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(Application Processing) Subject: Use of Pseudo-SSNs for Pacific Islander FAFSA Submissions

Posted Date:November 20, 2013

Author: Lisa DiCarlo, Director, Student Experience Group, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Use of Pseudo-SSNs for Pacific Islander FAFSA Submissions

We would like to provide clarification and reinforce guidance on the use of “pseudo” Social Security Numbers (SSNs) by students from the Pacific Islands. This guidance is particularly important as it relates to the calculation of Federal Pell Grant (Pell Grant) lifetime eligibility limit information.

Currently, we advise first-time Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) filers from the Pacific Islands who do not have assigned SSNs, and FAAs submitting application data for these students, to enter “666” for the first three digits of the SSN and leave the remaining digits blank. The Central Processing System (CPS) then assigns the student a new nine-digit pseudo-SSN that begins with “666” when the application is processed. This continues to be our guidance for first-time FAFSA on the Web and paper FAFSA filers, as well as for application data submitted by FAAs using the FAA Access to CPS Online Web site.

For returning FAFSA filers from one of the Pacific Island groups, however, it is critical that the subsequent FAFSA is submitted under the same nine-digit pseudo-SSN assigned originally by the CPS when the earlier cycle’s FAFSA was processed. Returning filers and FAAs should not provide only the first three “666” digits of the pseudo-SSN on any subsequent FAFSA, as this will result in the creation of an entirely new pseudo-SSN.

For example, if a Pacific Islands student completed a FAFSA for the first time in 2013-2014 by submitting “666” for the SSN, the student should use the nine-digit pseudo-SSN listed on the resulting 2013-2014 Student Aid Report (SAR) as the SSN value on the 2014-2015 FAFSA (as well as on the FAFSA for any future cycles, going forward). Similarly, an FAA submitting 2014-2015 application data on behalf of a returning Pacific Islands student should use the nine-digit pseudo-SSN assigned to the student and returned on the processed Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) in 2013-2014.

The use of the same pseudo-SSN for each cycle enables the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System to more accurately calculate Pell Grant lifetime eligibility limit information. The COD System provides this Pell Grant information to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), which in turn provides that information to the CPS for inclusion on processed SARs and ISIRs. Pell Grant lifetime eligibility limit information is more difficult to map across cycles and calculate for Pacific Islands students if their FAFSAs are filed in a manner that results in a new pseudo-SSN each cycle.

We are currently exploring options for communicating this guidance to FAFSA applicants more effectively through enhancements to FAFSA on the Web and the paper FAFSA. In the interim, we strongly encourage FAAs to follow this guidance when submitting application data through the FAA Access to CPS Online Web site and to share this guidance with Pacific Island applicants who used a pseudo-SSN in prior cycles and plan to use the FAFSA on the Web site or submit a paper FAFSA.

Contact Information

If you have questions regarding this message, contact CPS/SAIG Technical Support at 800/330-5947 (TDD/TTY 800/511-5806) or by e-mail at

You can also post questions regarding this message to FSATECH. FSATECH is an electronic mailing list for technical questions about Federal Student Aid systems, software, and mainframe products. For more information on subscribing to FSATECH, go to

Last Modified: 11/19/2013