It used to be traditional for students to enroll in coursework at only one location. However, traditional is no longer the norm. Today’s students often attend multiple institutions or locations, whatever best satisfies their needs. To meet student demand, institutions offer courses at numerous locations and deliver course material through a variety of ways. A student can attend a morning course close to home, an evening course close to work, and even take a course offered online. If all these courses are offered by the same institution, it is the institution’s responsibility to determine which location is the student’s primary attending location.

The student’s primary location should be reported to the National Student Clearinghouse and associated with the eight-digit official Office of Postsecondary Education Identification (OPEID) location. This is the information that the Clearinghouse uses to respond to the Enrollment Rosters from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

The NSLDS Enrollment Reporting Guide (page 11, section 4.1 – Location/Campus) provides guidance on this subject. According to the guide, “A student’s primary location is the location where the student is taking more coursework than at any other location… If a school cannot determine which location is a student’s primary location, because they are taking the same number of credits at each location, then the school may choose a primary location to report for the student from the locations at which the student is enrolled.”  The guide also states that students should be reported at the location they are attending and not the location from which aid was disbursed.

What does this mean for Clearinghouse Enrollment Reporting? Students should appear on the eight-digit NSLDS Roster associated with the student’s primary location of attendance.

The Clearinghouse suggests that institutions confirm that the procedures between their financial aid and registrar offices are aligned to ensure that:

  • Student aid is processed properly
  • Data reported to the NSLDS through the COD (Common Origination and Disbursement) system by the financial aid office is consistent with the information maintained and reported by the registrar’s office to the Clearinghouse. This includes enrollment statuses, status effective dates, and information related to the student’s program(s) of study.

If you have any questions about proper reporting, please contact the Clearinghouse at 703.742.4200 (select options #7, #2) or

We also invite you to “Join the Journey” as the Clearinghouse gets a head start on our 25th anniversary as your trusted partner in 2018 with an academic year filled with new events, services, and more.