A personal identification number called a Federal Student Aid PIN will help you get through the FAFSASM process more quickly.

Ready to apply for a PIN? Visit www.pin.ed.gov.

The PIN

Your Federal Student Aid PIN is the personal identification number you use when you visit certain U.S. Department of Education websites. When you type in your PIN at these sites, you are saying either “Yes, it’s really me—please show me the personal information about me on this site” or “Please accept my PIN as my signature on this online form.”

What is a PIN?
Where can I use my PIN?
When should I get a PIN?
How do I get a PIN?
Does my PIN expire?
What if I forgot my PIN?
What if my PIN was lost or stolen? 


What is a PIN?

A PIN is (almost always) a four-digit number that is used in combination with your Social Security number, name, and date of birth to identify you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on Federal Student Aid websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM) at www.fafsa.gov. If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own PIN if you want to sign your child’s FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same PIN to sign all of their applications. 

Woman texting while sitting at a computer

Your PIN is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Don’t give your PIN to anyone—not even to someone helping you fill out the FAFSA. Sharing your PIN could put you at risk of identity theft

By the way, when you fill out your FAFSA, you’ll create a password. The password is not the same as your PIN; you’ll use the password only if you start your FAFSA, save it without finishing it, log out, and then want to log back in again later to finish it.

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Where can I use my PIN?

That depends. When you first apply for your PIN, it is considered to be conditional until your information is verified with the Social Security Administration (SSA). You may sign your online FAFSA with it, but nothing else. 

Once your information is verified with the SSA (one–three days from the date you apply), you will be able to use your PIN to access your personal information on any of these Federal Student Aid websites, depending on what you need to do:

Website

What You Can Do at the Site

FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.gov

  • Electronically sign your FAFSA (your parent can sign, too!).
  • Prefill data in this year's FAFSA on the Web application if you filed a FAFSA last year.
  • Make online corrections to an existing FAFSA.
  • View or print an online copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR). 

The National Student Loan Data System at www.nslds.ed.gov

  • View a history of any federal student aid that you have received.

Federal Direct Consolidation Loans Information Center at www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov

  • Apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan. 
  • Track the status of your online application throughout the entire consolidation process.

StudentLoans.gov

  • Complete entrance counseling and exit counseling.
  • Electronically sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). 
  • Complete a Direct PLUS Loan request. 

Agreement to Serve (ATS) at www.teach-ats.ed.gov

  • Sign your ATS for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program.

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When should I get a PIN?

You, and your parent if you’re a dependent student, can apply for a PIN any time. If you don’t have one by the time you fill out your FAFSA, you will be prompted to apply for one when you reach the Sign and Submit page of the FAFSA site. However, if you think the Social Security Administration might have the wrong name or date of birth for you in its records, go to www.ssa.gov now to find out how to correct any errors. Your information must be correct before you can get a PIN and your FAFSA can be processed.

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How do I get a PIN?

Go to www.pin.ed.gov and provide a few pieces of information such as your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address.

You will be given the option of creating your own PIN or having the site create one for you. If the site creates one for you, you can choose to have your PIN displayed immediately on the screen. Otherwise, you can choose to receive an e-mail that will give you the link to a site where you can access your PIN. We won’t send your PIN to you in the e-mail itself for security reasons. Instead, we’ll ask you for some personal information to identify yourself before we show you your PIN.

You also can get a PIN while filling out the FAFSA, as described in “When should I get a PIN?” above.

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Does my PIN expire?

Your PIN will expire if you do not use it for 18 months in a row. To prevent it from expiring, you must perform at least one of the following tasks during an 18-month period:

If your PIN does expire after 18 months of nonuse, you must apply for a new PIN.

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What if I forgot my PIN?

If you have lost or forgotten your PIN, you can request a duplicate PIN. Because you’ll use your PIN for future FAFSAs and for many different actions regarding your student aid records, we recommend you change your PIN to one you can easily remember. 

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What if my PIN was lost or stolen?

If your PIN is lost or stolen, you must

  • request a new PIN by selecting Change My PIN on the PIN site,
  • contact Federal Student Aid's customer service center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243), or
  • disable your PIN so that no one can use it. 

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