When taking out a loan, it is important to look for the best based on what your needs are. With this Nelnet student loans review, anyone who’s looking for either a private student loan or a student loan refinancing will have an idea of whether the lending company is worth dealing with or not.
In an article published by Forbes online, it says that as of 2020, student loan debt in the United States has already reached about $1.56 trillion, which was collectively loaned by 45 million borrowers.
With such an increase in number, it is not surprising why student loan debt became the second-highest consumer debt category — next to mortgage debt.
While there could be a lot of different reasons behind the increase, one thing’s for sure, looking at it on a positive way, it says a lot about how people today (especially the young ones) value education that no matter what situations they’re in, they are likely to find ways – in this case, loan money — to be able to pursue education.
In the country today, there are a lot of lenders around. While some are focused on providing usual types of consumer loans only, others provide student loans.
To be honest, there are a lot of student loan providers in the country today, and when they’re too many, it can get overwhelming sometimes. You know, choosing which one is the best among a sea of options.
One of the existing student loan providers nowadays is Nelnet. Thus, this Nelnet student loans review, which aims to provide all the important details every student loan borrower must know before signing a deal with the lending company.
In particular, we are going to provide answers to the following very important questions:
- What is Nelnet?
- What products does Nelnet offer?
- What do borrowers need to know about Nelnet student loans?
- Who qualifies for a Nelnet student loan?
- How to apply for a Nelnet student loan?
- What are the pros and cons of Nelnet student loans?
WHAT IS NELNET?
Nelnet was founded in 1996. While it does have several offices in different parts of the world, the company is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Currently, Nelnet has over 6,500 associates working together to serve various communities and in making their customers’ dreams come true.
Nelnet is known for providing some of the best student loan rates in the country.
The company, primarily known as a student loan servicing company, also provides various services including consumer finance, telecommunications, and K-12 and higher education.
As a student loan servicer, the company works directly with borrowers — helping them, manage, at the same time repay their existing student loans.
Although the loans are owned by the federal government, the lending company contracts with the U.S. Department of Education to handle repayments of federal student loans.
Nelnet Student Loan Servicing is the student loan arm of Nelnet Diversified Solutions.
On its company website, it says that Nelnet operates in four particular business segments, which include the following:
- Nelnet Business Services – Payment technology, school administration software, and community management solutions for K-12 schools, higher education institutions, churches, and businesses.
- Nelnet Communications Services – Connects homes and businesses in Nebraska and Colorado with fiber internet, TV, and phone services.
- Nelnet Diversified Services – Provides customer service for student loan borrowers, technology related to student loan customer service, and outsourcing services for guaranty agencies.
- Nelnet Financial Services – Private student loans, student loan refinancing, and life and disability insurance to assist students and families.
The company is driven to ensure they get to live by the company mission to serve customers, associates, and communities, and to realize its vision of (as mentioned earlier) making dreams possible.
Meanwhile, if you want to know more about Nelnet student loan servicing, here’s an informative video created by Student Loan Planner. You should check this out:
WHAT PRODUCTS DOES NELNET OFFER?
When shopping for a student loan provider, it is important not just to learn about who and what the company is all about, but also the products and services they offer.
A lender with various options is ideal so as a borrower, you have a lot of choices to choose from. You know sometimes, some borrowers do not even know yet what they actually need until they get to see and understand what the available products are.
With Nelnet, we like the fact that it does offer various services. When it comes to repayment plans, in particular, Nelnet offers borrowers the following:
- Standard Repayment Plan – This type of repayment plan is the most common plan. With Standard Repayment, what happens is that payments are spread equally all throughout the life of the loan. According to the Nelnet website, the required 120 payments for PSLF should be made under an Income-Driven Repayment Plan. Any payments made under the Standard Plan count toward the required 120 payments. However, it requires full repayment in 10 years, and the borrower would have no loan balance left to forgive.”
- Graduate Repayment Plan – Unlike the previous one, with this plan, payments increase over time. Payment amounts increase every 24 months until the loan balance is fully paid. This type of repayment plan is ideal for people who are expecting to make more money in the future years. As their salary increases, they become more capable of making payments.
- Extended Repayment Plan – With this type of plan, borrowers are given more time to repay the loan by allowing you to increase the repayment term on your student loan. It is important to note, however, that while this plan makes monthly payments more affordable, it will take a longer amount of time to pay off the loan (up to 25 years), and that borrowers will technically pay more interest.
- Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan – This particular repayment plan can be used with Federal Family Education Loans (FFELP). It allows the borrower to adjust the minimum monthly payment based on his or her income for up to five years. However, it is important to note that after five years, the account will defer to either the Standard or Graduated Repayment Plan.
- Income-Driven Repayment Plan – If you want a more affordable monthly payment, then, this plan is the best option. Your monthly payment amount is tailored to your income. However, to ensure eligibility, the borrower needs to submit his or her income and family size annually.
As you can see, the company has diverse options to choose from, and it all boils down to what you are most comfortable with, needless to say, what you can afford.
WHAT DO BORROWERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NELNET STUDENT LOANS?
When looking for the right student loan provider, or any type of loan for that matter, make sure to do your own research. Do not just settle for a lending company because it is popular or because you saw an ad and you think the offer is good.
Always make it a point to check every single detail and compare it to other lenders. By doing so, you are doing yourself a very important favor – ensuring you are signing up with the best deal possible.
There are a few factors to consider when getting student loans, in this case, a federal loan repayment plan. This includes the following items:
- Interest Rates
- Loan Amounts
- Loan Terms
- Payment options
- Other Features
Now, let’s get into details —
It is important to know that unlike other lenders since Nelnet is a federal student loan servicer, the rates they follow are based on federal student loans.
Currently, the interest rate of Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans for undergraduates is 2.75%. Meanwhile, the interest rate on Direct Unsubsidized Loans is 4.30% for graduate and professional students.
Meanwhile, for current or prospective students who opt for Nelnet private student loans, the company offers such loans through U-fi From Nelnet.
For this particular loan type, fixed-rate student loans start from as low as 4.70% while variable ones from 1.55%.
For Nelnet private loans, in particular, loan amounts start at $1,000 and can go as high as $125,000 for undergraduate programs, while $500,000 for graduate medical programs.
Loan terms vary depending on the borrower’s eligibility, plus the repayment plan used.
Also, if the borrower has obtained the loan from other lenders that use Nelnet as their servicer, the rates as well as loan terms will depend on the lender.
Apart from interest rates, another important factor to consider when taking out a student loan or a repayment plan is the fees involved. Fees vary from one lender to another, thus, make sure to also look into this when shopping for a lender.
As mentioned earlier, Nelnet is a federal student loan servicer, which means it follows the rules implemented for federal student loans.
In this case, for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Nelnet charges a 1.059% loan fee.
Once your loan application is approved, payments automatically come next.
Unlike other student loan providers, or in the case of Nelnet, a federal student loan servicer, the company does offer a variety of payment options such as the following:
- Autopay – By choosing this method, your monthly payment is automatically deducted from your account. This is the most ideal payment method of all as it ensures you will never forget making payments. What’s also good about auto payments is that most lenders offer a lower interest rate when a borrower applies for this payment method.
- Online Bill Payment (Through Your Bank) – Apart from autopay, another convenient way to make payments is through your bank’s online bill payment service. However, make sure to check with your bank first as some may incur a fee.
- Multiple Payment Options – Nelnet provides its customers with various options to pay bills — could be through online, via mail, mobile app, or through telephone.
Nelnet offers deferment options for borrowers who are going through financial hardship, unemployment, as well as those who opted to go back to school or are currently on active duty military services.
Depending on the borrower’s loan type, he or she may not accrue interest while on deferment.
For those who are working an internship, performing a specific type of community service, or those who are going through financial difficulty, you may check with Nelnet as you may be qualified to postpone payments with forbearance. However, it is important to note that all loans accrue interest while on forbearance that is why it’s highly recommended to pay at least the monthly interest to avoid interest capitalization. Furthermore, forbearance helps resolve delinquency on the borrower’s account.
Apart from the above-mentioned factors to consider when considering taking a student loan or a Nelnet repayment plan, the lending company also provides the following additional loan features:
- Due Date Adjustment – With Nelnet, adjusting payment due dates is possible. This is very helpful for those with multiple loans with different due dates. Just call Nelnet and ask them to adjust the dates to one particular date during the month so you get to pay them all at once.
- Text Reminders – To ensure you get to pay your monthly payments on time, all you have to do is sign up for text alerts. This helps you keep reminded of your dues.
- Bundling Similar Loans – Nelnet also allows borrowers to group their loans based on the qualities they have in common.
If by now you already have decided to apply for Nelnet student loans or that you want to know more about the products and services offered by the company, all you have to do is to get in touch with Nelnet through the following channels:
Phone: United States:
United States – 1-888-486-4722 (Service from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday)
International – 1-303-696-3625
P.O. Box 82561
Lincoln, NE 68501-2561
For California residents
P.O. Box 82578
Lincoln, NE 68501-2578
WHO QUALIFIES FOR A NELNET STUDENT LOAN?
At this point in our Nelnet student loans review, we are going to talk about who qualifies for a student loan for the said lender.
When you are shopping for a student loan provider, it is important to check the qualifications set by the company to ensure you are not wasting time and effort.
With Nelnet, since it is a federal student loan serviced, student loan borrowers are not able to get a loan directly from the company. Instead, the company will service federal student loans that borrowers obtain from the country’s Department of Education.
To put it simply, you need to check and ensure you qualify for a federal student loan from the Department of Education to be able to get the chance of getting a loan from Nelnet.
However, it is also important to take note that usually you do not get to decide who the lender would be. It usually depends on the department.
Anyway, to qualify for federal student loans, all you have to do is fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The borrower has to fill out the FAFSA for every school year that he or she hopes to get a loan for.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A NELNET STUDENT LOAN?
As mentioned above, student loan borrowers cannot go directly to Nelnet to apply for a loan (unless you are a private student loan borrower).
So, for those who are obtaining a service federal student loans from the Department of Education, all they have to do is to fill out a FAFSA — as mentioned earlier. Again, make sure to fill out the FAFSA for each school year that you hope to get a loan for. Make sure to complete the FAFSA as soon as you can because some sources of federal aid are limited.
Once you complete the FAFSA, you automatically become eligible for need-based loans like Direct Subsidized Loans, wherein eligibility for this type of loan depends on the household income.
When a student loan borrower’s course borrows through the Department of Education, he or she does not have the freedom to choose who the lender will be. Rather, it is the department that will assign you to a loan servicer like Nelnet.
For private student loan borrowers, you may proceed to Nelnet’s company website to kick off your student loan application process.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF NELNET STUDENT LOANS?
This Nelnet student loans review will not be complete without our list of pros and cons. This basically sums up everything about Nelnet student loans. So, here they are —
- Multiple Repayment Plan Options – Nelnet provides student loan borrowers with multiple repayment plans depending on what they can and cannot afford — as well as depending on how much you earn on a monthly basis.
- Forgive Loan Balance – Through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program or once the borrower has achieved a certain number of student loan payments, the remaining loan balance may be forgiven. This depends on the requirements set by the company.
- Option for Loan Consolidation – There is an option for loan consolidation with the Department of Education.
- Forbearance and/or Deferment – Nelnet allows loans to be put into forbearance or deferment if the borrower goes through financial challenges, are in a residency program, or have opted to go back to school.
- Borrowers do not get to choose the federal loan servicer, which means it is likely that he or she may not end up with Nelnet. The Department of Education has the say who a borrower’s servicer will be.
- The company has a lot of consumer complaints in the past that some thought it’s a scam.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON NELNET STUDENT LOANS
To sum it all up, Nelnet, just like other student loan providers out there does have its share of good and bad. While it may have failed a lot of borrowers in the past, the company continues to strive and be better — which perhaps is the reason why it still exits these days.