By: Richard Cordray, Chief Operating Officer, Office of Federal Student Assistance, U.S. Department of Education
For many, summer is a time of family outings and backyard barbecues, but it’s not all fun and games. Before we know it, many students will be rushing to finish their summer homework before heading back to school. Here at Federal Student Aid (FSA), we’ve had our own major “summer school” mission: We’ve worked hard to launch a new website that helps college and school financial aid professionals professionals to prepare for the upcoming school year.
New NSLDS Professional Access modernizes a crucial data system and online tool that is over 25 years old. The system stores loan and grant data for each 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 search for their help information on StudentAid.gov, this helpful data comes from the NSLDS.
Our main goal with the new site is to make it easier for financial aid professionals to use the NSLDS so they can spend more time helping students. The improved site has a modern look and feel that makes it easier for financial aid professionals to navigate to the features they use most. We have significantly improved the way the different financial aid systems work together. We can now provide an easy-to-read breakdown of student loan amounts and their full financial aid history in one central location. The new site also provides more flexibility for scheduling reports, as most reports can now be downloaded immediately from the NSLDS website.
In the future, we also plan to improve the dashboard of the FSA Partner Connect portal at fsapartners.ed.gov and to facilitate access to 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.