Home » Repayment » How to Find the Database with Complete Federal Student Loan Records

How to Find the Database with Complete Federal Student Loan Records

The Department of Education keeps student loan records that track balances, loan types, repayment plans, and servicer information.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

Last Updated:

Affiliate Disclosure and Integrity Pledge

As the largest lender of student loans in the United States, the federal government is responsible for tracking over a trillion dollars in student debt.

The government maintains records of when the loan was issued, the type of loan that was issued, the original balance, the current balance, interest rates, and the servicer assigned to the management of the loan.

For borrowers, these records are incredibly useful. Verifying servicer information is a great way to reduce fraud and to make sure that no loan gets lost in the shuffle.

In the past, the Department of Education maintained the National Student Loan Data System or NSLDS. The site wasn’t particularly fancy, but it made tracking down federal records incredibly easy. Sadly, the NSLDS was discontinued, and borrowers must now navigate the StudentAid.gov website to find loan records.

Locating Detailed Federal Student Loan Information

  • Step 1: Visit https://studentaid.gov
  • Step 2: Log in using your FSA ID.
    • Most borrowers should have an FSA ID if they have recently completed the FAFSA or recently applied for an Income-Driven Repayment plan.
    • Those that need to create an FSA ID can do it here.
    • Use this page if you have forgotten your login credentials.
    • When you successfully log in, you will be taken to the federal dashboard.
  • Step 3: From the Federal Dashboard, click on the View Details link.
    • The View Details link will take borrowers to an Aid Summary.
    • The Aid Summary should include all federal loans and federal grants awarded.
  • Step 4: From the Aid Summy click on View Breakdown.
  • Step 5: For each servicer, click on View Loan.
    • At this point, the individual loan details should appear.
    • This will show the loan status, the current repayment plan, the interest rate, and the total balance.
  • Step 6: For even more information, click on View Loan Details.
    • This page contains records of the loan status history, payments made towards PSLF, and the total payments that have been made to date on the loan.
    • The next link at the bottom of the page allows borrowers to review each loan individually.

Want to dig even deeper? At the top right of the Aid Summary Page there is a button to “Download My Aid Data.” Clicking this link will download a .txt file that contains the most detailed loan information available to borrowers.

Things to Keep in Mind about the Federal Database

The federal database contains a trove of information for borrowers, but it isn’t perfect.

There are a couple of major limitations that users should understand.

The information is only as good as the last time it was updated – Like most databases, it isn’t instantly updated. Payments made to servicers will not immediately be reflected in the loan information. The servicer first has to report the information back to the Department of Education so that the student aid website can be updated. As a result, the information could be a month behind.

No records of private loans – Having all student loans in the same place would be very useful, but the government only tracks federal student loans. Borrowers addressing their private student loans will have to track down the records using alternative means. College financial aid websites can be a helpful starting point, and credit reports can be used to fill in missing details.

What Happened to the NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System)?

The NSLDS was a fairly straightforward, no-nonsense way for borrowers to access federal student loan records. The NSLDS wasn’t pretty, but it was a valuable tool for borrowers.

Many in the student loan community were surprised when the Department of Education unexpectedly took down the NSLDS and offered no explanation.

What we do know for sure was that the NSLDS was an older website that contained vast amounts of confidential material. Securing this information may have necessitated a massive change to the existing system.

Additionally, the revamped studentaid.gov is arguably more helpful to student loan borrowers. Even though navigating to the full student loan records is a bit more tedious, the benefit is that most federal student loan resources can now be found in one place. Borrowers looking for loan information can easily navigate to options for repayment and applications for income-driven repayment. Valuable resources like the Federal Loan Simulator, the PSLF Help Tool, and a Loan Consolidation link are all in one place.

From a web design standpoint, the new system is decidedly more modern looking. The updated interface should make navigation easier for borrowers and appear more credible. The old NSLDS was so dated that it appeared to be sketchy, especially to a first time visitor.

The Best Uses for the Federal Student Loan Information

Most borrowers should be able to get basic questions answered from the revised studentaid.gov site.

These records can be especially valuable for the following uses:

Tracking down debt – Different lending programs and new loans each year can mean that borrowers have a dozen or more different federal student loans. When a borrower enters repayment, they may have one servicer, or they could have several. The best way for a borrower to ensure that they are making payments on all of their federal loans is to pull up a list of all of their loans and get contact information for the servicers that have been assigned.

Preventing Fraud – Avoiding student loan fraud has become increasingly difficult for borrowers. As the government changes servicers, borrowers have come to expect that servicer assignments occasionally change. When a company like Experian has a data breach, would-be scammers can gain access to borrower names, contact information, and loan balances. If a student loan bill appears from a new company, the federal records are the best way to verify that the bill is legitimate.

Planning Strategy – Which loan do I pay off first? Should I be paying down debt or saving for retirement? How long will it take to eliminate my student debt? Should I consider student loan refinancing? What repayment plan is best for my situation?

Many student loan questions can be tough to answer. Without detailed records, borrowers risk mistakes and missed opportunities.

About the Author

Student loan expert Michael Lux is a licensed attorney and the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. He has helped borrowers navigate life with student debt since 2013.

Insight from Michael has been featured in US News & World Report, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other online and print publications.

Michael is available for speaking engagements and to respond to press inquiries.

29 thoughts on “How to Find the Database with Complete Federal Student Loan Records”

  1. I started in an IDR repayment back in 1994. How do I find information on those payments between 1994-2000. All of those should’ve counted on the one-time forgiveness audit. I can’t find those payments at all.

      • I’m not aware of a good way to find detailed payment information that old. The big quesiton is, what do you need that information for? For example, if you are looking for credit for those payments for the IDR payment count update, you should still get that credit, even if they don’t know the exact amount that was paid.

  2. im looking for a large deliquent student loan that is in default. i want to make payments to get it out of default

      • When a loan changes hands, it shouldn’t change between federal and private. Federal loans often get moved to new servicers and private loans are sometimes sold from one lender to another. However, this movement doesn’t cause it to switch between being a private loan and a federal loan.

        The instructions in the article above should help you determine if the loan is federal (even if it is in default). If you cannot find your loan in the federal database, it is likely private.

        Also, for your reference, the servicer MAXIMUS is the one that is assigned the defaulted federal loans.

  3. I am a former Suny NYS community college graduate who has recently obtained a detailed copy of my student aid report, and when reviewing found major discrepancies within this report from unpaid grants to loans that not only originated but disbursed on the same day. While I attend 2 community college prior to graduating, it is the college that I graduated from that is using retention schedules as a means to prevent me from accessing my financial aid and billing records. I have contacted any and every government associated entity in regard to this and am continuously reverted back to the campus. Though reaching out to the campus compliance officer got me nowhere, as she has not responded to a single email, and has went as far as forwarding my request for her assistance to someone else. I have spoken to my NYS open access who has advised me along with the department of education of my rights to obtain these records, however, do you have any suggestions as to how a student like me would navigate themselves around such obstacles. The majority of my student loans stem from this campus and I am having trouble understanding why I am being blocked.
    Thank you.

    • This sounds super frustrating. The first thing I usually tell people is that there probably isn’t some vast conspiracy behind what is happening to you. Often these frustrating situations are the result of incompetence or bureaucracy. Sometimes approaching it from this angle can lead to a quicker resolution.

      For example, instead of spelling out the entire situation when you speak with someone, target getting one additional nugget of information. If you pull your student loan and grant records from the federal database, you can try to match that up with the school records. This is something your school’s financial aid office should be able to help with. If the dates don’t match up, or you can’t find anything, try not to immediately jump to an accusation. Come at it from the perspective that you are just trying to understand.

      It sucks that you are running into all of these road blocks and I’m sure you are angry with the people standing in your way, but sadly, the fastest resolution may require you to play nice with them while you get the info you need.

      If your inquiries are all unsuccessful, you could consider filing a complaint with the Department of Education.

      • I have been denied access to my financial records through the campus from which most of my loans derive from. It has been indicated that these records are no longer accessible to the campus and or myself, as the bursar’s office advised me over a telephone conversation that the retention schedule for these records have since past making these records no longer accessible, though I have contact NYS open government who have advised me otherwise. Have kindly reached out to the campus records access officer, who refuses to respond to my inquiries and request for assistance. And to top it off, while the retention of my records was still within the six-year time indicated this campus was audited for noncompliance to the safeguarding and of student accounts. It was indicated that no protocols had been set so on and so forth, which with all due respect if their system in which housed records were vulnerable to a breach while I was still with the retention, would my records not obtain additional time for the safeguarding? It has been one headache after another

      • That does sound awful. At the point where you have a local expert on record keeping telling you that the school has made some egregious errors, it might be time to hire a local attorney if the lack of records from the school has become a major financial issue.

      • Update on previously submitted inquiry. On May 10 of this year I submitted what as become a second “official request for access to my financial records to the campus I was attended. I submitted this request through adobe sign, to both the records access officer, and campus president in hopes that this would spark a response.
        Eleven days following the submission of this Foil request for access, I received notification from adobe sign indicating that the records access officer review my document. However, that was the extent of what I had received in response. The campus president well she did not even bother to review my request.
        On June 6, I received a email correspondence from the campus attorney who advised me that he represents this campus and was transferred my recent request, and additionally a request that was submitted in August of 2023. He then went on to state that I should consider his response an “official” response to my request for access. As he went on to state that due to the fact I graduated in 2012, and in accordance with NYS retention schedule (6 years) following a student graduating, my fiscal financial records pertaining to billing, state and federal aid disbursements and student loan records have been systematically destroyed, advising me that I am to cease to desist any further communication with this campus in regard to this matter. Therefore, preventing my ability to appeal this denial though it would not matter as the records access officer has failed to respond to ongoing request for assistance made prior to the initial request for access made in 2022, and has elected to have the campus lawyer speak on her behalf following this official request. Can a campus destroy these records. This campus obtained 7 loans on my behalf, following the endorsement of one master promissory which I am aware is good for ten years, but one would imagine that when thousands of dollars in funding is being obtained on behalf of a student, some sort of endorsed acknowledgement would be necessary in order to do so. Can anyone refer me to a student rights attorney.

      • That sounds incredibly frustrating.

        If we could zoom out a bit, what is it you hope to achieve by tracking down these records?

        I’m assuming that getting ahold of the records isn’t the ultiamte goal, and there might be an easier path to your desired outcome.

  4. Good afternoon
    I am paying for my daughters student FFELP student loan thru Navient since 2007.Is that consider a private loan and will I will be included under President Biden 10,000 loan cancellation?I am now 66 years old ,a retiree.

  5. Hi,

    I’m not necessarily interested in my student loan history, I was able to pull all of that from the site above as you say. However, I do want to track exactly how much I’ve paid, and there seems to be NOWHERE where I can find that. I’ve had loans since 1993 (!!!), I’ve estimated that I’ve paid well beyond the original balances of the loans, but because they were owned by private lenders the interest has crushed me. Is there a way to find PAYMENT information, not balances, not loan history, but payment history?

  6. I am having this same issue. I have been paying students loans since 1998. In 2011 I consolidated with Great Lakes. They only have the consolidated info. They said to contact Navient, my provider before consolidation. Navient said Advantage has that info now and they don’t. I called Advantage and they say Great Lakes should have it. Federal Student Aid shows Navient, but no loan details. It just says the loans were consolidated. What a mess!

  7. Hello Michael~
    At least it’s semi-encouraging to see that others are having the same issues as myself re: tracking down older payments, and Thank You for help to address this issue.
    I did read the article and tried the StudentAid.gov site.
    There is a gap between 2007 and 2011/2012 where I cannot track payments made. They were consolidated into different loans, so hard to track? I also wanted to say I contacted my current servicer Fed Loan Servicing, and they said they “ordered a copy” of my payment record that is stored on microfiche or something? And will take a month, but I should get the missing info. that way? Hope this helps, as when my (PSLF) waiver form gets processed, I want some hard data on what payments they are accepting, and which not. Otherwise we are at their mercy?
    Thanks again!!

    • Hi Ardis,

      Consolidation can make tracking down records even more difficult. As for why it takes a month to “order a copy,” your guess is as good as any. In FedLoan’s defense, I will say that they are swamped right now. Getting any help is likely to take a while.

      Best of luck to you!

  8. I am beyond frustrated. I took out undergraduate loans from 1987-1990 (3 years- accelerated), then law school loans from 1994-1996 (2 years accelerated). I know I made payments on my loans after undergrad. I called and got records from my loan servicers. I know the records are incomplete. It appears that when my servicer was the Department of Education (I believe it was Navient/Sallie Mae who handled it), the payments are not all listed. I know that there were payments made because I remember being behind on them and having to straighten it out and pay so I could go to law school. (I was making payments- just not the full amount because I had a minimum wage job).

    I want to try to get my payment records and went to the student loan site. It provides only loan status history- no payment information. I borrowed a total of $76,725 and have been paying on them since 1991 (minus 2 years in law school). I now owe $195,681.

    Any advice on getting records of the payments? I believe my dad made some of them for me so bank records are out (He wanted me to go to law school).

  9. I am having the same issue with tracking down older payments. I graduated in May of ’08, so technically my payments should have started 6 months after that time. Looking at my credit report, I cannot find anything earlier than EdFinancial from when I consolidated in 2011, yet even those payments are not showing up through FedLoan Servicing either. So, somehow I am missing from roughly October of 2008-April of 2011, and then two additional years after that. Where would I find this information? Should this not be on record with Dept. of Ed? I have no idea who the loan servicer was prior to consolidation. It may have still been EdFinancial, but when I go to that site, all history has been wiped.

    • I believe it is the loan servicer’s job to report that information to the Department of Education. If you click on the individual loan, you can look at the loan status history… what does it say for the missing dates?

  10. I am trying to track down my payments going back to 1998. I can only get an accounting of back to 2005 on the Student Aid website. How can I find older payments? I need to see whether I got credit for payments on the IDR plan, forbearance / deferment info, etc. and Navient does not appear to have any of that.

  11. I am looking for a way to track payments. My student loans started in 1987 and to date the balance is 222,000.00 I am a public school teacher of 21 years. I am desperate for a count of payments made and cannot seem to find them. I paid a fraudulent company in 2015/2016…. Ameritech and made some 20+ payments, before they were shut down by the Federal Trade Commission. I wanted to pay my loans and the payment was manageable. Will those payments, that were done in good faith, be counted. I was able to track 37 payments by searching old bank statements. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank You.
    Rosemary Robertson

    • Hi Rosemary,

      Dealing with fraud can be especially tricky. If you paid Ameritech, but no PSLF eligible payments were made, I think you are going to have a hard time getting that to count towards PSLF.

      Beyond the records described in this article, you might also want to reach out to your loan servicer to go through your payment history. They should have all of these records as well.


Leave a Comment