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Nov 7 -- The U.S. Department of Education invites comments to OMB by December 7, 2022 regarding the continuation of the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

The United States Department of Education will collect data through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) from Federal Perkins Loan holders (institutions or their servicers) and Guaranty Agencies (GA) about Federal Perkins, Federal Family Education, and William D. Ford Direct Student Loans to be used to manage the federal student loan programs, develop policy, and determine eligibility for programs under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). NSLDS also holds data about Federal Grants, including Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants. NSLDS is used for research, policy analysis, monitoring student enrollment, calculating default rates, monitoring program participants and verifying student aid eligibility.
 
The Department of Education has selected an Information Engineering (IE) methodology using custom Spring Batch jobs that support the business logic for data ingest, processing, and extract of NSLDS data. These jobs are scheduled and launched in Azkaban. Files are exchanged with external systems through the Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) and Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) interfaces. A dedicated Amazon Web Service (AWS) RDS Oracle database (Core) supports transactional web and batch system processing. The Department provides software specifications to data providers using other operating systems.  In addition, the Department is accepting all data electronically to reduce the burden associated with data entry and forms handling.

The Department provides data provider tools that allow schools and guaranty agencies to enter data directly online by individual updates, mass record uploads from the provider’s PC to NSLDS online.  This is especially useful for FSA’s Federal Loan Servicers (FLS), when errors impacting a student’s eligibility need to be quickly resolved or when a school wants to ensure that borrowers received in-school deferments in a timely manner.

The Department has also consulted extensively with the community regarding system design to ensure that the design places the least possible burden on data providers, for example; an extract-based approach for providing data to NSLDS was developed based upon input from schools and guaranty agencies, as well as upon design considerations.  This includes allowing all data providers to establish their own reporting schedules to NSLDS (with monthly being the minimum for GAs, weekly for FLS) as long as it is provided within NSLDS reporting guidelines.  This offers the simplest requirement for data providers, while maximizing the potential for timely submission of accurate data from the community.  Finally, taking advantage of the central NSLDS database to perform Enrollment Reporting and Transfer Student Monitoring streamlines these processes and enables schools that wish to automate their own processes to do so. Schools are able to update individual enrollment information through the NSLDS web site, streamlining the school’s administration of enrollment tracking.
 
Approximately 20 guaranty agencies and 5,700 schools report to the NSLDS. NSLDS has been collecting data since 1995.  As a result, Guaranty Agencies and schools have developed efficiencies in their systems extracting and loading data to NSLDS. The Departments established the Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) to provide a secure method for the Department’s systems to exchange data with schools, guaranty agencies and federal loan servicers. The SAIG systems allow schools to create their data on systems as small as a personal computer or as large as a mainframe put all data are transmitted through SAIG. Data are delivered to the Department directly to an assigned mailbox, and message classes designated in SAIG by NSLDS for each specific purpose.   
 
Federal Student Aid Data Center: https://studentaid.gov/data-center
NSLDS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202208-1845-005 Click IC List for questionnaire, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-24181

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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