What Is Nelnet?

Definition

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.

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. The company is based in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Nelnet is probably your servicer if it's contacting you about student loans, but check and verify your student loan servicer on the Federal Student Aid website to gain peace of mind that these communications are legitimate.

Definition and Example of Nelnet

Nelnet is primarily a student loan servicer. It works directly with borrowers to manage and repay their loans. 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 serviced $513.5 billion worth of student loans for 15.8 million borrowers as of September 30, 2021.

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 servicer manages their accounts. The U.S. Department of Education assigns new loans to one of the 10 servicers with which it contracts after paying the funds out to you.

Note

Nelnet is responsible for monthly billing for your student loans if it's your student loan servicer, as well as processing and applying your payments to the loan. It is also your point of contact if you want 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 loan balances to the servicer for each account. Just log in with your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID username and password to review your information.

How to Use Nelnet

Be sure to set up an online account with Nelnet if it's your servicer. Start making payments. It's wise to respond quickly when Nelnet or any other student loan servicer reaches out to you. You could risk falling behind on payments, damaging your credit, or even entering student loan delinquency or default if you put this off or ignore correspondence.

Note

Just visit Nelnet.com to manage your Nelnet student loans online. Go through the process to create your online account. You can view all of your account details and make student loan payments once you're logged in.

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

How to Contact Nelnet for Help

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

Nelnet’s phone number is 888-486-4722. Service is available 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.

Note

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

Check Nelnet’s website to find the correct mailing address for payments to your account if you want to make payments by mail.

Potential Changes to Nelnet

The federal government announced in June 2020 that it would undergo a major restructuring of its loan servicer agreements. The agreement would only include five major servicers. Nelnet was excluded. But Nelnet was one of six companies that were retained as loan servicers when the restructuring was announced in October 2021, with greater oversight to protect borrowers.

Key Takeaways

  • Nelnet is one of the largest federal student loan servicers in the country. It manages repayment plans for millions of borrowers.
  • You should receive all communications and payment information from the company once your loan is established if Nelnet services your loan.
  • Borrowers can contact Nelnet and manage their accounts through the company's website, or they can phone for assistance. They can mail in payments as well.
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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Nelnet. "Nelnet Reports Third Quarter 2021 Results," Page 1.

  2. Federal Student Aid. "Who's My Loan Servicer?"

  3. Nelnet. "Nelnet Issues Statement Regarding Department of Education NextGen Business Process Operations Proposal."

  4. U.S. Department of Education. “U.S. Department of Education Increases Servicer Performance, Transparency, and Accountability Before Loan Payments Restart.”

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