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NSLDS Is Now StudentAid.gov: What That Means for You
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The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) used to be the main database that stored information on your federal student loans. To view your balances, interest rates and loan terms, you signed into your NSLDS account with your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID and password.
In 2020, however, Federal Student Aid streamlined its various websites and consolidated them into one at StudentAid.gov. Instead of signing into the NSLDS to see your loans, you can now do so by signing into your account on the FSA website.
- What the National Student Loan Data System was
- Where to find your student loan information today
- How to create your StudentAid.gov account
- Why you should keep an eye out for high-interest student loans
- Why Federal Student Aid is a great first stop
The NSLDS used to be a student loan database that keeps track of individuals’ federal education debt. It stored all of your information so you could access it at any time.
Along with your loan amounts, the NSLDS showed each debt’s status. It also broke down the type of loan you had, such as subsidized or unsubsidized loans.
This loan information was sourced from colleges and universities across the country, which sent your loan data to the NSLDS, which was located at “nslds.ed.gov.”
You no longer need to sign into the National Student Loan Data System to view your federal student loans. Instead, you should head to StudentAid.gov and sign into your Federal Student Aid account.
In years’ past, students had to keep track of four different websites when managing their federal loans and financial aid. These websites were nslds.ed.gov, fsaid.ed.gov, StudentLoans.gov and StudentAid.gov.
All these accounts got confusing fast, so luckily FSA decided to simplify matters. It streamlined the process by consolidating the services of all four websites into StudentAid.gov.
Your StudentAid.gov account is now a one-stop shop for managing your student loans and financial aid. You can use your account to:
- View information about your federal student loans, including loan balances, loan types and interest rates
- Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form
- Sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN)
- Apply for student loan repayment plans
- Complete student loan entrance and exit counseling
- Use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool
Before borrowing student loans, you’ll need to sign up for a StudentAid.gov account. To sign up, you simply need a Social Security number and an email address or phone number.
After providing some personal information, the site will generate an FSA ID for you. This FSA ID is unique to each individual and can’t be shared.
If your parents are borrowing parent loans or need to sign the FAFSA, they will need to generate their own FSA IDs.
Once you have your FSA ID and password, you can log in to your Federal Student Aid account. Make sure to hold on to your login information so you can access your account at any time.
Besides logging in on your desktop computer, you can also access your account via the Federal Student Aid mobile app.
When reviewing your loans within the Federal Student Aid site, it’s also worth noting any loans with especially high interest rates. While federal student loans generally carry low rates, any that don’t could be good candidates for refinancing with a private lender.
Student loan refinancing allows you to replace one or more loans with a single private loan, possibly with lower monthly payments and a lower interest rate. Alternatively, you can also use refinancing to shorten the terms on your loans, which could raise your monthly payment but save you money on interest costs.
A student loan refinancing calculator can make sense of the math. Input your combined federal loan information, which you can grab from your FSA account, plus your potential refinancing terms — you can get a sense of refinancing rates comparing quotes online. Then the calculator will pump out your potential savings.
To qualify for refinancing, you’ll need a strong credit score, plus steady employment and income. Adding a creditworthy cosigner to your application, however, could make up for deficiencies in this area.
As lovely as the rewards may sound, refinancing isn’t right for every borrower. If you count on your federal loan protections — a list that includes access to income-driven repayment plans, mandatory forbearance and pathways to loan forgiveness — you’re likely better off keeping your loans where they are.
This is because refinancing federal loans with a private lender turns them private, meaning you lose access to federal programs and protections. Before making a decision, weigh your options, as refinancing with a private lender is irreversible and immediately strips your debt of these safeguards that accompany federal loans.
If you have student loan debt, it’s important to know just how much you owe. Knowledge is power, and your Federal Student Aid account can show you exactly what you’re dealing with.
Once you understand how much you have to pay back, you’ll be one step closer to becoming debt-free. You should log in to your Federal Student Aid account every once in a while to see an accurate picture of your student loan debt.
When you start paying your loans off, log in frequently to see your balance drop. Visiting the student loan database will keep you motivated and allow you to track your progress.