December 31, 2018

National Student Loan Data System

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Student loans can be confusing. Especially when they are spread out between the Department of Education, your university, and the Direct Loan Program. Luckily, there is a tool out there to help collect all this information. It's called the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS), and we broke it down for you.

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Almost every college student will one day stop and think, "Wait, how much do I actually owe in student loans?" That moment came for me about six months after graduation, when my grace period was about to end. I remember sitting in front of my computer thinking, "How do I even find out? Where do I go?" Had I known about the NSLDS at the time, my life would have been a lot easier.

What exactly is the NSLDS? It's a massive database that compiles all of your federal student loan information in one place. This is especially helpful if you have loans managed by different servicers (for example, federal loans managed by Nelnet, Great Lakes, FedLoan, Navient, etc., and then Perkins loans administered by your university). Here you'll be able to see everything in one place.

We'll go into everything you need to know to navigate the NSLDS.

Where does the information come from?

The NSLDS collects information from a number of different organizations that administer, collect, and service student loans. This could include your university, federal loan servicers like MOHELA or EdFinancial, or the Debt Management and Collections System.

How do I log in?

You need your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. Since you already have student loans, you also probably already have an FSA ID. If you don't, however, it's really easy to get one.

Start off on the NSLDS Home Page and click on "Financial Aid Review":

This will take you to a screen where you can use your FSA ID to log into the NSLDS, or you can create an FSA ID:

You'll have to go through a few more steps from here to create your new ID, but you'll have it soon enough. If you already have an ID, this screen will take you directly to your student loan information.

What information does the NSLDS give me?

The NSLDS is a great place to see all of your student loan info on one screen. You'll see the information laid out in a table that looks something like this:

If you click on the blue number before each loan, it will give you further details, including the interest rate, servicer, and payment status details.

If you consolidated your loans with the government, it will also show that. In the upper right-hand corner, you will also see your enrollment status (enrolled in school or withdrawn).

What information isn't on the NSLDS?

You won't find any information on any private loans you've taken out. Nor will you see any loans that don't fall under the Title IV loans programs. That might include Loans for Disabled Students or Primary Care Loans.

You also won't see the most up-to-date information. Remember, the NSLDS gets its information from a number of different agencies and loan servicers. Those organizations don't report to the NSLDS the minute you make a payment, so check back every so often to see if your numbers have been updated.

How to contact the NSLDS

If you see a discrepancy in your current loan amounts or the amount of loan you've paid off, the NSLDS is not the organization to contact. For those issues, you should always check with the servicer of that loan. Should there be an issue that you feel needs to be worked out with the NSLDS, there are a few contact options:

Contact Options
  • Send them an email
  • Call them at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
  • Web chat them

Bottom Line

When it comes to paying back your student loans, don't look past the NSLDS. It's a really helpful tool that can help you put everything in order when you're making your student loan repayment plans.

More from CreditDonkey:


Pay Off Student Loans Fast


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