The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is required to collect signatures from the applicant and his/her parents (if applicable) when the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is filed. By signing the FAFSA (electronically or on paper) the applicant is assuming responsibility for the accuracy of the information reported and agreeing to the terms of the certification in the last section/step of the FAFSA.
The FAFSA cannot be processed until signature(s) are received. There are three ways to sign the FAFSA depending on whether it is filed electronically or filed on the paper form.
- by signing the FAFSA on the Web application electronically with a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID);
- by printing, signing and mailing a signatures page after submitting the application electronically; or
- by signing in step seven of the paper FAFSA and returning it in the mail.
Electronic applications and corrections that are missing signatures will be held for 14 days before a rejected Student Aid Report (SAR) is sent to the applicant.
Refer to Appendix C in the 2020-21 ISIR Guide for more information about how the CPS determines the type of output document that is sent to applicants.
An FSA ID is used to electronically sign all FAFSA on the Web applications and on any ED website that requires an FSA ID. Using an FSA ID to sign the applications electronically is the fastest and most reliable way to sign the application. It currently takes 1-3 days to get an FSA ID electronically as opposed to the 10 days it would take a signature pages to be received and processed through the mail.
If the applicant (or parent of a dependent applicant) does not currently have an FSA ID, refer them to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website to learn about the process, then access Create an FSA ID now and follow the instructions. Applicants can also create an FSA ID when they begin to enter the FAFSA on the Web application. If creating an FSA ID for the first time, the FSA ID is considered conditional until the information is verified with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The conditional FSA ID can be used to sign an original FAFSA, but nothing else. Once your information is verified with the SSA (one–three days from the date of application), the new FSA ID can be used to fully access financial aid information.
Applying for an FSA ID is a one-time process. Parents and students may not share an FSA ID; each will need to apply for their own FSA ID using their own unique e-mail address. However, the parent and student can use their own FSA ID for signing the FAFSA application form one year to the next. In addition, parents can use the same FSA ID for processes involving different children. The FSA ID username does not expire, but the password will expire every 18 months. The student will be prompted if the password needs to be reset.