What is the NSLDS and what does it mean for the students at MCC?
NSLDS is the National Student Loan Data System. This central agency gathers reports the beginning of every month on students who have taken out student loans. The data gathered is available to student loan companies, loan servicers and collection agencies. Along with monitoring student loans, it also tracks the rate of repayment and defaults for institutions on student loans.
A high default rate could spell disaster for any school, as it could mean the Federal Government taking away Financial Aid to students at that institution, not just student loans but all financial aid including Pell grants.
“The NSLDS takes the data we send them and makes the information available to the servicers servicing the loans for the students,” explained Lisa Downey, MCC Financial Aid Manager. “This information affects the student’s loan by determining if the loan should be in a repayment status, if interest should be charged on some loans because of re-enrollment in school, or if a student is attending more than one school at a time and may or may not be receiving aid.”
The type of data reported, are changes in a student schedule, whether they’ve graduated, dropped below half time or even re-enrolled. All this information has an effect on loans, and with the NSLDS requiring changes to be reported every sixty days, a lot of changes can be missed. This time lapse may increase the errors on a report sent by NSLDS to the institution.
“We’re required to report every 60 Days to NSLDS any changes, withdraws, graduation, class additions, drops, and program changes. We take the extra step of reporting our changes every 30 days to Clearing House, this ensures we have the most current data being sent to NSLDS, and a chance to fix any errors before they become a problem.” Says Meghan Knox, Enrollment Management Specialist.” said Meghan Knox, Enrollment Management Specialist.
“The NSLDS requires that the monthly data be at least 90% error free, anything less than 90% and we get a letter. For the past four months we have been over 99% error free.” Meghan Knox says, and everyone knows that getting a letter in these circumstances is never a good thing.
Meghan Knox noticed that a lot of these errors seemed to originate from a lack of communication between Financial Aid and Registrar as well as data being entered incorrectly, so she decided to mix things up a bit. She found the source of incorrect data and worked to improve processes of data entry. Then, she began talking more with Financial Aid about when, why, and what student data was being reported.
“Before we began working together, if there was a gap, it may send a student into repayment when it shouldn’t have. Thanks to our constant communication, we catch more of those gaps and ensure they aren’t reported wrong.”
Thanks to the smoother, cleaner process of reporting to Clearing House and then to the NSLDS, Meghan Knox will help control the default rate. The default rate is determined by students that enter repayment and can’t pay. MCC’s default rate is down from a whopping 37% during the 09-10 Cohort to a small 17.7% for the 15-16 cohort!
Thanks to Meghan Knox and the more accurate and timely enrollment reporting, which keeps MCC in compliance, students at MCC can continue to apply for financial aid, whether they go for grants or loans.