Dec 29, 2004
Is your PIN broken? How do you fix it?
Posted in: Afford
So, as of December 26th, the Federal government added some new complexities to the PIN. Now the PIN has challenge questions and a notification not to share your PIN with anyone. If you created your PIN very recently, this is a no-brainer since you took care of this when you created your PIN; but if you are a returning applicant or created your PIN longer than several weeks ago, you need to take some action before you can use your PIN.
From the Fed's web page notification of the change:
Effect on Current PIN Users
Current PIN users must agree to the PIN Terms and Conditions Activation Agreement and select and answer a challenge question before they will be able to use their PINs on or after December 26, 2004. Users will have two options for "activating" their PINs.
1. On or after December 26, 2004, current PIN users can go to the PIN Web site at www.pin.ed.gov and select "Activate My PIN" from the home page. After selecting this option, users will be required to agree with the PIN terms and conditions and select and answer a challenge question.
2. Users who do not go to the PIN Web site to activate their PIN will be prompted to activate it before they can continue using a secure Web site. For example, when students using FAFSA on the Web enter their SSN, Last Name, DOB and PIN, they will receive a "PIN Not Activated" page. There will be a link on this page to the PIN site where they will be required to agree with the PIN Terms and Conditions Activation Agreement and select and answer a challenge question. Once users have completed these two tasks, their identifiers will be authenticated, their PIN will be activated, and they will be able to continue doing business on the site.
Effect on New PIN Users
New users who apply for a PIN through the PIN Web site will be prompted to indicate their agreement with the terms and conditions and provide their challenge question and response before they submit their PIN application. As an additional security measure, if these new users retrieve their PIN through e-mail, they will be required to answer their challenge question before their PIN will be displayed.
Students whose PINs are automatically generated and sent due to a successful Social Security Administration Match on their processed FAFSA application, and FAAs whose PINs are generated as part of their enrollment in FAA Access to CPS Online, are required to activate their PIN in the same manner as current users (see "Effect on Current PIN Users" section above). In these cases, if the PIN for new users is e-mailed, users must indicate their agreement to the terms and conditions and provide their challenge question and response before they can view their PIN.
Explanation for Your Students
We heard from many of you attending our recent Electronic Access Conferences that you would like FSA to provide a brief explanation of these changes for you to post on your school's Web site for students to see. You may use the following text for this purpose:
"To enhance the security of your U.S. Department of Education PIN and your personal information on the Web, there are two significant changes to the PIN process that you should be aware of.
If you already have a PIN, the first time you attempt to use it on or after December 26, 2004, you will be prompted to agree to a PIN Terms and Conditions Activation Agreement, which asks you not to share your PIN with anyone and to keep it in a safe place, and to select and answer a challenge question. Only you will know the answer to your challenge question, and it may be used to validate your identity in the future.
If you apply for a PIN on or after December 26, 2004, you will be required to agree to the terms and conditions and provide a challenge question and response before your PIN will be issued.
These changes have been made to ensure the security of the PIN process and to remind you of the importance of safeguarding your PIN. Your PIN serves as your electronic signature and provides access to your personal records, and it is critical that it remain as secure as possible."