So, you’re finally ready to get a handle on your student loans. But, where do you start? Finding out who owns your loans, how much you actually owe, and what type of loans you have can get complicated. Thankfully, sites like the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) make finding this information easy. We’ll break down how to use the NSLDS and why you should use it below.
What is the National Student Loan Data System?
The NSLDS is the U.S. Department of Education’s central data hub for your student lending information. This database pulls data from colleges, U.S. Department of Education programs, and federal loan programs. It gives you, the borrower, a complete look at all of the federal student loans you have borrowed and grants that you have received. Questions about outstanding balances or interest rates? You’ll find your answers on the NSLDS.
How Do I Access the NSLDS?
Visit nslds.ed.gov to start using the National Student Loan Data System. Click on the Financial Aid Review link to access your personal loan information. Then, you need to accept the terms before proceeding to the login screen. Accessing your personal data requires you to login with your FSA ID. Your FSA ID is the same login information that you use when you file the FAFSA. Can’t remember your FSA ID? That’s okay. The NSLDS site has a forgot my username and forgot my password option.
Once you get logged in, you’ll see a chart with information about your loans and grants. Click on each loan or grant to learn more specifics. If you want to keep a copy for your records, you can download your student loan data directly from the NSLDS. Just click on the blue MyStudentData Download button.
What Can I Do with the NSLDS?
Simply put, with the NSLDS, you can access all of the information you need regarding your federal student aid. This includes disbursement dates, outstanding balances, loan status, and more. You can use all of this information to make smarter decisions when it comes to paying down or refinancing your student loans.
Here are four crucial things you can find while browsing through the National Student Loan Data System:
Total Loan Balance
How much do you actually owe in federal student loans? Find out using the NSLDS. Knowing the whole amount can help you figure out a plan of attack when it comes to paying off your loan balances. Remember, the faster you pay down your balance, the less money you’ll owe in the end.
The loan servicer takes over your loans from the United States government. You make your monthly student loan payments directly to the servicer. Given that fact, it’s pretty important that you know who services your loan. On the Financial Aid Review page, you can click on each of your federal loans to see the servicer’s name and contact information. Make note that your loans might not all have the same servicer.
Have a question about your account? Need help making payments online? Contact your loan servicer(s) directly.
Loan Type and Status
Every loan has a type and a status. The type tells you whether the loan is subsidized or unsubsidized, as well as what type of federal student loans you have. The status tells you what’s happening with the loan. The most common statuses are IA and RP.
Loans are in IA status as soon as they’re disbursed and while you’re still in school. Next, they move to IG status during your six-month-long grace period following graduation. Then, your loans enter into RP or in repayment status and stay there until they’re paid in full (PF). Other popular status types include RF (refinanced), DA (deferred), and DI (disability).
A loan’s type and status tell you a few things like whether you need to start making payments or whether or not interest has started to accumulate. This information can help you make decisions about repaying your loans. Check out these examples to see how:
|How NSLDS Can Help You Make Decisions|
Mary has taken out two federal loans to pay for her freshman year of college. Loan 1 is a subsidized loan with a status of IA while Loan 2 is an unsubsidized loan with a status of IA.
Eddie, a recent graduate, logs on and sees that one of his loans is unsubsidized and in IG status. The status indicates that he’s in his grace period and doesn’t have to start making payments yet. The status and type together tell him that his loan is accruing interest. He’s going to start paying down that interest now to save himself some money in the long run.
Example 2: Eddie, a recent graduate, logs on and sees that one of his loans is unsubsidized and in IG status. The status indicates that he’s in his grace period and doesn’t have to start making payments yet. The status and type together tell him that his loan is accruing interest. He’s going to start paying down that interest now to save himself some money in the long run.
If you’re serious about repaying your student loan debt, you need to take interest rates seriously. On the Financial Aid Review page, you can see the interest rate associated with each federal loan. The loan with the highest interest rate accrues money the fastest. Determine which of your loans has the highest interest rate and focus any extra payments on that loan. This strategy will save you a lot of money.
You can also use each loan’s interest rate information to calculate your loan portfolio’s weighted average interest rate. A weighted average interest rate is just the overall interest rate for your entire loan portfolio. Calculating this number can help you evaluate refinancing or consolidation options.
What Else Can I Find on the NSLDS Website?
On the NSLDS homepage, you can do more than just review your federal student loan and grant portfolio. You can also find helpful information on other parts of the site:
- Enrollment: Here, you can view your enrollment status, including college name, degree program, and start date. This is handy if you need to put a college start date on a scholarship or job application.
- Subsidized Usage: Subsidized loans from the government come with the best perks. That’s why there’s a limit as to how much you can borrow. Use this page to see how long your remaining eligibility period is.
- Exit Counseling: If you borrow from the federal government or receive a TEACH grant, you MUST complete exit counseling. The NSLDS site will get you to the correct loan exit counseling websites.
- Glossary of Terms: Do federal loan terms confuse you? The NSLDS has a handy glossary that defines all of the major terms used on your Financial Aid Review. Keep it open as you view your lending portfolio.
- FAQs: Find answers to your most pressing questions on the FAQs page. You’ll find more than 40 common questions and their answers. Use this info to help you get the most out of the National Student Loan Data System website.
Where Can I Find Information about My Private Loans?
The NSLDS only tracks federal student aid. Contact your private lender(s) directly for information about your private student loans. Interest rates, disbursement dates, monthly payment amounts, and term-length are all important numbers for you to ask about. Your college’s financial aid department will have this information too.
Compare the Best Student Loan Refinance Rates
Here are our top student loan refinance picks for 2019
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Student Debt Relief Loan Refinancing Advertiser Disclosure
College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
1 – The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
2 – $5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 04/26/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 – This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.