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Navigating the New FSA ID Process for Parents Without SSNs

By: TxCAN   |   November 2023

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an essential step in securing financial aid for higher education. For parents without Social Security Numbers (SSNs), a new FSA ID process has been introduced for the 2024-25 FAFSA application. This blog will clarify the key aspects of this process, ensuring that you understand the steps involved and are well-prepared when the time comes to assist students and families in this process.


  1. When can parents without SSNs start creating their FSA ID?
On November 2, The Office of Federal Student Aid held a webinar sharing details about the FSA ID creation process for parent contributors who do not have a Social Security Number (SSN). The new FSA ID process for individuals without SSNs is set to launch on the same day as the 2024-25 FAFSA, an as-yet unspecified date in December 2023.
How to prepare:
While we wait for FAFSA to open this December. TxCAN has highly encouraged our network of practitioners to begin their FSA ID drives this fall. During your FSA ID drive events, we strongly recommend that you work with non-SSN parents who can’t get started on their FSA ID until December by ensuring they have their own email address that is easily accessible. Everyone contributing to the FAFSA form will need to have their own email address to create an FSA ID. Having an accessible email address for the FSA ID is essential for receiving communication, updates, and notifications related to the FSA ID process.
  1.  Indicating No SSN
Once parents without an SSN can create their FSA ID, the process is very similar to creating an FSA ID for anyone. However, during the application process, parents without SSNs will need to select a checkbox indicating that they do not possess an SSN. This step helps in identifying the appropriate verification process for those individuals. Once this box is selected, the SSN field will be greyed out preventing the user from entering information in that field.
How to prepare:
When working with parents without SSNs, be sure to spend extra time with them to explain that they need to select the checkbox indicating they don’t have an SSN. Some parents may have questions regarding selecting this box and if this flags them with other government agencies. During those conversations, it's important to clarify that FSA will not be sharing this information with outside agencies. We recommend sharing that the information that families report on the FSA ID and FAFSA is protected under Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  1.  Knowledge-Based Questions
Upon indicating the lack of an SSN, parents will be asked up to four knowledge-based questions provided by TransUnion, the consumer credit reporting agency. These questions are designed to verify their identity. The questions can cover various aspects of their personal history, such as previous addresses, phone numbers, former employers, loan amounts, and more.
If the knowledge-based questions are answered correctly, their FSA ID will be verified immediately, and they can move directly into completing the FAFSA online. Individuals who do not provide correct answers on the first attempt will receive an email with instructions for an alternative method to complete their identity verification.
How to prepare:
  •  Allocate extra time: Given that parents only have one opportunity to answer the knowledge-based questions correctly, it's essential to allocate sufficient time for this step. Encourage parents to review their personal history and gather any necessary documentation in advance to ensure accurate responses.
  •  Provide support: Some parents may find the process challenging, especially if English is not their first language or if they have limited experience with online forms. You may need to translate questions and answer choices for parents as needed and provide more one-on-one support.  Schools and educational institutions should provide assistance, such as informational sessions, workshops, or one-on-one support to guide parents through the FSA ID process.
  1. Unsuccessful Verification and Required Documentation
In cases where the knowledge-based questions are not answered correctly on the first attempt, parents will receive an email with instructions for an alternative method to complete their identity verification. This alternative method involves completing an attestation form, which parents will access via email, and submitting the required documentation.
In addition to the attestation form, parents will be directed to contact the FSA Information Center to initiate the identity verification process. They will receive a case number via email, along with further instructions for submitting the attestation form and necessary documents. Parents will contact FSAIC at 1-800-433-3242.
To successfully complete the identity verification, parents will be asked to submit one of the following forms of current ID:
- Driver's license
- State or city identification card
- Foreign passport
Alternatively, they can submit a utility bill and one of the following documents:
- Municipal identification card
- Community ID
- Consular ID card

It is important to note that any form of identification that is submitted for the verification process must be current and cannot be expired.

At the time of publication, the FSA has not provided specific details on how to submit the required documents. As more details become available, TxCAN will share information with our network of practitioners.

How to prepare:
  • Prepare for extra follow-up: Be prepared that parents may require extra verification. Understand that this may involve completing an attestation form, which parents will receive via email. Familiarize yourself with the contents of the form and support them with the completion of the attestation form, calling the FSA Information Center, and submitting their documents electronically.
  • Additionally, you may want to dedicate one day/evening a week to assist parents with these forms to better work with their schedules.
5. Confirmation Email
Upon submitting the required documents, FSA will send an email to the parents within 1-3 days confirming that their identity has been verified. This confirmation is an important step in ensuring that parents can proceed with their FAFSA application.
How to Prepare:
Once documentation has been submitted, reach out to parents within 3 days to see if they have received a verification email. At this point, invite them to come back in with their student to complete their portion of the FAFSA form.

TxCAN will continue to be a resource for practitioners and provide updates as they are made available before the launch of the 2024-25 FAFSA this December.

The Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) connects and supports college access initiatives across Texas, with the goal of increasing access to college and certificate programs.