The PIN for the FAFSA is the number that you use to sign your application as well as other things with the Department of Education. The PIN or Personal Identification Number can be applied for at the PIN site which is www.pin.ed.gov.
To start the application process, go to the PIN site and click on the apply now button on the right side of the page. After reading the instructions, click on next and you are taken to the actual PIN application. The application will ask you for your social security number, name, and date of birth. The information you put in the application must match the information in the social security administration database. If this information does not match, your PIN application will be denied.
If you try to apply for a PIN and you already have one that was issued to you at any point in the past, it will give you an error and say that a PIN already exists. You can then be sent to a page where you can request a duplicate PIN. As long as your information matches with the social security administration, your PIN will be automatically shown to you. You can also choose your own PIN when applying for the first time, have the PIN emailed to you instantly, or have it sent to you via postal mail.
The main use for the PIN is to sign your FAFSA when you get to the end to expedite processing. If you are a dependent student and need to put parental information on your FAFSA, you can have your parent also apply for a PIN as the FAFSA will require their signature and the fastest way to get the application processed is for both the student and parent to have a PIN.
The FAFSA PIN can also be used on the National Student Loan Data System at nslds.ed.gov to review what financial aid you have been awarded over the years. This information can be a little misleading because it is not necessarily the amounts that you have been disbursed, it should be the amounts that your were originally awarded. Schools can make changes to your financial aid award and it might not be reflected in the amounts listed. You can see all federal loan and federal grant information on the NSLDS site.
The PIN can also be used to sign some MPN’s or Master Promissory Notes for receiving your loan payments form the government. All student who are receiving federal loans must sign an MPN to receive their funds. Only the financial aid office at your school will instruct you where and when you would use your PIN for signing an MPN.
Your PIN must be treated like a PIN you use for your bank card. Since your college financial aid information can be changed with using you PIN, you must keep it safe and if possible, memorize it or choose a number that is easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. The only time you would want to give your PIN out is on a secure government financial aid site, when you are signing your FAFSA, or if you have employed a professional FAFSA preparer to complete your financial aid forms.