Nelnet Student Loans: Nelnet is one of a select number of student loan servicers that have contracted with the United States Department of Education to manage federal student loans. This means if you have taken out a federal student loan, you could have Nelnet assigned to you as your servicer.
Nelnet may also manage some private student loans if the lender has outsourced management to Nelnet. With Nelnet as your servicer, you will submit your payments there instead of to your original lender, and you will contact Nelnet if you have customer service issues.
This Nelnet review will help you to understand what it means for you if Nelnet is your servicer, as well as the pros and cons that come with it.
Register for online access to your account. Once you have access you can contact Nelnet, access your monthly billing statements and pay bills.
Enroll in autopay. Nelnet can deduct your payments automatically from your bank account. Signing up for autopay will reduce your interest rate by 0.25%.
Sign up for income-driven repayment. You can request income-driven repayment, which limits your student loan payments to a percentage of your income, by completing a paper form with Nelnet. (You can apply online on studentaid.gov and then recertify your income each year online as well.)
Process deferment and forbearance requests. Nelnet can help you temporarily stop making payments or reduce your payment amount if you qualify. This helps you stay in good standing to avoid default. But during any periods of deferment or forbearance, interest can continue to build.
Process monthly payments and extra payments. Nelnet will track and collect your payments. If you want to make additional payments, you can instruct Nelnet (online, by phone or by mail) to apply extra payments to your current balance. Otherwise, it may apply the additional amount to next month’s payment instead.
Pros & Cons of NelNet
Flexibility in payment plans, including the ability to choose an income-driven repayment plan where monthly payments are based on your income.
Easy qualification for loans even if you don’t have a long credit history.
The ability to get some of your loan balance forgiven for through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program or after making a certain number of student loan payments on an income-driven plan.
The option for loan consolidation with the Department of Education.
Options to put loans into forbearance or deferment if you face financial hardship, return to school, are in a residency program for medical studies, or meet certain other requirements.
You don’t get to choose your federal loan servicer. The Department of Education could assign you to Nelnet or to a different servicer—you can’t pick and can’t just change servicers if you are not happy with Nelnet or another servicer you have been assigned.
Nelnet has been the subject of many consumer complaints—629 from just September 2016 to August 2017. Complaints related to a variety of issues, including Nelnet customer service representatives providing inaccurate information, failing to properly inform students about student loan forgiveness, or misapplying payments.
Common Problems WithNelnet Student Loans
Compared to other loan servicers, Nelnet hasn’t received nearly as many complaints through the CFPB as Navient or AES-PHEAA. We found that the servicer received only 585 complaints between March 2017 and March 2018, compared to Navient’s 3,599 complaints. Still, Nelnet is not free of complaints and only earned a B rating through the Better Business Bureau. Some of the major complaints of Nelnet include:
Trouble with how payments are being handled:
Many borrower complaints have to do with changing their payment. In some cases, borrowers get married, try to change their repayment plan or allocate payments to a certain loan, and somehow Nelnet fails to fix payments accordingly.
Receiving bad information about a loan:
Borrowers have had problems receiving incorrect information about their loans, where information from a representative and the information on the borrower’s account fails to match up. This is why it is important to keep records of your payments and conversations, especially when you are trying to make a change with the company. Nelnet handles a lot of borrowers, and unfortunately, you’ll need to go the extra step of making sure that your loans are handled the way you want.
Having problems with customer service:
Many borrowers claimed that after speaking with a representative, their account didn’t reflect any changes or they have to call multiple times and get different responses for what to do. Again, document these responses and have Nelnet send you a confirmation, if possible. Also make sure that you are speaking with a representative of Nelnet. One borrower had her information stolen after talking with a loan officer from a company pretending to be Nelnet.
Nelnet Customer Service and How to Submit a Complaint
If you’re having trouble with Nelnet as your servicer, check out these websites to file a complaint.
FSA Feedback System:
The Federal Student Aid Feedback System allows you to submit complaints about your student loan servicer, report suspicious activity and give positive feedback about federal student loans. To file a complaint, you must describe your issue, explain how you would like it to be resolved, and provide any other relevant information or documents. The Federal Student Aid office will look over your submission and send a response as quickly as it can.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):
The CFPB, another federal website, allows you to submit a complaint about any company you are having problems with. The website boasts that 97% of consumers receive a timely response to their issue. To submit an issue, you will answer a few questions to categorize your complaint and then explain what happened with the company. After you submit, your complaint is forwarded to the company and it has 15 days to respond and up to 60 days to give a final response.
Better Business Bureau (BBB):
The Better Business Bureau works to resolve issues consumers are having with businesses. To file a report with the bureau, you’ll provide your name, address and email and describe the problems you are having with the servicer. The BBB will send your report to the business and ask for a response within 14 days. If the company doesn’t respond within that time, the BBB will try to contact it again. According to the BBB, complaints are usually closed within 30 days.
How to reach Nelnet customer service
Nelnet contact number: 888-486-4722
Nelnet hours of operation: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET.
Nelnet address for loan payments: There are multiple addresses to choose from. Pick the one that best fits your circumstances:
Send payments for accounts beginning with “E” to:
U.S. Department of Education
P.O. Box 2837
Portland, OR 97208-2837
Send payments for accounts beginning with “D” to:
P.O. Box 2970
Omaha, NE 68103-2970
Send payments for accounts beginning with “J” to:
P.O. Box 2877
Omaha, NE 68103-2877
Nelnet address for documents and other inquiries:
Documents related to deferment, forbearance, repayment plans, or enrollment status changes
Attn: Enrollment Processing
P.O. Box 82565
Lincoln, NE 68501-2565
Documents related to loan discharge or forgiveness claims
P.O. Box: 82505
Lincoln, NE 68501-2505
Documents related to bankruptcy claims
P.O. Box: 82505
Lincoln, NE 68501-2505
Make sure to keep records of conversations you have, including the day, time and customer service representative you spoke with. Keep copies of any letters, bills or emails about your account.
Does Nelnet own my student loan(s)?
It’s possible Nelnet owns your student loan(s). However, we also act as a student loan servicer — in other words, we provide customer service on behalf of many lenders and the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Get details on all of your federal student loan(s) with Nelnet and other loan holders and servicers online through ED’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at nslds.ed.gov. You will need to create a FSA ID to have access to ED’s online systems run by its office of Federal Student Aid.
How do I create an FSA ID?
You may already have an FSA ID from when you applied for financial aid as a student; visit fsaid.ed.gov to find or create one.
How do I register for a Nelnet.com account?
Visit Nelnet.com and click Register.
To create your account, enter your Social Security number, date of birth, and email address.
Create a username and password based on the rules listed on the page. Retype your password to confirm it, and click Continue.
Each time you log in, select one image from the displayed images to help you recognize you are logging in to a secure Nelnet website, and then click Continue.
Verify your contact information (and update as needed).
Review terms and conditions.
Select the checkbox that confirms you agree with the terms and conditions.
How do I know when I have a payment due?
Nelnet sends monthly billing statements for each account about three weeks before your due date, either in a paper statement sent to your physical mailing address or in an electronic update to your Nelnet.com account. While you are in school, in your loan’s grace period, in a deferment, or in forbearance, you might not receive a monthly statement.
You can log in to your Nelnet.com account to verify upcoming payment due dates and payment amounts. In your online account, you have 24/7 access to all kinds of important, helpful information about your loan(s).
What if I can’t afford to make my regular monthly payment?
If your monthly payment is too high, you have several options to reduce it — sometimes even to as low as $0 a month, depending on your income and family size. To explore options or make changes that could help you avoid default, contact us by phone or email, log in to your Nelnet.com account, or see Repayment Plans. You also can visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website at StudentAid.ed.gov to review other options, such as consolidation.
How can I pay less interest?
In general, to pay less interest over the life of your loan(s), you can make payments toward your student loan when they aren’t due (when you’re in school, in your grace period, or in a deferment period). You can also make extra payments or pay more than your regular monthly payment amount when you’re in repayment. All of these scenarios cause less interest to accrue overall.
If you take out federal student loans, there is a chance you could be assigned to have those loans serviced by Nelnet. Nelnet is not the student loan servicing company with the highest number of complaints, nor has it been subject to as many lawsuits from disgruntled borrowers as some other federal student loan servicers.
Many borrowers do have a good experience—despite some complaints—so you just need to make sure you stay on top of your payments and research your payment plan options so you can be confident Nelnet Student Loans is servicing your loan properly.
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