Maintained for Historical Purposes

This resource is being maintained for historical purposes only and is not currently applicable.

FAFSA on the Web (

PublicationDate: 2/20/98
Summary: FAFSA on the Web (
Author: CPS - Central Processing System (CPS)

Posted February 20, 1998

TO: The Financial Aid Community
FROM: U.S. Department of Education
RE: FAFSA on the Web (

Encryption levels:

The U.S. Department of Education is pleased to announce that FAFSA on the Web
applicants will soon be able to choose the level of encryption they want to use when
transmitting their application information over the Internet. On January 21, the FAFSA
on the Web development team began working on enhancements to the site to allow
access with 40-bit, 56-bit, in addition to the current 128-bit encryption.

The browsers that are currently certified for use with FAFSA on the Web are:

Netscape Navigator 3.0 - 3.04 (Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, or

Netscape Navigator 4.0 - 4.03 (Windows 3.1, Windows 95, or Windows NT)

Internet Explorer 4.0 (Windows 95, or Windows NT)

This option and certification of Netscape Navigator 4.04 are scheduled to be available on
March 8, 1998.

"We believe this step will greatly improve customer access to FAFSA on the Web while
still retaining necessary security safeguards for student and parent information," said
Assistant Secretary David A. Longanecker. "We are committed to expanding the number
of students who apply for financial aid electronically. Electronic applications are more
convenient for students, contain fewer errors, and are quicker and cheaper for the

While we continue to recommend to applicants that they use the highest level of
encryption available in order to assure maximum privacy protection, this enhancement
will provide applicants with greater flexibility.

Accessing our site:

It was reported to the Department that some users experienced difficulty accessing the
FAFSA on the Web site last week. FAFSA on the Web site has not experienced any
down time and is functioning within normal parameters.

The Department believes that the problems experienced by some users were connection
issues inherent to the Internet. Since the Internet is composed of many interdependent
parties, including end users, Network Access Points, Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
and web sites (like FAFSA on the Web), an interruption or disconnection at any of these
points can lead to difficulties reaching any site, even if the site is completely functional.
Increased traffic on the Internet, an ISP, or even a local area network (your LAN) can
lead to slow downloads or difficulties connecting to our site.

If you experience any difficulties in accessing our site, please contact FAFSA on the
Web customer service at 800-801-0576. Our technical support staff will help you to
resolve any issues.

Last Modified: 08/16/1999