Posted Date: January 24, 2014

Author:  Pamela Eliadis, Service Director, System Operations & Aid Delivery Management, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Federal Student Aid System Access Change - Upcoming Suspension and Deactivation of Inactive FSA User IDs and Password Reset Change

In our ongoing effort to ensure the security of the Federal Student Aid data systems and to comply with mandated government-wide security requirements, we continue to implement new technology security initiatives at Federal Student Aid. One of these initiatives will result in a change in early March 2014 to the length of time an FSA User ID may be left unused, before it is suspended or deactivated, as well as a change to the password reset function. An FSA User ID and password are necessary to log in to all systems behind Federal Student Aid's Access and Identity Management System (AIMS).

Beginning Friday, March 7, 2014, we will suspend any FSA User ID that has not been used within the past 90 calendar days and we will deactivate any FSA User ID that has not been used within the past 365 calendar days. The number of days of inactivity is unique to every user and it will be immediately reset to zero whenever the user logs in to any system behind AIMS.

In addition, the number of challenge questions that a user must answer in order to reset their password will increase from one to three, and users will be prompted to establish a total of five challenge questions during the password reset process.

The systems/Web sites that are currently behind AIMS and which will be affected by these changes are the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) Web site, eCampus-Based (eCB), eCDR Appeals, Experimental Sites, FAA Access to CPS Online, Financial Partners Datamart, National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Professional Access, and Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) Enrollment.

Note: This suspension or deactivation of inactive FSA User IDs is separate from the annual requirement for every organization enrolled for an SAIG account to review and validate its assigned TG numbers (SAIG mailboxes) and electronic services user accounts. That process, which also may result in the deactivation of unused FSA User IDs, is known as active confirmation and was most recently completed in December 2013. We will continue to notify the community each year of the deadline to complete active confirmation.

In the following sections, we describe the changes for FSA User IDs in further detail. We present this information in the following order:

    • Suspension of FSA User ID After 90 Days of Inactivity

    • Deactivation of FSA User ID After 365 Days of Inactivity

    • Additional Password Reset Measures

    • Contact Information

Suspension of FSA User ID After 90 Days of Inactivity

As of March 7, 2014, if an FSA User ID has not been used to log in to a system behind AIMS for 90 calendar days (i.e., since December 7, 2013), it will be suspended.

A suspended FSA User ID may be reinstated online by completing the following steps:

    1. Go to a system or Web site behind AIMS that you are authorized to access and proceed to the login screen.

    2. If you remember your password, choose the option "Change Password" and follow the instructions to change your password.

    3. If you do not remember your password, choose the option "Forgot Password?" and follow the instructions to reset your password.

      Note: As described previously, we are also implementing new password reset requirements for any system behind AIMS. A user will need to correctly answer three challenge questions in order to reset their password. For more information about this change, see the section below titled "Additional Password Reset Measures."

    4. After successfully changing or resetting your password, your FSA User ID will be immediately unsuspended and available for use.

To avoid the suspension of an FSA User ID due to a 90-day period of inactivity, a user must simply log in to any system behind AIMS before 90 days have passed.

Deactivation of FSA User ID After 365 Days of Inactivity

As of March 7, 2014, if an FSA User ID has not been used to log in to a system behind AIMS for 365 calendar days (i.e., since March 7, 2013), it will be deactivated and access to all systems will be removed.

A deactivated FSA User ID may not be reactivated online. An FSA User ID that has been inactive for 365 days may only be reactivated by calling the customer service center of the system behind AIMS that the user needs to access. The user will be required to answer additional security questions to validate their identity and it may take up to 48 hours to restore the user's system access.

To avoid the deactivation of an FSA User ID due to a 365-day period of inactivity, a user must log in to any system behind AIMS before 365 days have passed.

Additional Password Reset Measures

We are also implementing new password reset requirements for any system behind AIMS. Currently, if a user has forgotten their password and chooses "Forgot Password?" from the login screen, the user must provide the answer to one of the challenge questions that the user established when originally registering for their FSA User ID.

After March 7, 2014, a user will need to correctly answer three challenge questions to reset their password. If the user cannot answer three challenge questions correctly after three attempts, the user's FSA User ID will be locked and the user will need to wait 30 minutes before trying again. Alternatively, the user can call the customer service center of the system they are trying to access for assistance with resetting their password.

In addition, we are increasing the number of challenge questions a user must establish when registering for an FSA User ID to five. Currently, users select three challenge questions as part of the FSA User ID registration process. After March 7, 2014, when a user with an existing FSA User ID successfully resets their password, the user will be prompted to select five challenge questions if the user previously established only three questions.

Note: If you know your password and would like to confirm or change the challenge questions you previously established for your account, select "Edit Account" from the login screen of any system behind AIMS. Enter your FSA User ID and password to view or edit your challenge questions and answers.

Contact Information

We appreciate the assistance of all Federal Student Aid system users as we implement these system access changes.

If you have questions about how to reinstate an FSA User ID that has been suspended or deactivated, or how to reset your password, contact the customer service center for the specific system or Web site you need to access. Service center contact information is available on the IFAP Web site's Service Centers for Schools page or is provided on the specific Web site.

   

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