What Is Nelnet?

Young woman looks at student loan statement and phone with laptop
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Nelnet is one of the largest federal student loan servicers in the U.S. It works with many borrowers throughout the country to help them manage and repay their loans.

Federal student loans can be confusing, since the company that services your loan is contracted by the federal government. You may have seen the Nelnet name on your documents and wondered if it's legitimate. Or you may be a Nelnet customer even if you’ve never heard of it. Learn more about how Nelnet works and how to find out if the company services your loans.

What Is Nelnet?

Nelnet is primarily a student loan servicer. In this capacity, Nelnet student loan servicing works directly with borrowers to manage and repay their loans. While these loans are owned by the federal government, Nelnet contracts with the U.S. Department of Education to handle federal student loans in repayment. 

Nelnet Student Loan Servicing is the student loan arm of Nelnet Diversified Solutions. The company actually operates four separate business segments that offer other services such as payment processing and asset management to organizations and individuals. Nelnet is based in Lincoln, Nebraska.

As of March 31, 2020, Nelnet serviced $185.5 billion worth of student loans for 5.5 million borrowers.

One of Nelnet’s affiliated companies is another major federal student loan servicer, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services.

How Does Nelnet Work?

Borrowers with federal student loans don’t get to choose which servicers manage their accounts. Instead, after paying the funds out to you, the U.S. Department of Education assigns new loans to one of the 11 servicers with which it contracts.

If Nelnet is contacting you about student loans, then it is probably your servicer. Even so, check and verify your student loan servicer on the Federal Student Aid website to gain peace of mind that these communications from Nelnet are legit. 

If Nelnet is your student loan servicer, it is responsible for monthly billing for your student loans, as well as processing and applying your payments to the loan. Nelnet is also your point of contact if you wish to change repayment plans, apply for deferment or forbearance, or work toward student loan forgiveness.

The Federal Student Aid website stores all information on your federal student loans, from your student loan balances to the servicer for each account. Just log in with your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID username and password to view your information. 

Managing Nelnet Student Loans

If Nelnet is your servicer, be sure to set up an online account with Nelnet and start making payments. And when Nelnet or another student loan servicer reaches out to you, it's wise to respond quickly. If you put this off or ignore correspondence, you could risk falling behind on payments, damaging your credit, and even entering student loan delinquency or default.

You can manage your Nelnet student loans online. Just visit Nelnet.com and go through the process to create your online account. Once logged in, you can view all your account details and make student loan payments. 

You’ll also receive student loan updates and electronic account statements via your online account. Sign up for Nelnet’s eStatements and you’ll get these directly in your Nelnet inbox, which you can access through your account on the web or through the mobile app.

How to Contact Nelnet for Help

In addition to your online account, there are other ways to contact Nelnet. You can email Nelnet through its online email form by providing your personal details and your comment or request.

Here are some additional ways to contact Nelnet for assistance with your student loans.

  • Nelnet’s phone number is 1-888-486-4722, with service from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
  • Nelnet’s mailing address for general correspondence is P.O. Box 82561 Lincoln, NE 68501-2561

Nelnet has a different mailing address for California residents: P.O. Box 82578 Lincoln, NE 68501-2578 

If you wish to make payments by mail, check Nelnet’s website to find the correct mailing address for payments to your account.

Potential Changes to Nelnet

In June 2020, the federal government announced that it would undergo a major restructuring of its loan servicer agreements. The new agreement would only include five major servicers, excluding Nelnet. The company is exploring its options in an attempt to extend its contract, but there is a chance that any loans currently serviced by Nelnet would move to a different servicer in 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • Nelnet is one of the largest federal student loan servicers in the country, meaning it manages repayment plans for millions of borrowers.
  • If Nelnet services your loan, you should receive all communications and payment information from the company once your loan is established.
  • Borrowers can contact Nelnet and manage their accounts through the company's website.

Article Sources

  1. Nelnet. "About Nelnet," Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  2. Nelnet. "Nelnet Issues Statement Regarding Department of Education NextGen Business Process Operations Proposal." Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.

  3. Federal Student Aid. "Who's My Loan Servicer?" Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.