Using a Federal Student Aid PIN to Sign the FAFSA

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Applicants who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online should use a Federal Student Aid PIN to sign the FAFSA. Filing the FAFSA is much easier and quicker with a PIN. The FAFSA PIN can also be used to add schools to the FAFSA and make corrections to the FAFSA. But the Federal Student Aid PIN is not just a FAFSA PIN, as the PIN can be used to sign federal education loan documents and access other U.S. Department of Education tools and systems.

What's a Federal Student Aid PIN and what is it for?

The Federal Student Aid PIN (also known as a FAFSA PIN) is a four-digit personal identification number that serves as an electronic signature on the FAFSA . The PIN works like the special number one might have for an ATM card. It authenticates the identity of the person who is completing the FAFSA and functions like a wet signature written with a pen.

A dependent student and one of his or her custodial parents must each have their own separate PINs to sign the FAFSA. Do not share the Federal Student Aid PIN with anyone. The student and parents should not share their PINs with each other, or with anyone helping them complete the FAFSA. The PIN serves as an electronic signature and provides access to personal records, so be sure to keep the PIN in a safe place. Sharing a Federal Student Aid PIN is like signing a blank check. Sharing a Federal Student Aid PIN may invalidate the FAFSA and other documents signed with the PIN.

Although the student's parents may know everything needed to get a PIN for the student, including the student's Social Security number and date of birth, they should not get a FAFSA PIN for their child or use it to sign the FAFSA on behalf of the child, as that is a form of identity theft.

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Is a PIN Required for the FAFSA?

Federal Student Aid PINs are optional if the applicant files a paper FAFSA, but it is best to use a PIN with the online FAFSA.

Using FAFSA on the Web can avoid errors, since the online FAFSA has built-in "edit checks" to help the applicant and his or her parents, if applicable, avoid application mistakes. The Federal Student Aid PIN makes it easier to make corrections to the FAFSA and to add schools to the FAFSA.

Applicants and parents who are unable to get or do not have a FAFSA PIN will have to print, sign and mail a signature page when completing the online FAFSA or sign and return the Student Aid Report (SAR) after it is received.

Are There Any Other Uses for a FAFSA PIN?

The Federal Student Aid PIN can be used to access systems like the U.S. Department of Education's National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), which provides information about a borrower's federal education loans. The PIN is also necessary to sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN) before a student can receive his or her federal education loans.

How to Get a FAFSA PIN

Visit the Federal Student Aid PIN web site at www.pin.ed.gov for any of the following PIN-related options:

  • Apply for a PIN for the first time or request a duplicate PIN
  • Check the status of a PIN application
  • Update the email and mailing address associated with a PIN
  • Request that a PIN be changed if it has been compromised
  • Update personal information with the U.S. Department of Education
  • Re-establish or disable a PIN
  • Activate a PIN

The same Federal Student Aid PIN can be used every year to sign the FAFSA electronically and to access federal student aid records online. The FAFSA PIN can also be used to make online corrections to the FAFSA and to add schools to the FAFSA.

Learn more about using the Federal Student Aid PIN.ed.gov web site.

Recovering a Lost FAFSA PIN

If a student or his or her custodial parent(s), if applicable, has/have lost or forgotten his or her PIN, a duplicate PIN may be requested by selecting "Request a Duplicate PIN" on the www.pin.ed.gov web site.

If the Federal Student Aid PIN has been compromised, select "Change My PIN" to get a new PIN.

If the PIN has been disabled or locked, select "Reestablish My PIN."