Parents, students face issues completing FAFSA with new FSA ID
We reported earlier this year how students and parents were required to create an FSA ID in order to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) this year and explained how to do it in this post.
But the new FSA ID requirement is causing confusion and problems for parents and students trying to submit the FAFSA, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Switch to FSA ID causes problems
In May 2015, the FSA ID replaced the FAFSA PIN, which had been used in previous years previously to login into and sign the FAFSA.
The measure was intended to make the form more secure to protect people’s secure information, such as their Social Security Number.
To complete the 2016 FAFSA, both a parent and the student needed to create an FSA ID, each with a unique username and password.
But the transition hasn’t been as smooth as the Department of Education had hoped, according to the Times.
Low-income, children of immigrants face barriers
To create an FSA ID, both the parent and student must have an email address. However, counselors say that the parents of low-income students are less likely to have one, and this is a barrier to them completing and submitting the FAFSA online.
In addition, the parent who creates an FSA ID must have a Social Security number, which prevents students whose parents are undocumented immigrants from completing the FAFSA.
Some parents and students have also struggled with the password recovery system, which requires that users answer three personal “challenge questions,” create their own question and answer it, and enter “a significant date” that’s not their birthday in the process of creating a password.
Issues could prevent students from submitting FAFSA
Experts say that anything that makes it more difficult for users to register and fill out the FAFSA can potentially prevent them from submitting it on time, if at all.
While students and parents can avoid dealing with these requirements for creating an FSA ID by mailing in their FAFSA, but it takes longer than submitting it online and also takes longer to process.
Since completing the FAFSA is a requirement for students to receive federal and state financial aid, the additional requirements could keep the students who need it most from receiving aid for college, and potentially prevent them from being able to attend as a result.
Security must be a concern when personal information is involved, but too many barriers could prevent low-income students from receiving the financial aid they need in order to attend college.
Submit the FAFSA ASAP
If you’re having trouble creating an FSA ID or completing the FAFSA, be sure to reach out to the Department of Education as soon as you can. The longer you wait to submit the form, the lower your chances of receiving financial aid.
Even if your state or college deadline for submitting the FAFSA has passed, or your FAFSA is incomplete, you should submit it as soon as possible to maximize your chances of receiving financial aid.