Managing student expenses can be difficult; that’s particularly true if you have multiple forms of federal student aid, including loans and grants and various repayment plans. Some of the many things that have to be managed and kept up with in terms of student loan debt include interest rates, outstanding principal, grace periods and repayment options.
In an effort to make life a bit easier on student borrowers, the Department of Education developed the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), which is essentially a central database of student loan information, although it doesn’t include private student loans.
The NSLDS is a federal student aid information center that aggregates information provided by schools, Title IV loan guarantors, and U.S. Department of Education programs, including the Direct Loan Program and FFELP.
Information on the NSLDS is updated daily in addition to providing an integrated view, making it easier for student borrowers to track key federal aid metrics through their entire post-secondary cycle from approval and disbursement to graduation and repayment.
On this page:
- What You Need to Access the NSLDS
- How to Access the NSLDS
- Where Does the Information in the NSLDS Come From?
- What If You See Incorrect Data?
- Privacy and What Else To Know About the NSLDS
What You Need to Access the NSLDS
To access your federal student loans and higher education grants through the NSLDS, you must have a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. If you do not have an FSA ID, you can create one on the Federal Student Aid website as long as you have your Social Security number and a valid email address. After you’ve set up your FSA account, you can log into the NSLDS at any time to access the following information:
- Financial Aid Review: The Financial Aid Review option serves as your entry into the NSLDS and provides you with information about your existing loans, including loan servicer and contact information; existing alerts; and grant information.
- Enrollment: All schools that participate in Title IV aid programs report enrollment information for any student who has received Title IV aid, even if the aid was used for another school. This option provides information about your enrollment status, effective date, anticipated completion date, and certification date, if applicable.
- Subsidized Usage: Students that are or were first-time borrowers on or after July 1, 2013, have a limited period of time in which they could receive Direct Subsidized Loans. The NSLDS will provide information about your aid eligibility.
- Exit Counseling: Students who receive federal aid must complete exit counseling before they graduate, leave school, or drop to an enrollment status below half-time. The NSDLS Exit Counseling tool allows you to complete any exit counseling obligations online.
- Authorization: Occasionally, loan servicers will need to view your information on the NSLDS Professional Access site. You can use the authorization function to grant account access to organizations, agencies, or institutions that need your relevant aid information.
- Glossary of Terms: This section provides a list of important terms and their definitions.
- FAQs: This section provides a list of frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers.
- Contact: The Contact section provides information about how and when borrowers can contact the Federal Student Aid office. Options include email, chat, and phone.
How to Access the NSLDS
Accessing the NSLDS is easy. Simply visit the NSLDS Student Access page, select Financial Review. Upon selecting Financial Review, a privacy and usage statement will appear, and you will be prompted to select “Accept” or “Decline.”
After acknowledging and accepting the privacy and usage statement, you will be prompted to enter your FSA username (or verified email address) and password. If you do not have an FSA ID username, simply click on “Create an FSA ID” located above the username and password fields.
Once the proper credentials are provided, you will be able to access any of the information or activities listed above. Note that Glossary of Terms, FAQs, and Contact options are available at all times, whether the user is logged in or logged out.
Where Does the Information in the NSLDS Come From?
The information, including student loan debt, is collected by and listed on the NSLDS is provided by numerous sources, including federal loan servicers, colleges and universities, and the U.S. Department of Education.
Typically, the institution or organization that authorized the aid is responsible for reporting it to the NSLDS. For example, if a federal loan is serviced by AES, then AES is responsible for reporting accurate and up to date information to the NSDLS.
What If You See Incorrect Data?
Though it’s expected that the information available on the NSLDS is accurate, mistakes may occur, making it important to verify the information included in your student borrower profile. If you do find information you believe to be incorrect on the NSLDS website, you should act immediately, as false information can affect everything from your credit score to your ability to access additional aid if necessary.
Once you’ve identified an error on your account, your first step should be to contact the primary data provider, the name of which is provided on your NSLDS. For example, errors concerning Federal Direct Loans should be brought to the attention of the federal loan servicer (e.g., AES, Navient, EdFinancial, etc.).
If attempts to rectify the error by working with the primary data provider fail, you can escalate the request by contacting the NSDLS directly. Requests to correct information must be sent to the following address:
Director, National Student Loan Data System, FSA
U.S. Department of Education, UCP
830 First Street, NE, 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20202-5454
Privacy and What Else To Know About the NSLDS
Information included on the NSLDS is protected by federal privacy laws, and only those who have access to NSLDS can access the information. This includes student users as well as professional users who have been authorized to access the information contained in a specific user account.
If you currently are utilizing a federal aid program, including loans and grants, the National Student Loan Data System is an invaluable resource you can use from the beginning of your post-secondary career to the final loan payment.
This database is also incredibly useful if you’re unsure of your total federal debt, or if you need to obtain information about loan servicers. it can be a helpful way to keep up with student loan payments and by always making your monthly payment on time, you’ll build a strong credit history.
Also, by logging into the NSLDS, you can utilize important information about your student debt to make educated decisions regarding your future, including those that will govern your academic career and your long-term financial health.