PIN (personal identification number)

"PIN (personal identification number)" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 21st July 2011

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PIN (personal identification number) from the U.S. Department of Education that serves as your e-signature on the electronic FAFSA; also can be used to check on the status of your FAFSA, correct or print your Student Aid Report, sign your master promissory note, and view your federal financial aid records. Your PIN (Personal Identification Number) is an electronic access code that serves as your personal identifier. The Federal Student Aid PIN gives access to personal information and therefore should be kept PRIVATE. You should not share your PIN with anyone, even if that person is helping you fill out the FAFSA. Counselors should not offer to hold onto students’ PINs. If you are concerned about forgetting your PIN you should go to and change your PIN to a number you will remember. Your PIN allows you to:

E-sign your FAFSA using your Federal Student Aid PIN and provide an e-mail address to receive an estimate of your EFC instantly. Your application will also be processed quickly, usually within three to five days.

Complete the FAFSA between Jan. 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011 (no exceptions to either date!). BUT, apply as soon as possible after Jan. 1 to meet school and state aid deadlines (see note at bottom of page). Apply online at FAFSA on the WebSM (the faster and easier way) by going to If you don’t already have your PIN, you can get it when you complete the online FAFSA. Both you and your parents can obtain a PIN from the U.S. Department of Education at If you are a dependent student, both you and your parents must sign the FAFSA prior to submission. When you apply online you may receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) in as little as five days.

Initially, your PIN can be used only to sign your FAFSA. Your personal data (Social Security number, full name and date of birth) must successfully match with the data the Social Security Administration has on file for you before your PIN can be used for other federal student aid purposes, such as signing a promissory note. After your data successfully matches with the Social Security Administration’s data you can use your PIN at other federal student aid Web sites. Your SAR* will contain a comment that lets you know whether your data successfully matched with the Social Security Administration’s data or not. If your data does not match you will receive a notice with information to help you resolve the issue.

Reapply each year

Most financial aid awards are considered “new” each school year, so you’ll need to submit the FAFSA each year. Use your PIN to find your previous year’s FAFSA at starting January 1. Simply update any information that has changed, such as your income or family size; complete any blank areas; and review your list of colleges. You may continue to get any other state or federal aid you received the year before as long as you still meet the requirements. In most cases, this includes making satisfactory academic progress, so be sure you understand your school’s policy.

Safeguard Your PIN

Should I get a PIN if I’m not applying for aid online?

We encourage you to apply online because that process is much faster and easier. The electronic FAFSA process has edits built into the application that dramatically reduce the chance for errors. That saves you time and trouble. But, even if you don’t apply online, you can use a PIN to access all your federal student aid information.

Do I get a PIN automatically?

Yes. If you did not apply for a PIN before submitting your FAFSA, your personal data, such as your Social Security number, full name and date of birth, will be matched with the Social Security Administration’s data. If the match is successful, we’ll automatically send you a PIN.

What if I have questions about the PIN?

Go to or Or, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). NOTE: If you opted to receive your PIN by e-mail, you should add [email protected] to your e-mail address book or “safe list” to help avoid delivery problems.

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