National Student Loan Data System: A User's Guide

Jon O'Donnell Updated on May 13, 2019

 

If you’ve recently begun to repay your student loans, the details of your debt may be frustratingly fuzzy. After all, it’s likely been months or years since you closely considered the terms of your loans, and most students aren’t eager to examine what they owe until after graduation.

Thankfully, there’s a comprehensive database related to all your federal student loans: the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). It’s a repository of relevant information about what you’ve borrowed through government programs and your first step in getting better acquainted with your debt.

In this article, we’ll describe exactly what the NSLDS offers regarding valuable information about your loans and give detailed instructions to help you access all of it. Information is power in all matters financial, so a clear understanding of your student debt can be indispensable.

What is the National Student Loan Data System?

In basic terms, the NSLDS is a centralized database that collects information related to all federal student loan borrowing and repayment activity. If you’ve received a student loan backed by the government, your information is conveniently collected there for your review. Their records include both active loans and those you’ve previously paid off or consolidated.

To compile this comprehensive view of your borrowing, the NSLDS receives information from the Department of Education, federal loan servicers, loan guarantee agencies, and schools. They claim to import new loan information within 30 days of your receiving funds, so your records should be relatively complete and up to date.

To see the NSLDS records for your student debt, head over to the NSLDS Student Access website.

What information can I get from the National Student Loan Data System?

By accessing the NSLDS website, borrowers can gather the following information about each of their federal loans past and present:

  • The total loan amount
  • The date your loan was approved
  • The start date for repayment of your loan
  • The outstanding principal of your loan
  • The outstanding interest on your loan
  • The disbursement history of your loan
  • The type of federal loan (such as direct or consolidated and subsidized or unsubsidized)
  • The status of your loan (such as paid, in repayment, or default)
  • The type of interest rate on your loan (fixed or variable)
  • The loan servicer assigned to your loan and their contact information

Unfortunately, some important items related to your federal student debt won’t be visible through the NSLDS portal. These include:

  • Your monthly payment amount
  • The repayment plan you’re utilizing (such as standard, extended, or income-driven repayment options)
  • Loans your parents or guardians took out on your behalf
  • Any information related to nonfederal student loans made by private lenders
    • Because this is a federal system, none of your private borrowing activity will be available through this portal.

For each item of information that isn’t available via the NSLDS, you’ll need to contact your federal loan servicer or private lender for assistance.

How do I log into the National Student Loan Data System website?

To log in and access information regarding your loans, click the “Financial Aid Review” button on the NSLDS home page. Once you do, you’ll be prompted to enter your login credentials.

 

Many first-time NSLDS users may be surprised to learn they already possess the login information they need to access the website. That’s because you use your FSA ID, which you’ve likely already created if you’ve utilized many other Department of Education websites. If you’ve applied for financial aid using FAFSA, for instance, you’ve already created the FSA ID username and password you’ll need to log in.

Recovering your username and password

Whether you remember your FSA ID username and password is another story, however. If it’s been too long for you to remember your credentials offhand, there are relatively painless username and password retrieval processes in place. You can choose to have a security code texted or emailed to you or answer “challenge questions” set up when you created your account.

 

Creating a new FSA ID

If you haven’t created an FSA ID before, establishing a new account isn’t difficult either. Use this link to make a new FSA ID account. Before you begin this process, however, make sure you have the following information handy – you’ll need it along the way:

  • An email address you want to connect to your account
  • A phone number you want to associate with your account
  • Your Social Security number
  • Several username and password combinations you’re likely to remember

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How do I find information related to each of my student loans?

Once you’re logged in, you’ll see all of your active and repaid loans listed on the summary screen. Below them, you’ll see any federal grants you’ve received as well.

This view should give you a general summary of your outstanding debt and the various loans you hold. But for more specific details of each particular loan, click the number to the left of each.

 

Once you do, you’ll see “Detail Loan Information” for the specific loan you’ve selected. Using this view, you can see more comprehensive information related to the principal and interest balances for your debt, the disbursement history, and more.

Perhaps more importantly,you’ll see specific information related to your servicer for the loan in question, with whom you can discuss repayment details and arrangements. We suggest saving this information for your records because the servicer will be responsible for all matters related to what you actually pay each month.

 

A Simpler Student Loan

We hope this guide has helped you access the information you need to develop a repayment strategy for your federal student loans. But even so, we know managing multiple federal loans with varied terms can seem daunting – especially when you’re working with several servicers at once. If that’s the case, you should know there’s an alternative available: refinancing your debt with a single trusted lender. Most borrowers who do achieve both simplicity and savings – $19,310 over the life of their loans on average.

Of course, you’ll need expert advice to navigate the refinancing process and select the lender with the best terms in the long run. At Nitro, we help thousands of borrowers each year do exactly that with reviews and resources that let our readers refinance with confidence. Let us do the same for you and show you how much you could be saving.

Published in: Student Loan Debt

About the Author
Jon O'Donnell

Jon is a writer and marketer for Nitro who is passionate about bringing transparency to the student loan process along with providing families with the information needed to make smart financial decisions. He also just recently refinanced his student loans allowing him to pay them off 5 years faster all while saving an additional $152/month. As he continues to pay them off himself, he strives to help others do the same. Jon also has a long history of connecting people with educational opportunities to help them improve their careers and their overall personal finances. In his free time you can find him reading travel blogs and researching destinations around the world in search of his next adventure. Read more by Jon O'Donnell

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