Security and access are often opposed goals. A recent change to the FAFSA demonstrates this.
[O]ne change — switching from a four-digit PIN for online access to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to a more standard and secure log-in identification and password — may be having the opposite effect. (Link)
The changes are in line (somewhat) with bank log in security and the like. But a host of problems can result. Here area few:
- The process overall takes longer
- Security questions can’t be changed easily
- Email confirmations force you to stop the process just when you have momentum.
- Sometimes the email confirmations get lost
- “Students often use and subsequently lose access to their high school email addresses, and some high schools prohibit students from using personal email accounts on campus.”
- Accounts lock after multiple failed attempts to log in and the help-line wait can be hours.
As usual, these barriers are not equally felt:
The problem, however, is that for low-income students, “Every additional barrier you erect between them and financial aid makes it more likely they will drop out of the process,” Kantrowitz said.