With our lives so firmly implanted within cyberspace, internet security is one of the most important aspect of our lives. The Department of Education’s new security rules has been a blessing and a curse. Designed to prevent malicious hackers from stealing financial aid applicant’s personal, sensitive, and financial information. These new measures of security have started to draw complaints from school counselors aiding borrowers.
The school counselors have been saying the new ID and password requirements for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student AID) are so strict that they have been causing significant delays and frustration for potential borrowers trying to rush through the application process to make early deadlines.
While it may be, “fine for security” stated by Ann Hendrick, director of a nonprofit college advising organization from Jackson, Mississippi, but the truth is simple mistakes can cause significant delays or put strain on students for missing deadlines because of it. If you follow the instructions set in place you should be able to breeze through account creation but small mistakes such as writing your name down as Ben instead of Benjamin could cause quite a time-consuming headache. Just resetting a forgotten password or even ID is “a lengthy, complicated process,” stated by Hendrick. One of the reset options actually requires a 30 minute waiting time for the reset to take place.
Some states and colleges award financial aid on a first come, first serve basis meaning that finishing an FAFSA account and submitting an application becomes paramount in importance. This could cost students thousands of dollars in help they need to get through schooling.
Department of Education spokeswoman, Dorie Nolt, said that they have received few complaints and that most applicants have been moving swiftly through the process. Though it should be noted that most applicants will be applying and creating accounts in January because that is the start of the financial aid season and the new improved security measures went into effect in May 2015. Which means most people are running into the problem for the first time now, however, there is a tutorial video to help applicants.
Al Pascual, an online security expert, thought that is a good step forward for the Department of Education to improve security but they’ve made it a bit too hard for consumers to reliably use. Pascual suggests the use of password manager programs and services like LastPass, or at the very least write them down in a notebook and store them away in a safe place that you will be able to find it when you need it. Pascual also notes that young people are four times more likely to have their identity stolen or compromised by someone they know, so if you do choose to write this information down, store their paperwork at a parent’s home.
Make sure to always check back with us at Ameritech Financial for more up to date information on student loans.
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