The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) central database for student financial aid. It receives data from schools, agencies that guarantee loans, the Federal Direct Loan program, the Pell Grant program, and other ED programs. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and Pell grants that are tracked through their entire cycle, from aid approval through closure.
Schools can access information via the NSLDS website. To access NSLDS data, schools must be enrolled in the Department of Education's (ED) Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG). For additional information or to enroll, visit the SAIG Enrollment Site. Questions may be directed to 800.999.8219.
Reporting Student’s Enrollment
Reviewing/Verifying a Student’s Financial Aid History
As part of the financial aid packaging process, a school must verify that a student is not in default of a student loan or owes a refund or repayment on a federal grant. The school must also determine that the student has not exceeded their annual and aggregate federal Stafford loan limits. All this information can be found through NSLDS in the student’s financial aid history.
A student may also not be eligible for a federal loan if he/she is subject to a judgment lien for failure to pay or make satisfactory arrangements to pay a federal tax debt.
When a student completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Central Processing System (CPS) matches the student data to determine if the student is in default of a student loan or owes a refund or repayment on a federal grant. If the match is complete, the NSLDS information will appear on the Student Aid Report (SAR) or the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). If there are any conflicts with the information, it must be resolved prior to disbursing federal student aid funds.
During the matching process, there could be reasons why a student’s information may not appear on the SAR or ISIR:
- Partial Match – If the student’s Social Security Number (SSN) is in the NSLDS database, but the first name and date of birth don’t match, then no financial aid history will be reported.
- Student not in Database – If there is no information in the database for a specific student, no history will appear on the SAR or ISIR.
- No Relevant History – If the only information that appears in NSLDS is grant data, that history will not appear on the SAR or ISIR.
- Processing Problem – If a match cannot be made due to a possible error in completing the FAFSA, no financial aid history will appear on the SAR or ISIR.
Transfer Students – Checking the Financial Aid History
When a student transfers during the award year to a different institution, the new institution must verify that the student is not in default of a federal student loan or received an overpayment on a federal grant or loan. The new institution must also verify that the student has not reached the annual or aggregate maximum on any federal loan or grant.
In order to verify this information, the new school must review the student’s information on NSLDS as well as inform NSLDS that the student is enrolled or planning to enroll at that school. The school will then receive updates on the student’s financial aid history that may affect the student’s current eligibility through the Transfer Monitoring Process. If the student has not listed the new institution as one of the six school choices on the FAFSA, the student must add that school to the six school choices before the school will receive updates from NSLDS.
The school must wait seven days before making any disbursements after requesting the transfer monitoring from NSLDS unless updates have been provided during the seven days.
NSLDS Student Access Website
Students and parent borrowers can also track and manage their federal student loans and/or grants through the NSLDS Student Access website. To access their information on the website, they will need to provide their Social Security Number (SSN), the first two letters of their last name, their date of birth, and their Personal Identification Number (PIN).