Posted Date: June 23, 2011

Author:  William Leith, Service Director, Program Management, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Social Security Number (SSN) Assignment Change and Impact On Application Processing

On June 25, 2011 the Social Security Administration (SSA) will implement new guidelines for assigning Social Security Numbers (SSNs). SSA will begin assigning SSNs in previously unused numeric ranges, including the range beginning with "8".

This change at SSA will impact Federal Student Aid's process for assigning pseudo SSNs beginning with “888” to students from the Pacific Islands. Because these students do not have SSNs when they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), they are assigned a pseudo SSN for federal student aid purposes in the “888” numeric range by FAFSA on the Web, FAA Access to CPS Online, and possibly by other third-party or mainframe systems. With the SSA change, there is a very minor risk that a Pacific Islander student who was assigned a pseudo "888" SSN by Federal Student Aid will have the same SSN as a student who is provided a valid “888” SSN by SSA under the new guidelines.

The process for Pacific Islander students applying for federal student aid for the first time will not change until October 2011, when we will update our systems to use a different numeric range for Pacific Islander applicants. Students currently assigned pseudo SSNs in the "888" range will continue to access Federal Student Aid systems using their pseudo "888" SSNs until the October 2011 system updates. More information about these system updates will be forthcoming.

We are currently researching an interim solution for non-Pacific Islander students who may be assigned valid SSNs beginning with “8” by SSA on or after June 25, who need to file 2011-2012 FAFSAs prior to our October system updates. We will provide details about our interim solution in an upcoming communication in the near future.

Please continue to monitor the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site for additional communications about the SSA change, its impact to our systems, and our October system updates.

Contact Information

If you have questions, contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support at 800/330-5947 (TDD/TTY 800/511-5806) or by e-mail at CPSSAIG@ed.gov.

If your students have questions, ask them to contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800/4-FEDAID (800/433-3243) or by e-mail at FederalStudentAidCustomerService@ed.gov. TDD/TTY service is also available at 800/730-8913.

   

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