FAFSA login turns to tighter security

By Salvador Godoy, Staff Writer

Students applying for financial aid through FAFSA will no longer use four-digit pins as the U.S. Department of Education has modernized the process by unveiling the new Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID last May.

The FSA ID is a username and password login authentication which replaces the former four-digit PIN number when accessing to the FAFSA personal information.

The Department of Education states on the Student Federal Aid website that having a username and password is much more secure than a PIN because there is less personally identifiable information given online. The fewer times an individual has to enter personally identifiable information over the Internet, the safer he or she is.

Student Maria Uribe said the process of setting up the FSA ID was easier to do since the implementation.

“There were no troubleshooting issues on my end when applying,” Uribe said.

However, previously, FAFSA required appliers to provide his or her name, date of birth and Social Security number to receive the four-digit numeric codes assigned the Department of Education.

Adding an extra layer of security to a personal verification account can bring positive outcomes.

Identify theft is the most common crime that repetitively occurs in to millions of Americans.

According to the 2014 Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), there were 17.6 million U.S residents who were affected by identify theft, the most common was misusing personal information for other fraudulent purposes.

Financial Aid Supervisor Monica Rodriguez said the uplifted security measures is the first important element when students provide their personal information on their FAFSA application.

“It’s all for the purpose of increased security measures. All the information is being protected as much as possible,” she said.

Financial Aid Assistant Patricia Herrera said the new FSA ID should become less of a hassle over time for students to file their FAFSA application because it requires less information.

“This is the first time the FSA ID has (been used), but students will get used to the modified feature,” Herrera said.

FAFSA applications consist of numerous amounts  of sensitive information that students expect to remain secure. 

Rodriguez said some students have had difficulty in setting up their FSA ID. The most common areas were answering security spy questions and remembering relevant dates in their life.   

Student Gashaw Takele who recently completed his 2016-17 FAFSA application said the new FSA ID login system denied him numerous of times when filing the application.

“It was a frustrating moment while each time I typed my username and password, the website was aggravating and rejected me to complete my application,” Takele said.

Rodriguez said the Financial Aid Office is offering assistance to address any problems and streamline the process.

“In order to try to address these issues for students to receive more help, they should attend the computer lab hours (in SSC-104), which are provided once or twice a week,” Rodriguez said.

Those wishing to apply for financial aid should additionally visit the college’s financial aid website for more details about forms, policies and the student loan application, Rodriguez said.