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Important COVID-19 Federal Student Loan Information

Last Updated 3/10/2021

Nelnet, along with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) office of Federal Student Aid, is monitoring relief measures for federal student loans pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic national emergency.

You can log in to your Nelnet.com account at any time to see your loan status. You can also visit Federal Student Aid’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page at StudentAid.gov/coronavirus. The page includes information about relief to federal student loan borrowers, including those who have defaulted on their federal student loans. Please visit the page regularly for updates.

Latest Update:

On January 20, 2021, the president signed an executive order extending federal student loan relief measures through at least September 30, 2021.

Here’s what this means for your federal student loan(s) if your account number begins with E:

  • Your account will be updated to reflect the new extension and you will not have to make payments through at least September 30, 2021.
  • The interest rate remains at 0%, effective March 13, 2020, through at least September 30, 2021.
  • If you wish to make payments, you can do so anytime during the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance.
  • The number of months your loan(s) remains in the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance will continue to count toward Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), provided all other qualifying factors are met, even though no payments are required through at least September 30, 2021.

Nelnet will continue to keep you informed on this page if the presidential administration or Congress extends these relief measures further or makes additional changes to federal student loan policy.


Are My Loans Eligible for Payment Relief Under the COVID-19 Emergency Relief?

The COVID emergency relief measures applies only to federal student loans owned by ED. To see if your loans are eligible, find your account number by either looking at your billing statement or by logging in to your Nelnet.com account and going to Loan Details.

  • Accounts that start with an E are owned by ED and are eligible for a suspension of payments.
  • Accounts that start with a D or a J are owned by a bank, credit union, or other lender and are not eligible. Other options may be available. (See Nelnet and Commercial Lenders Offer Assistance for details.)

Temporary Relief for Your Student Loans Owned by ED

If you have qualifying student loans, you do not need to take any action to have benefits from the COVID emergency relief measures applied. These benefits were applied automatically, effective March 13, 2020.

For Nelnet accounts beginning with an E:

  • No payments. You will not have to make payments on your student loans owned by ED through at least September 30, 2021.
  • No interest is accumulating. The interest rate on your student loans owned by ED was reduced to 0%, effective March 13, 2020, through at least September 30, 2021.
  • Your accounts have been updated. Nelnet notified all eligible borrowers of the suspension of student loan payments, the 0% interest rate, the suspension of collection efforts, and that payments can still be made during this time if you choose to do so. You can log in to your Nelnet.com account at any time to check your loan status.
  • IDR recertifications are now due on or after October 31, 2021. Income-driven repayment (IDR) plan annual recertification due dates occurring between March 13, 2020, and October 31, 2021, are all now due no sooner than October 31, 2021. We will send notification of your new recertification due date before it is time to recertify. If you are on an IDR plan and your income has changed significantly, you can apply now for a new monthly payment amount that would start after the administrative forbearance ends.
    • Example 1: If your IDR recertification was due on May 15, 2020, the new recertification date is January 15, 2022.
    • Example 2: If your next IDR recertification was originally scheduled to occur on February 15, 2021, it is now scheduled for October 15, 2022.

Additional important information for loan holders whose accounts begin with an E:

Here are some things to keep in mind during this forbearance period. Some of these will apply to all borrowers, and some will apply to borrowers in particular circumstances.

  • If you wish to continue making payments, to save money in the long run, you can make payments anytime during the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance. Log in to your Nelnet.com account to make a one-time payment. Any payments made during the period of 0% interest (March 13, 2020 through at least September 30, 2021) will be applied to principal once any unpaid interest that accrued prior to March 13 is paid.
  • If you are on auto debit, Nelnet will suspend it during the COVID-19-related forbearance. You can either make one-time payments or contact us to opt out of the payment suspension and resume auto debit.
  • Payments, including auto debit, made between March 13, 2020 and the end of the COVID emergency relief measures, can be refunded. To request a refund, please contact us.
  • Months in forbearance count toward forgiveness. The number of months your loans remain in the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance WILL count toward IDR and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) forgiveness provided all other qualifying factors are met, even though no payments are required through at least September 30, 2021.
  • The relief forbearance is a non-capitalizing forbearance. Exiting the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance will not cause outstanding interest to capitalize. However, if your loans were in a deferment or forbearance status before March 13, 2020 (when the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance began), your outstanding interest may capitalize after the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance ends. It depends on your individual situation. Please contact us so we can look at your specific circumstances.

FAQs for Nelnet borrowers whose accounts begin with an E:


Timeline of Federal Action on Student Loan Flexibilities

On March 20, 2020, the office of Federal Student Aid began providing the following temporary relief on ED-owned federal student loans: suspension of loan payments, stopped collections on defaulted loans, and a 0% interest rate.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), became law providing for the above relief measures on ED-owned federal student loans through September 30, 2020.

On August 8, 2020, the COVID-19 emergency relief measures were extended on ED-owned federal student loans through December 31, 2020.

On January 20, 2021, the COVID-19 emergency relief measures were extended on ED-owned federal student loans through September 30, 2021.


Nelnet and Commercial Lenders Offer Assistance

Borrowers With Accounts Starting With D or J:

Accounts that start with a D or a J include commercial student loans owned by a bank, credit union, or other lender and are not eligible for relief offered under the CARES Act. However, these other options are available. You can:

  • Request an administrative forbearance via Nelnet.com/nelnetforms/emailus or by calling us.
  • Review other options such as an Economic Hardship or an Unemployment Deferment as you may qualify for an interest subsidy with a deferment but not a forbearance.
  • Log in to your Nelnet.com account and select Payments, then Repayment Options to start.

Commercial Student Loan Borrowers Needing Relief Due to COVID-19

If you call us, in most cases, we can apply a non-interest capitalizing disaster forbearance to your account, along with an administrative forbearance to cover payments up to 269 days past due. During this disaster forbearance, Nelnet will:

  • Suspend payments with a 90-day COVID-19 forbearance
  • Share the forbearance status with credit reporting agencies
  • Stop collections

Note: This relief is applied in 90-day increments. If you need an additional 90-day period of relief due to COVID, call us at 888.486.4722 to request an additional 90-day COVID-19 forbearance. These extended forbearance options are subject to your lender’s approval.

Interest will continue to accrue at the rate shown in your promissory note during a discretionary forbearance, an administrative forbearance, and/or a disaster forbearance, but the interest during this relief period will not be capitalized to the outstanding principal balance at the end.

Commercial Student Loan Borrowers who are 270+ Days Past Due

Please call us for assistance at 888.486.4722 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Eastern) Monday – Friday. After you confirm an obligation to repay the debt on defaulted loans, Nelnet will place an interest capping, discretionary forbearance on your loans to reduce your delinquency to less than 270 days past due. Then you’ll be eligible for a non-capping administrative forbearance to cover past due payments (to bring your account up to date) along with a non-interest capitalizing disaster forbearance to suspend payments for up to 90 days.

FAQs for commercial student loan borrowers


Additional Coronavirus Information

The health and well-being of our associates and customers is very important to us. We’ve been taking proactive steps to protect our associates and communities and are prepared to serve our customers as the situation evolves with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


If You're Impacted

Our call centers are fully staffed by our associates who are working from the safety of their home. Any time you have questions you can call us. Please know that you can also access your accounts 24/7 on our website, mobile app, or automated voice response system to:

  • Check your account balance and loan status
  • Find out when your next payment is due
  • Get confirmation of a recent payment
  • Make a payment
  • Request a deferment or forbearance
  • Request a repayment plan change
  • Get your IRS Form 1098-E for the amount of student loan interest you paid last year
  • Update your contact information

You can find answers to other questions you may have in our FAQs.

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