What is the National Student Loan Data Base System and What Does It Mean to a College Student?

If you’ve utilized federal loans or grants to pay for your college education, information about the money you have borrowed or used is located in the National Student Loan Data Base System (NSLDS). The NSLDS provides a clearinghouse for students who have borrowed federal money to be able to securely check information regarding their loans. Read on to learn more about the data system and how you can use it effectively.

More About the NSLDS and How You Can Access It

In 1966, the Freedom of Information Act was passed. It stated that information about federal grants and loans had to be made available to student borrowers. The NSLDS was created to comply with that Act. Today it is a secure, online space where you can always get access to information about any of your federal loans or grants. You will sometimes see this information referred to as “Title IV” information. That refers to Title IV of the Higher Education Act, which authorized the major student aid programs that make money available to students who need financial help with their higher education.

Because financial information is private, your loan information is very secure. You will need to set up a PIN number, much like you would for any online banking, and also provide some other private information, such as your social security number, in order to access your information.

What Kinds of Information Can You Access Via the NSLDS?

If you have taken out any federal loan or been given a federal grant, information about that loan or grant will be listed in full at the NSLDS. This includes federal Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, or Direct Loans. It also includes federal Pell Grants. When you access the database, you can find out your loan status (for example, whether it’s active or inactive), what the balance of your loan is, and how your loan has been disbursed. You can also access information about any grants you have been awarded.

All of this information gets reported to the database from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as various lenders and quite probably your university. Most of the time, the information you find in the database is current, but sometimes there can be a lag time in reporting. You can find out more about how the information is obtained and reported, and more about how you can access and use it, when you visit the site’s frequently asked questions page.

Other Ways the NSLDS Can Help You

In addition to your specific loan information, you can also find a glossary of terms to help you better understand your financial aid information. The site also provides resources to help you review your information as well as exit counseling services.

College is an investment in your future, and often it’s an expensive one. While it’s important to find an affordable college, many students will utilize loans or grants during their undergraduate or graduate years. Sometimes this will be your first foray into the world of financial loans, and there can be much to learn about how that world works. It’s good to know that the National Student Loan Data Base System provides you with a secure place to access the information you need regarding your federal financial aid.