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What’s the Most Reliable Way to Get Information About Your Federal Student Loans?

NSLDS federal student loan information

The National Student Loan Data System is the first place to go when you’re trying to get information about your Federal student loans. The system is run by the U.S. Department of Education, and is completely free to use.

To get into the system, go to www.NSLDS.ed.gov and log in using your FSA username and password (if you don’t have one, you’ll need to set up a free account).

Once you log in you’ll find that all of your Federal loan information is right there, with the exception of an accounting.

You’ll see every loan you’ve ever applied for, the dates it was disbursed, when you had a forbearance or deferment, when you were in repayment, and when you defaulted, if ever.

The NSLDS system also contains information on your servicer, lender, and guarantee agency. It’s everything you need to start figuring out what is going on with your loans.

If you have a loan that isn’t on the NSLDS report, chances are it’s a private loan. No, there is no central database of private student loans (nor would we want one). The best place to go for private loan information would be your credit report.

To get a copy of your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies you can go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com. By law you have the right to receive your credit report from one time per year, so there’s not reason to pay for it.

By the way, I recommend that you don’t request your credit reports online online – use the paper form. If you get your credit reports online then you’re agreeing to limit your legal recourse if there’s a problem with the information contained in the credit report.

Most of the time your NSLDS report is accurate, but not always. I have had a few (very few) screwed up NSLDS reports, but it happens – particularly with very old loans.

If you think your report has errors, you’ll need a lawyer to help clarify and figure out your best course of action. If you don’t want a lawyer, try the Department of Education’s Ombudsman. When that fails, call a lawyer.