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(GEN-03-12) NSLDS Calculation of Aggregate Loan Amounts

Publication Date: October 2003

DCL ID: GEN-03-12

NSLDS Calculation of Aggregate Loan Amounts

Posted on 10-15-2003

October 2003


Subject: NSLDS Calculation of Aggregate Loan Amounts

Summary: In this letter and its enclosures, we describe new procedures that are used by NSLDS to calculate aggregate loan limits for the FFEL and Direct Loan programs when a student has consolidated some or all of their student loans. We also respond to several related questions to assist schools in using the financial aid history functions of NSLDS.

Dear Partner:

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) when reporting (on its Web site and on ISIRs) aggregate loan amounts for Subsidized Loans, Unsubsidized Loans, and combined loans, bases its calculations on disbursed amounts and outstanding balances of the individual Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans reported for the student. In addition, since consolidation loans in the Direct Loan program are reported to NSLDS as either subsidized or unsubsidized (and a student can have both), those amounts are also included in the appropriate aggregate amount. However, NSLDS cannot treat FFEL Consolidation Loans the same way since, unlike Direct Consolidation Loans, they are not reported to NSLDS with any indication of what portion of the loan is subsidized and what is unsubsidized. Therefore, prior to 2003-2004, NSLDS simply reported the amount of any FFEL Consolidation Loan received by the borrower, leaving the school to determine what portion should be applied to the subsidized loan limit and what amount was unsubsidized and should be applied only to the combined loan limit (See Q 30-5 and 52-55 from DCL GEN-96-13 - available on IFAP under Archived Publications - Dear Partner/ Colleague Letters or directly at This practice placed a significant burden on schools and they have continually asked that NSLDS perform the calculation to reduce their workload.

In response to those requests, starting with 2003-04 processing, NSLDS allocates FFEL Consolidation Loans to Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and combined aggregate totals, using a specific algorithm and certain assumptions. As explained more fully below, while this process works well in most cases, there still are instances when NSLDS is unable to determine if a portion of a FFEL Consolidation Loan should be counted as subsidized or unsubsidized. When that occurs, the amount is reported by NSLDS as "Unallocated". The sum of the Subsidized, Unsubsidized and Unallocated equals the combined total that is reported by NSLDS.

The information included on the enclosures to this letter, provided in a Question and Answer (Q&A) format, should provide sufficient guidance so that schools can properly determine if an applicant for Title IV Federal student aid has exceeded, or is close to exceeding, one or more of the aggregate loan limits that apply to the FFEL and Direct Loan programs.

We thank you for your continued support of the Title IV student assistance programs and your recommendations for improvement to the services that NSLDS provides. If you have any questions or comments on the information contained in this letter and the encmments on the information contained in this letter and the enclosures, please contact the NSLDS Customer Service Center at 1t Federal Holidays. Or, you can e-mail your question to


Matt Fontana, Director
National Student Loan System Group
Federal Student Aid
U.S. Department of Education


Last Modified: 10/14/2003