For those students who need financial assistance for college, there are two types of loans available: Federal Student Loans and Private Student Loans (also known as alternative student loans).
Federal Student Loans are issued directly by the federal government, while private loans are typically made by private banks, credit unions, state agencies, or other financial institutions.
Federal student loans require repayment with interest. All federal student loans funded after June 2010 are funded through the Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP), which is owned by the Department of Education. Terms, conditions, and interest rates are all set by the federal government.
Private student loans help bridge the gap between the actual cost of your education and federal student aid that you receive.
Banks, credit unions, and other types of lenders all issue private student loans, and do not require completion of the FASFA (the borrower will have to fill out a self-certification form). Interest rates, loan limits, terms, and conditions, are set by the lender—not by the federal government.
Your ability to qualify for a loan, the amount borrowed, and the terms and conditions associated rely on a number of different factors, which can include your credit history, whether or not you have a co-borrower, your co-borrower’s credit history, and your choice of school or course of study.
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Nelnet Student Loans
Nelnet is no doubt one of the biggest names and also one of the most preferred in the student loan industry, since 2018 when it acquired a major loan servicer, namely Great Lakes Educational Loan Services. The combined company now reportedly handles federal loans for about 5 million people or 1.5% of the entire U.S. population. If you’ve found that Nelnet is also your Federal Student Loan Servicer, then it’s worth taking a moment to learn about some of the options you have as you tackle repayment.
If you are planning to navigate the student loan industry or trying to handle on your debt, it’s always advisable to have a proper understanding of the debt how it should be managed before you get into it. The department of education works with nine financial companies to service the educational financial needs of the students, Nelnet being one of them.
As a loan servicer, Nelnet administers the debt by processing payments, generating statements and communicating with the borrower. It also provides these services on behalf of third- party lenders, it also extends some student debt itself, as some lenders have sold their student loans to Nelnet. For more info, check out Nelnet student loan servicing review.
5 Features of Nelnet You Must be Aware Of
If you have chosen Nelnet then you must be aware of the features of Nelnet and it is equally important to be aware of the fact that you can view and manage your account on Nelnet’s official website or mobile app. You can contact the company via phone, online chat, and email.
Here are 5 more things you must know if Nelnet is your loan servicer:
Pay By Group
Pay by group is one of the best features of Nelnet. It’s easy to pay your loans by group. Like for example, you can opt to pay off your highest-interest loans first if you’re pursuing the debt avalanche strategy for repayment. If you’ve had trouble figuring out how your payments are distributed, you’ll be happy to know that the process is relatively easy with Nelnet.
If you want to pay extra on a specific group of loans:
Go to the “home” page and select the “make a payment” tab.
Then proceed to “pay now” and under “select payment option”, choose “pay by group”.
Click on the left-handed arrow to expand the box in order to display all your loans.
After this process, you can sort your loans by interest rate, balance or due date. On the right-hand side, you can divvy up your payments and start putting more towards certain loans, based on your payoff strategy.
Autopay or Text Alerts to Avoid Late Payments
It’s kind of difficult to remember when your loan payments are due. In order to ensure your payments are always on time, you have a better way, which is signing up for autopay. This feature will not only keep you on track but just like with many other services and lenders, using autopay with Nelnet could lower your interest rate by 0.25%.
However, If you’re not comfortable with set-it-and-forget-it automatic payments, Nelnet offers text message reminders of when payments are due. You can also get alerts when your loan payment is past the due date, when you have a new statement ready for viewing or if your loan status has changed.
To sign up for this, go to “My Info and Preferences” and then find “Text Alerts” on the far right corner. Input your information and save the changes. You will need to confirm via text message that you did sign up for this service.
Nelnet offers a range of convenient ways to access your information and pay your bills, including their mobile app, online bill payment as well as phone payments, though you can still send in payments by mail if you prefer.
Get help becoming ‘Financially Fit’
Not only can you manage your student loan payments on Nelnet’s website, but you can also learn a bit about personal finance.
On the Nelnet homepage, there’s a Get Financially Fit section where you can learn about building and maintaining credit, avoiding identity theft and the basics of personal finance and budgeting.
If you need assistance or have questions, you can contact Nelnet account specialists via online chat, by phone at 1-888-486-4722 or email. Nelnet’s Facebook and Twitter pages also have helpful tips for managing both your student loans and improving your financial health.
Apply for Deferment or Forbearance
If you are having trouble making payments on your loan, you can apply for deferment or forbearance through Nelnet’s site. These options allow you to postpone your loan repayment for certain situations, ranging from job loss and other hardships to going back to school or serving in the military.
The eligibility requirements and terms vary, but deferment options may include unemployment deferment, working mother deferment, parental leave deferment, and domestic volunteer deferment. Note, however, that your loans will continue to accrue interest, even as you pause repayment.
To find out if you qualify for deferment or forbearance, you can get started by logging into your account and clicking “Postpone My Payment” to apply. You can also call Nelnet at 1-888-486-4722 for further information
Print your Tax Info
The most common mistake people make is they don’t deduct their student loan interest on their taxes. But the point is that you can deduct up to $2500 in student loan interest on your taxes each year if you are repaying that amount on your student loans.
You can then print out IRS form 1098-E, which shows how much you have paid in student loan interest. However, If you paid more than $2,500, the amount that can be deducted still stays at $2,500.
Here are some frequently asked question about Nelnet and its loan servicing operations:
Is Nelnet good for student loans?
Nelnet is also known as one of the largest student loan servicers. Nelnet definitely gets its share of complaints registered with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. And like many other services, Nelnet has also been the subject of borrower lawsuits, including loan forgiveness.
That being said, Nelnet enjoys a better reputation than some rival servicers.
And while we’re on the subject, note that the servicers aren’t the only source of trouble for borrowers, student loan scams are a constant danger for anyone with school debt. Be wary about anything that sounds too good to be true, and if you receive a suspicious offer, file a complaint online or by calling 1-855- 411-2372. You can also contact the office of your State Attorney General.
Can Nelnet student loans be forgiven?
As a loan servicer, Nelnet administers loans of lenders, and therefore it isn’t able to forgive your loans. However, under government guidelines, some borrowers may qualify for federal student loan forgiveness, such as working for the government or a nonprofit. Check out some of your forgiveness options here, Nelnet student loan forgiveness.
Does Nelnet consolidate student loans?
The Department of Education allows borrowers to consolidate multiple federal student loans into one loan via the direct consolidation loan program and choose their servicer. Nelnet doesn’t consolidate your loans per se, but it is one of the eligible services that can administer your newly consolidated loan.
Is Nelnet a direct student loan program?
As described above, Nelnet offers several different types of service: It loans money directly to students and acts as the servicer for those accounts, services some federal loans from the Department of Education and it also provides customer services for third-party lenders. In some instances, lenders have sold their outstanding loans to Nelnet, and in this case the company both owns and services those accounts.
We all want to work towards managing our finances and juggle our student loan payments. It’s always helpful to have a strong student loan servicer in your corner. Nelnet offers the latest in online, mobile, text and phone customer service to support its borrowers. Its website offers resources and information to better manage debt and improve your personal finances.
At the same time, the complaints referenced in this article show that Nelnet, like other services, isn’t perfect, so be sure to speak up if you think they’ve dropped the ball.
Do you currently have Loans being serviced by Nelnet and want to try a different lender? You might want to give Refinancing a thought. Interested and want to learn more? Check out the Best Companies to Refinance Your Student Loans.