Maintained for Historical Purposes

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

PIN Protection and Access

PublicationDate: 6/14/96
Summary: PIN Protection and Access
Author: CSB - SFA Customer Support Branch

Announcement # 64, June 14, 1996

PIN Protections and Access

Until very recently, if a caller to our toll-free number (1-800-4 FED AID) identified
himself or herself as a particular student and gave the student's four identifiers
(name, SSN, address, and date of birth), the operators would, if requested, bring
up the caller's record and tell the caller what his or her Personal Identity Number
(PIN) was. This practice made the aid process more convenient in situations
where the student did not know his or her PIN number, but wanted to provide it to
an aid administrator at a school that was not listed on the student's FAFSA.

We have been reviewing this practice in the context of a larger discussion about
privacy safeguards and the release of PIN numbers, about the use of a PIN in the
current delivery system and whether it is actually needed, and about future
student aid delivery systems and student identifiers. We feel at this time that in
allowing the operators to release a PIN to a caller who knows the four identifiers,
we may have gone a step too far and we feel a "time out" from this practice is
needed while we reexamine it.

To help us in our discussion, we welcome your comments about access to and
protection of PINs, and about when we should (and just as importantly, when we
should not) release a student's PIN. Please e-mail your comments to us at:

Last Modified: 08/16/1999