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. Depending on whether the FAFSA is filed electronically or via paper/PDF, the signature requirement may be fulfilled by either:
- signing an online FAFSA electronically with a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) at FAFSA on the Web;
- printing, signing and mailing a signatures page after submitting the application electronically; or
- signing in step seven of the paper/PDF 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 2023-24 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 may also be used on any other ED website that requires an electronic signature. An FSA ID electronic signature is the fastest and most reliable way to sign the application. It typically takes one to three days to get an FSA ID electronically, as opposed to the 10 days it would take for the signature page of an application to be received through the mail and processed.
If the applicant (or parent of a dependent applicant) does not currently have an FSA ID, refer them to the Federal Student Aid website to learn about the process and how to create an FSA ID. Applicants can also create an FSA ID when they begin to enter the FAFSA on the Web application. When first creating an FSA ID, it 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 to 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 from 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. A prompt is provided each time the password needs to be reset.