Federal Student Aid’s Summer Assignment: Modernize the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®)
By: Richard Cordray, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid
For many, summer is a time for family trips and backyard BBQs, but it is not all fun and games. Before we know it, many students will be rushing to complete summer assignments before heading back to school. Here at Federal Student Aid (FSA), we have had a major “summer school” assignment of our own: we have been working hard to launch a new website that helps financial aid professionals at colleges and career schools prepare for the upcoming school year.
The new NSLDS Professional Access website modernizes a crucial data system and online tool that is more than 25 years old. The system stores loan and grant data for every student who receives aid, as well as repayment data reported by loan servicers and other financial partners. When students and families use the College Scorecard to compare schools to find the right fit or look up their aid information on StudentAid.gov, that useful data comes from NSLDS.
Our main goal with the new site is to make NSLDS easier for financial aid professionals to use so they can spend more time helping students. The enhanced site has a modern look and feel that make it easier for financial aid professionals to navigate the functions they use the most. We have vastly improved how the different financial aid systems connect with each other. Now we can provide an easy-to-read breakdown of students’ loan amounts and their complete financial aid history in one central place. The new site also offers more flexibility for scheduling reports, as most reports are now available for immediate download from the NSLDS website.
In the future, we also plan to enhance the dashboard on the FSA Partner Connect portal at fsapartners.ed.gov and to make it easier to access online accounts. Through our ongoing Next Gen initiative, we will continue to upgrade our technology, tools, and resources for students, parents, borrowers, and financial aid professionals.