NCAN Members Meet with FSA Staff Regarding FSA ID

By Carrie Warick, Director of Partnerships and Policy

Since last fall, NCAN members have been sharing their experiences from the field with students using the new Federal Student Aid identification system to login and sign their FAFSA forms. This new system, designed to increase security of student information, has create several unintended consequences for students. NCAN sent a memo outlining concerns and ideas and received a response from FSA. Last week, NCAN took the conversation to the next level and convened a video conference with top officials from the Office of Federal Student Aid Customer Relations Department of NCAN members. Based on the meeting outcome, NCAN is seeking: important elements to include on an FSA ID tip sheet for advisors. Please submit your suggestions to warickc@collegeaccess.org by Friday, April 30.

During the discussion, many NCAN members said they would like more guidance on how to handle specific situations when it comes to establishing and using the FSA ID. One such example is how to enter hyphenated names. Another topic of discussion was in regard to designing security questions for which students will know the answers, and that are relevant to low-income students. FSA staff encouraged NCAN members to share sample question ideas in their responses. Finally, NCAN members also learned that the “date” security question, in addition to birthday, is used to develop a question to verify a student’s identity when he or she logs in to the student loan system via telephone. FSA staff are exploring whether or not the date provided must be eight digits, and if another number of digits could be used, should other numeric combinations be used for that question.

Thank you to all of the NCAN members who have taken the time to respond on this important issue. Members who participated in the meeting were selected from those who previously provided feedback to requests and/or are part of the NCAN Rapid Response Policy Team. If you’d like to join the NCAN Rapid Response Team, please email me at warickc@collegeaccess.org