The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is required to collect signatures from the applicant and all contributors (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 Signature sections 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); or
- signing the appropriate item(s) of the paper/PDF FAFSA (#24 for the Student; #29 for the Student Spouse; #41 for the Parent; #46 for the Parent Spouse; and/or #49 for the Preparer) and returning it in the mail.
Refer to Volume 6 – ISIR Guide of the 2024-25 FAFSA Specifications Guide for more information about how the FAFSA Processing System (FPS) determines the type of output document that is sent to applicants.
An FSA ID is used to electronically sign all online FAFSA forms, and may also be used on any other ED website that requires an electronic signature. An FSA ID electronic signature is required for the applicant and all contributors (which may include a Student Spouse, Parent, and/or Parent Spouse or Partner). It typically takes one to three days to get an FSA ID electronically.
If the applicant or contributor(s) 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 online FAFSA. When first creating an FSA ID, it is considered conditional until the information is verified through the appropriate matching process. The conditional FSA ID can be used to sign an original FAFSA, but nothing else. Once all information has been verified, the new FSA ID can be used to fully access financial aid information.
Applying for an FSA ID is a one-time process. Students (applicants) and contributors 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 student and contributors 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.