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

New call-to-action

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

Refinance and Save Today With These Lenders

#1 - Nitro Recommended View More Details

Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products

  • Fixed rates: 2.49% - 6.31% APR
  • Variable rates: 1.88% - 6.15% APR
  • Minimum credit: 650
View More Details
Visit Splash View Loan Disclosure

Splash Financial is a leader in student loan refinancing with new rates as low as 2.49% fixed APR which can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loans. No application or origination fees and no prepayment penalties. Splash Financial is in all 50 states and is intensely focused on customer service. Splash Financial is also one of the few companies that offers a great medical resident and fellow refinance product. You can check your rate with Splash in just minutes.

  • Low interest rates – especially for graduate students
  • No application or origination fees. No prepayment penalties.
  • Co-signer release program - you can apply for a cosigner release form your loan after 12 months of on-time payments
  • Specialty product for doctors in training with low monthly payment

Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.

#2 View More Details

For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need

  • Fixed rates: 2.83% - 6.74% APR
  • Variable rates: 1.99% - 6.84% APR
  • Minimum credit: 660
View More Details
Visit CommonBond View Loan Disclosure

CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three MBA graduates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who wanted to help their peers escape from high-interest student loan debt. Its original focus was on grad students, but it has since expanded to cover undergrads as well.

Of all the companies we reviewed, CommonBond has some of the best customer service. The company prides itself on being easy to reach by email, phone, or live chat. It offers networking events, expert panels, insider newsletters, and even has a program help borrowers who lose their jobs to find new ones. CommonBond also makes you feel good about choosing to refinance with them by donating money to an education nonprofit for each loan they write.

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance review

  • Unemployment protections - If you lose your job or decide to go back to school, you can delay your payments for up to 24 months.
  • Social promise - For every loan they fund, they also contribute to the education of a child in need.
  • Hybrid loan option - Offerings include a 10-year hybrid loan with fixed interest for the first five years, and variable interest for the final five.
  • Referral bonus - For every friend you refer who refinances their loans with CommonBond, you’ll earn a $200 cash bonus.
  • Qualification - Borrowers must have graduated at least 2 years prior if they want to apply without a co-signer. And borrowers in 6 states – Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota, and Vermont – cannot currently refinance through CommonBond.

Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.

#3 View More Details

SoFi is the leading student loan refinancing provider. 

  • Fixed rates: 2.49% - 6.94% APR
  • Variable rates: 2.25% - 6.59% APR
  • Minimum credit: 650
View More Details
Visit SoFi View Loan Disclosure

$30 billion+ in refinanced student loans. SoFi has some of the lowest interest rates and, unlike the other lenders we reviewed, there's no maximum on the amount you can finance. Some state restrictions may apply.

  • Serious savings: Save thousands of dollars thanks to flexible terms and low fixed or variable rates.
  • No hidden fees, no catch: No application or origination fees. No pre-payment penalties.
  • Fast, easy, and all online: Simple online application and access to live customer support 7 days a week.
  • Access to member benefits: SoFi members get career coaching, financial advice, and more—all at no cost.
  • 98% of surveyed members would recommend SoFi to a friend

Save thousands on your student loans and pay off your loans sooner. Find your rate.

#4 View More Details

Ability to apply for cosigner release after 24 consecutive payments. 

View More Details
Visit NelNetBank View Loan Disclosure

Give Your Life’s Journey a Jump-Start.

If you’re ready to put student loans in your rearview mirror, Nelnet Bank student loan refinancing offers low rates and flexible terms to help you start getting ahead.

  • VARIABLE RATES: 1.95% - 5.62% APR See Disclaimer
  • FIXED RATES: 2.48% - 6.62% APR See Disclaimer
  • AUTO DEBIT SAVINGS: We’ll knock .25% off of your interest rate when you enroll in auto debit. See Disclaimer
  • NO ORIGINATION FEES: No application, origination, or prepayment fees on Nelnet Bank loans.
  • HARDSHIP PROTECTION: Hardship forbearance helps protect against unexpected loss of income. See Disclaimer

See How Much You Can Save: Estimate your savings with a student loan refinance from Nelnet Bank.

#5 View More Details

Works with 300+ community lenders for higher approval chances

  • Fixed rates: 2.95% - 7.63% APR
  • Variable rates: 1.90% - 5.25% APR
  • Minimum credit: 660
View More Details
Visit LendKey View Loan Disclosure

Connecting student borrowers to a network of over 300 community lenders with low interest rates. By partnering with these lenders, LendKey is able to give consumers direct access to the best rates available from the most borrower friendly institutions. As the servicer of all loans obtained through its platform, you can rest easy knowing your personal information will be safe and that the best customer service team will be ready to answer your questions from application until your final payment.

LendKey Student Loan Refinance review

  • Lightning fast rate check - 2-minute rate check with no impact on your credit score
  • More lenders, more options - see the best offers from over 300+ community lenders for higher approval chances
  • Life of loan relationship - With LendKey, your personal information will never be sent or passed on to third parties. Their customer service team is with you from the moment you land on their website until you've completely repaid your loan.
  • Unmatched benefits- Community lenders put people over profits and offer unique benefits like cosigner release after 12 on-time payments, interest only repayment options to keep monthly payments low, the largest unemployment protection period in the market, and more.

Get a personalized quote from LendKey now.

#6 View More Details

Best for borrowers who want to customize their repayment schedule to pay off debt fast.

View More Details
Visit Earnest View Loan Disclosure

Using technology, data, and design to build affordable products, Earnest's lending products are built for a new generation seeking to reach life's milestones. The company understands every applicant's unique financial story to offer the lowest possible rates and radically flexible loan options for living life.

  • Commitment-free 2 minute rate check
  • Client Happiness can be reached via in app messaging, email, and phone 
  • No fees for origination, prepayment, or loan disbursement
  • Flexible terms let you pick your exact monthly payment or switch between fixed and variable rates
  • Skip a payment and make it up later
  • Online dashboard is designed to make it easy to apply for and manage your loan

Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.

#7 View More Details

16 different loan term options – more flexibility to pay down your loan faster

  • Fixed rates: 3.24% - 5.54% APR
  • Variable rates: 3.34% - 5.69% APR
  • Minimum credit: 680
View More Details
Visit CollegeAve View Loan Disclosure

College Ave Student Loans offers major help and minor stress. We’ll help guide you through the process to find the right loan term and interest rate for you and the family budget.

  • Fast rate check: Get your new rate in 60 seconds 
  • Instant credit decision
  • Super flexible terms: 16 loan terms available from 5 to 20 years
  • No fees to apply

Click here to see more College Ave offerings and to start saving today! 


I reduced my student loan payment by $152 per month, by refinancing thru Nitro:

Save Money Now