Education sets up online loan service

Education sets up online loan service

MARCH 13—Students can now check their educational loan balances online.

An initial version of the Office of Student Financial Assistance's Student Statement System went online last month, OSFA spokeswoman Lisa Cain said.

The system lets anyone who borrowed money to go to school get an immediate picture of their loan situation, including information on enrollment status, grant programs, loan history and loan balances, she said.

Highway 1, a nonprofit organization in Washington, built the system, starting with the initial Web interface, Cain said. The Highway 1 team then established a connection to a personal identification number system so the system could confirm users' identities.

The team then used IBM DataJoiner integration software to assemble financial aid information from the Education Department's existing mainframe databases, the Central Processing System and the National Student Loan Data System, and link it to the browser interface.

CPS and NSLDS run under IBM OS/390 and tap a DB2 database management system and custom Cobol applications. CPS provides status and eligibility information about students' financial aid applications. NSLDS provides detailed information about established loans and grants.

The department plans to release the next version of the Student Statement System this spring, Cain said. It will include a connection to the Direct Loan Origination System, which will help students learn about anticipated direct loan disbursements, she said.

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