Student loan borrowers can access a complete picture of their debt situation using a helpful tool produced by the Department of Education. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is a “central database for student aid.”

The NSLDS collects student loan and grant information from universities, colleges, guaranty agencies, Direct Loan participants, and other Department of Education programs. The goal of the National Student Loan Data System is to have a centralized and integrated resource for current and former students to review their outstanding loan information.

Whether a borrower has subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, or a mixture of both, they can easily access all of their loan information using the NSLDS. The first step in any repayment plan of a student loan is gathering information. Many students rely on a combination of federal loans and grants, private loans, other federal programs, and their own funds to pay for school.

It can be daunting to keep track of all of these payments and obligations. The National Student Loan Data System makes it easy to figure out what and where student debt resides after graduation, and it also does a good job of updating balances and payments regularly.

How Do You Make an Account?

Creating an account only takes a couple of minutes for most borrowers. All you need is a valid email address, social security number, a password, and some challenge questions to secure the account. After the account is created, the NSLDS system generates an FSA identification number for easy access to the account.

Are There Any Benefits to an NSLDS Account?

As a borrower makes payments or consolidates their loans, the changes are reflected in the NSLDS data. For borrowers who are eager to pay off their loans, it can be addictive to watch the balance fall every month using the NSLDS database. Paying off student debt ranks high on the list of goals for many borrowers, and the National Student Loan Data System makes it easy to review the progress towards that final payment.

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The NSLDS has a trove of resources for students beyond the loan information database. The website offers many customization options including access authorization, TEACH grant exit counseling, and other helpful information pages.

One of the many challenges of paying off student loans is the endless jargon and acronyms used by the government, universities, colleges, and loan companies. The NSLDS has information on its site to help borrowers better understand the documentation in front of them. A glossary of common terms and a FAQ page are valuable resources to assist student loan borrowers with a better understanding of the system.

It’s never fun to live with debt, but it’s a reality for many Americans after graduation. The federal government has countless programs to aid students in their quest for higher education, but it quickly becomes overwhelming to keep track of all the various pieces that go into funding a degree or diploma. The National Student Loan Data System makes it easy for borrowers to assess their financial obligations related to their education.

One of the most common errors is missing the first payment after a grace period. A tardy payment is no way to start your repayment plan, so it’s recommended that borrowers set up an NSLDS account long before the first repayment happens.

One Final Note

Protect your information online. Don’t trust links to the NSLDS – enter the address manually. If you receive phishing email attempts related to your account, be sure to report the offenders to the relevant authorities. There are many instances of loan fraud, identity theft, and other criminal activity around student debt.