Posted Date: March 29, 2010

Author:  Pamela Eliadis, Service Director, System Operations & Aid Delivery Management, Federal Student Aid

Subject: New Exit Counseling Tool on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

On March 28, 2010 we enhanced the NSLDS Student Access Web site to offer a new exit counseling tool for federal student loan borrowers in both the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) programs. This new tool provides a single exit counseling session for Direct Loan-only borrowers, for FFEL-only borrowers, and for borrowers who have received a combination of loans from both programs.

The new exit counseling tool, available from the NSLDS Student Access home page through a secure logon process, introduces students to NSLDS Student Access at an opportune time and integrates actual student data into the session. Student-specific loan balance and repayment information is provided, based on current NSLDS data. The tool provides estimated monthly payments and a budget worksheet, requires completion of quizzes to ensure comprehension, and collects required student contact information including future employer, next of kin, and references.

In addition, we enhanced the NSLDS Professional Access Web site to offer expanded reporting tools and the ability to upload exit counseling data to NSLDS for exit counseling that was conducted using other methods.

These enhancements to NSLDS offer students, schools, lenders, and servicers a comprehensive online exit counseling tool. In this announcement we provide more information about these enhancements in the following order:

  • Key Facts About Exit Counseling Requirements and the New NSLDS Tool
  • NSLDS Newsletter #26
  • Record Layouts for Schools
  • Technical Update and Record Layouts for Lenders
  • Submittal Template Spreadsheet for Upload Tool
  • Future Enhancements
  • Contact Information

Key Facts About Exit Counseling Requirements and the New NSLDS Tool

It is a school’s responsibility to ensure exit counseling is conducted in accordance with regulatory requirements. The new NSLDS exit counseling tool does not change current regulatory requirements for exit counseling. Schools should continue to refer to the Federal Student Aid Handbook for an explanation of these requirements. Final regulations amending the exit counseling requirements were published in the Federal Register on October 28, 2009.

In addition, use of the NSLDS exit counseling tool is not mandatory. Schools may continue to choose between a variety of methods to ensure their student borrowers satisfy exit counseling requirements. Options include in-person exit counseling and other online tools. As a reminder, if a school uses one of these other options for exit counseling, it is the school’s responsibility to ensure that the counseling meets federal exit counseling requirements.

We will continue to offer exit counseling for Direct Loan borrowers on the Direct Loan Servicing Online Web site for a period of time sufficient to allow for the transition to the new tool. While the NSLDS exit counseling tool will eventually be the only source for exit counseling offered by Federal Student Aid, we are committed to a gradual transition from the Direct Loan Servicing System to NSLDS to ensure minimal impact on schools. We encourage Direct Loan schools that currently use the Direct Loan Servicing Online Web site for exit counseling to begin the process of transitioning their students to the NSLDS Student Access option as soon as it is convenient for both the school and its student borrowers.

NSLDS Newsletter #26

For a more detailed description of the new exit counseling option for students and reporting enhancements for schools, please refer to NSLDS Newsletter #26, posted to the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site.

Record Layouts for Schools

We have posted NSLDS Record Layouts on the IFAP Web site to provide technical information about the new exit counseling reporting functionality for schools.

Technical Update and Record Layouts for Lenders

We have posted NSLDS Technical Update for Lenders, LLS-2010-01: Lender/Lender Servicer NSLDS Exit Counseling Tools and NSLDS Record Layouts on the IFAP Web site to provide technical information about the new exit counseling reporting functionality for lenders and servicers.

Submittal Template Spreadsheet for Upload Tool

As fully explained in NSLDS Newsletter #26, schools now have the ability to upload and submit to NSLDS exit counseling data using the NSLDS Exit Counseling Submittal Template, which is designed to be used with the Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheet application. The NSLDS Exit Counseling Submittal Template and instructions will be posted in the next several days on the Federal Student Aid Download (FSAdownload) Web site.

Future Enhancements

We plan to expand the exit counseling tools available via the NSLDS Student Access Web site to include exit counseling for Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant recipients. We also plan to make exit counseling reports available to guaranty agencies, and to enhance the exit counseling reporting options for lenders and servicers.

Please monitor the IFAP Web site for forthcoming communications about the availability of these future enhancements to NSLDS.

Contact Information

We thank you for your interest in this important new functionality that both consolidates and enhances online counseling services. We look forward to providing students and schools with a further integrated approach in the future.

If you have questions about the new exit counseling tool on NSLDS, contact the NSLDS Customer Support Center at 800/999-8219. You can also contact Customer Support by e-mail at nslds@ed.gov.

   

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