Earning a degree can be a component of setting yourself up for career success throughout a lifetime, but it often comes with a costly burden. Millions of college students take on student debt each year to help finance their way through a degree program, and only a few short months after graduation, payments are due back to the lender. While the process of borrowing and repayment may seem fairly simple, many students struggle to understand what loans they have and with which loan servicers.
The National Student Loan Data System, or NSLDS, was established in recent years by the federal government and the Department of Education to help borrowers manage their student loan debt. As an online tool that provides details about various federal student loans, borrowers can gain a clearer picture of their total federal student loan debt obligations. Here’s how it works.
Navigating the NSLDS
Student loan borrowers who want to see what federal student loans they have outstanding can navigate the NSLDS quickly with ease. At the NSLDS website, borrowers can input their username or verified e-mail address along with their password to sign in. If a borrower has not created an FSA ID previously, one can be established quickly on the same log-in page. Within the NSLDS, borrowers can see their current Title IV loans or grants details, including total amounts borrowed, outstanding balances, loan repayment status, and loan disbursements. Private student loans are not included in the NSLDS.
One of the most important aspects of the NSLDS site is the information gathered about a borrower’s federal student loan servicers. There are several student loan lenders who manage the collection and application of payments for federal student loans, including:
- FedLoan Services
- OSLA Servicing
- Granite State
Having up-to-date information about student loan balances along with details as to which company is servicing the loan helps borrowers manage their federal loan debt in a simple, streamlined way.
How the NSLDS Helps Borrowers
There are additional benefits that borrowers receive when utilizing the NSLDS to track and monitor their federal student loans. Because federal student loans are disbursed at different times through a student’s college career, it is often a challenge to understand exactly how much is owed and to whom. The Department of Education does not directly receive payments for federal student loan balances (the student loan servicer does), but there may be multiple servicers for a single borrower. Understanding which servicer is handling which loans is beneficial in maintaining on-time repayment and staying out of default.
In addition, borrowers can clearly see which federal student loans are in or near default or when the grace period ends and repayment is scheduled to begin. Having quick access to contact information for loan servicers is helpful when a borrower is trying to avoid default or get back on track after missed payments. Having these details in a single location is very beneficial to managing student debt.
The NSLDS is a smart place for soon-to-be or new graduates to start their federal student loan management. The system provides a full picture of amounts, servicers, and loan statuses that make keeping track of federal student loans much easier for borrowers.