As one of four servicers approved by the DOE to originate and service federal student loans, Nelnet helps students and their families both plan and pay for a college education.
Learn more about Nelnet’s history and services, plus information on Nelnet student loan forgiveness programs that might interest you as a borrower.
Who is Nelnet?
Nelnet was originally called UNIPAC Loan Service Corporation when it launched in 1978. It changed to its current name in 1996. As one of the largest student loan servicers in the nation, Nelnet owns more than 50 subsidiaries across the U.S. and Canada, including inTuition, infiNET, and LoanSTAR.
According to Nelnet’s website, the company currently owns more than $24 billion in federal student loans, with most of them being federally insured. Nelnet’s headquarters is located in Lincoln, Nebraska.
What Does Nelnet Do?
Nelnet is a student loan servicer that works with more than five million borrowers in the United States and Canada. In addition to having its own portfolio of student loans, Nelnet also services loans made by dozens of other lenders.
Nelnet Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Due to Nelnet’s partnership with the Department of Education, there are several Nelnet student loan forgiveness programs available to eligible borrowers.
Nelnet and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Are you a borrower who works in the public sector? Do you volunteer full-time in AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps? You might qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), as long as your loans are eligible.
To qualify for the PSLF program, you’ll need to make 120 on-time, consecutive payments on your eligible loans in addition to working for a PSLF-approved employer. But once you’ve met all the requirements, your loans could be forgiven entirely through the Department of Education.
Even if you’ve been denied for PSLF before, a new Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) could help you get approved – and debt-free!
With FedLoan Servicing being the primary servicer for PSLF, all loans approved for the program will be moved to FedLoan as part of the forgiveness process.
Nelnet and Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Teacher Loan Forgiveness through Nelnet requires you to have eligible student loans and meet certain job-related requirements. But once these requirements are met, you might earn up to $17,500 towards your Direct Loans or FFEL program loans if you qualify.
For most borrowers, one of the toughest requirements for Nelnet Teacher Loan Forgiveness is teaching full-time at a low-income school or educational service agency for five consecutive years.
Educators who apply for Teacher Loan Forgiveness earn forgiveness through FedLoan Servicing, who is the primary servicer for the program. In addition, all remaining loans and their balances will be moved to FedLoan upon approval.
Nelnet and Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge
Nelnet specializes in its service offerings. One of these specialties is handling the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge for disabled veterans and individuals through the Department of Education.
The TPD Discharge gives disabled borrowers a way to have their student loans forgiven after meeting certain qualifications. Loans eligible for a TPD Discharge include Federal Direct Loans, FFEL Loans, Perkins Loans, and TEACH grants.
Nelnet and Other Student Loan Discharges
Beyond Nelnet loan forgiveness options, there are other student loan discharge programs available, depending on your circumstances. Through Nelnet, student loan discharge programs include:
- School closure discharge
- False certification discharge
- Unpaid refund discharge
A student loan discharge will release you from your obligation to pay back your student loans if you’re approved.
Nelnet and Income-Driven Repayment Plans
To access certain Nelnet loan forgiveness programs, you might need to change your repayment plan for eligibility. Here are a few income-driven repayment plans that are available through Nelnet to consider.
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
- Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan
- Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan
- Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan
Recent News About Nelnet
Here’s a collection of news stories about Nelnet and its effect on borrowers and the student loan industry.
April 2015: During his time in office, President Obama made countless efforts on behalf of student loan borrowers, leading many to refer to his work as “Obama Loan Forgiveness”. As part of this effort, he released the Student Aid Bill of Rights to help protect borrowers and address problems with servicers in early 2015.
August 2016: In Michigan, a federal judge dismisses a class action lawsuit that claims Nelnet made money for the business by not crediting student loan payments to borrowers’ accounts on time.
October 2017: Nelnet offers to buy Great Lakes for $150 million, which would take the number of DOE-approved student loan servicers from four down to three. The next step is getting approval from federal regulators.
February 2018: An internal memo is obtained by NPR. In the memo, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos argues to protect federal student loan servicers like Nelnet from state lawsuits, causing debates with numerous states already suing servicers.
February 2018: Nelnet’s acquisition of Great Lakes is approved after the company meets all required closing conditions. Critics argue it creates a monopoly, meaning decreased competition, and potentially worse customer service for borrowers.
June 2018: A federal class action lawsuit is filed against Nelnet in Nebraska. The lawsuit claims Nelnet failed to process borrowers’ requests to renew income-driven repayment plans in a timely manner. It also claims Nelnet unlawfully cancelled borrowers’ IDR payments due to processing errors, made money on the interest that accrued on these accounts, and offered forbearance to account for processing delays.
If you have a federal student loan, there’s a chance your loan servicer could be Nelnet, especially as they begin to service loans obtained through the Great Lakes acquisition.
Currently, Nelnet has a “B” rating with the Better Business Bureau, despite over 500 complaints filed against the business. On Yelp, Nelnet has 1.5-star rating based on more than 100 reviews from borrowers.
Is Nelnet Your Loan Servicer?
If you’d like to consider switching to another lender, other options are available. By consolidating your federal loans, you not only get to choose who you want as your servicer, you also gain access to the benefits that come with consolidation. Through consolidation, you can:
- Make your loans eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and other forgiveness programs
- Simplify your payment schedule by converting multiple monthly payments into a single loan and payment
- Get an interest rate that combines the weighted average of all your consolidated loans
In addition to Nelnet, servicers you can choose from during consolidation include Navient, FedLoan, and Great Lakes.
If you’re not eligible for the benefits that come with student loans and you’d like to explore more options, private student loan consolidation is also something to consider. In some cases, a private consolidation loan could offer a lower interest rate, better repayment terms, and superior customer service.
Interested in moving your loans away from Nelnet? Want to learn more about your student loan options? Simply fill out our free online form or call a student loan specialist by phone at (800) 771-6358.