College + Career Center Blog: Money, money, money! MONEY! The FSA ID – Part One

August 26, 2021

Okay, folks. Brace yourself - this is going to be a long series of posts! They may be the most important post we put out there for you, though. We want to make sure students get every free dollar possible for college. The process isn’t always the easiest, so we will post and repost information until you have all the knowledge you need. Today, we’re going to talk about the FSA ID.

Basic Flowchart for Financial Aid Process - FSA ID

Here is a flowchart that explains the basic process of financial aid that students will go through during their senior year. 


The FSA ID is a username and password you create that will let you electronically sign your FAFSA. Each student needs one, and one or more of the people the federal government considers the student’s parent will need one as well. 

There are so many helpful resources to help you create an FSA ID, and we will definitely be going over it at school and are available for additional assistance if needed. The important thing to know is this: have your FSA ID created by 9/30. The FAFSA opens on 10/1, and those dollars are first come, first served!

FAQ regarding the FSA ID

Q: How do I know who the FAFSA considers my parent(s)?

A: Students living with a legal guardian who is not their biological parent, and others in many similar situations, will be surprised to see that the federal government does not consider their legal guardian their parent. The federal government says that “parent” means the legal (biological or adoptive) parent or a person that the state has determined to be the legal parent. 

The following are not considered legal parents unless they have legally adopted the student:

  • Widowed stepparent
  • Grandparents
  • Foster parents
  • Legal guardians
  • Older brothers or sisters
  • Aunts or uncles

Here are questions to ask to determine who the student’s parent is:

  1. Are the parents married to each other?
    • If so, report information for both parents on the FAFSA.
  2. Do your parents live together?
    • Report information for both parents on the FAFSA, even if they were never married or are divorced or separated.
  3. Did you live with more than one parent more than the other over the past 12 months?
    • Report information for the parent you lived with more over the past 12 months. Be prepared to be asked to provide additional information for the second parent.
  4. Did one parent provide more financial support than the other?
    • Report information on the FAFSA for the parent who provided more financial support over the past 12 months. Be prepared to be asked to provide additional information for the second parent.
  5. Has the parent who provided more financial support remarried?
    • If yes, provide information about your stepparent.
Q: Can the parent create the student’s FSA ID?
  • A: No. Each FSA ID needs to be associated with only one cell phone number and one email address. If the parent creates the student’s FSA ID with their own email address and cell phone number, they will not create their own. 
Q: What if the parent or the student does not have a Social Security number?
  • A: That’s ok! Just put all zeroes where it asks for one. Example: 000-00-0000
Q: What if the parent has an FSA ID but can’t remember it?
  • A: There are many resources for help with this. See the links below!


Resources for Getting Started

Account Launch Page

Creating and Using the FSA ID 

Purcell Marian’s CCC team roundup of financial aid resources

Federal Student Aid YouTube Channel

Help Center for FSA ID

College + Career Center