If you are a Federal Student Aid (FSA) loan recipient, then you know that your enrollment status determines your eligibility for loans, as well as the status of the loans you have already received. Since universities have so many students, you might wonder how they can keep track of all of their students’ up-to-date enrollment statuses. Most universities use a third-party non-profit organization called the National Student Clearinghouse to help with enrollment and degree verifications. In fact, the Clearinghouse has “more than 3,600 participating higher education institutions, which represent 98 percent of the national enrollment” (Clearinghouse, pg.1).
Detailing the intricacies of the Clearinghouse is far beyond the scope of this article, but we can take a look at the basic process of how the Clearinghouse completes timely compliance reporting, and how schools aid in this process. The following steps describe their process.
- The Clearinghouse will complete eight to twelve transmissions per academic year. At American Public University System (APUS), the Clearinghouse completes one transmission every month on the 16th.
- Each transmission will go through system edits within the Clearinghouse.
- After this is complete, it is the individual school’s responsibility to correct any errors in the file.
- Once steps two and three are complete, the enrollment information will be uploaded into the Clearinghouse database.
- This enrollment information is then available for all applicable parties.
Who is sent this enrollment information? The Clearinghouse’s information is sent to guarantors, lenders, and servicers, as well as the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), as they are the entities that regularly update the Clearinghouse with lists of specific students who have outstanding student loans. This transfer of information from the Clearinghouse to these entities takes approximately one week. It is essential that every student’s enrollment information is up-to-date and accurate, as a student’s eligibility for loans and the status of prior loans is directly affected by enrollment status. For more information about the Clearinghouse, it would be beneficial to visit their website at www.studentclearinghouse.org.
By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews