year anniversary of the FSA ID replacing the PIN, all PINs that have not been linked to an FSA ID by May 14th will be treated as expired and will no longer be linkable to an FSA ID.
- A disclaimer prior to log-in will warn against unauthorized usage by third-party for-profit entities. The user must select “Accept” in order to proceed.
- Several new video tutorials (“How to Create Your FSA ID,” “How to Retrieve Your FSA ID Username,” and “How to Reset Your FSA ID Password”) on the FSA ID website will assist users with the new processes.
- A new fact sheet, “Creating and Using Your FSA ID,” will be available on StudentAid.gov and the FSA ID website in early June 2017.
Thank you in advance for your support as we implement these enhancements.
FSA ID information, tips, and a link to create an FSA ID are available at StudentAid.gov/fsaid. Please direct students, parents, and borrowers who have questions about the FSA ID to that page.
If additional help is needed, the user should contact the customer service center for the Federal Student Aid system they are trying to access. Each Federal Student Aid website that requires the FSA ID has a link to service center support, typically under “Help” or “Contact Us.”