Important Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Last Updated 08/26/2020
Nelnet, along with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Federal Student Aid, is monitoring the coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency.
On March 20, 2020, the Secretary of Education directed the office of Federal Student Aid to provide the following relief on ED-owned federal student loans:
- suspend loan payments
- stop collections on defaulted loans
- set interest rates to 0% for a period of 60 days
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed, and the president signed into law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provides for the above relief measures through September 30, 2020.
On August 8, 2020, President Trump directed the Secretary to continue to suspend loan payments, stop collections, and waive interest on ED-held student loans until December 31, 2020.
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.
Are My Loans Eligible for Payment Relief Under the CARES Act?
The CARES Act 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 below 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 CARES Act applied. These benefits were applied automatically, effective March 13, 2020.
For Nelnet accounts beginning with an E:
- No payments through the end of the year. You will not have to make payments on your student loans owned by ED through December 31, 2020.
- No interest is accumulating. The interest rate on your student loans owned by ED was reduced to 0%, effective March 13, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
- 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 March 31, 2021. Income-driven repayment (IDR) annual recertification due dates occurring between March 13, 2020, and March 31, 2021, are all now due no sooner than March 31, 2021. We will send notification of your new recertification due date before it is time to recertify.
- Example 1: If your IDR recertification was due on May 15, 2020, the new recertification date is May 15, 2021.
- Example 2: If your next IDR recertification was originally scheduled to occur on February 15, 2021, it is now scheduled for February 15, 2022.
Additional important information for loan holders whose accounts begin with an E:
- 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 December 31, 2020) 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 December 31, 2020, 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 December 31, 2020.
- 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 December 31, 2020. 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:
Continuing to make payments through December 31, 2020, could help you pay down your loan balance more quickly because the full amount of a payment will be applied to principal once all interest accrued prior to March 13, 2020, is paid. There is no penalty for partial (less than the normal regular monthly payment amount) payments during the forbearance. If you want to make payments during the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance, simply log in to your Nelnet.com account and select Make a Payment. You can also mail payments for your account beginning with an E to U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 2837, Portland, OR 97208-2837. Note, you will not receive a monthly billing statement during the forbearance, but you can view your account details when you log in to your Nelnet.com account.
Since auto debit is suspended during the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance, you can make one-time payments online or via mail. Log in to your Nelnet.com account and select Make a Payment, or mail payments for your account beginning with an E to U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 2837, Portland, OR 97208-2837.
Yes. To opt out, you can contact us or email us at Help@Nelnet.net. If you opt out, payments will be due every month and you’ll receive either online or paper billing statements, depending on your communication preference you have selected on your account. No interest will accrue through December 31, 2020.
If you opt out of the forbearance and then experience a change in income, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss options, such as enrolling in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan to lower your payments or opting back in to the administrative forbearance that ends December 31, 2020.
No. A non-capitalizing administrative forbearance was applied to your account to bring it up to date before the CARES Act forbearance was applied effective March 13, 2020. 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 December 31, 2020. If you are interested in avoiding the capitalization event you may contact your servicer in advance to remit payment(s) to satisfy the interest owed prior to March 13th. Please contact us so we can look at your specific circumstances.
If you are on an IDR plan and your income has changed significantly, you can update your information and get a new payment amount based on your current income. To do so, visit StudentAid.gov/idr, choose “Apply Now,” and then start the application by choosing the button next to “Recalculate my monthly payment.” After the administrative forbearance ends on December 31, 2020, your monthly payments will resume at the new amount.
If you would like to enroll in an IDR plan for the first time, visit StudentAid.gov/idr, choose “Apply Now,” and start the application.
Yes, your loans will be placed into administrative forbearance. Cancer treatment deferment annual recertification due dates occurring between March 13, 2020, and March 31, 2021, are all now due no sooner than March 31, 2021. We will send notification of your new recertification due date before it is time to recertify. When the administrative forbearance ends on December 31, 2020, you will be placed back into the cancer treatment deferment.
- Example 1: If your cancer treatment deferment recertification was due on May 15, 2020, the new recertification date is May 15, 2021.
- Example 2: If your next cancer treatment deferment recertification was originally scheduled to occur on February 15, 2021, it is now scheduled for February 15, 2022.
Yes. However, if you consolidate, after the 0% interest rate period ends after December 31, 2020, the interest rate on your loan may be higher than what you were paying before you consolidated your loans. In addition, when you consolidate, any outstanding interest will be added to your principal balance (capitalized). If you consolidate, you will also lose credit for any qualifying IDR or PSLF payments you may have previously made. You can call us at 866.426.6765 for information about how your loan balance, interest rate, and total amount to be paid would change if you consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
You will receive administrative forbearance (and your loans will remain at the 0% interest rate mentioned in the section above this one) for any period after your loans enter repayment between March 13, 2020, and December 31, 2020. For example, if your loans entered repayment on April 15, 2020, you will receive a forbearance from April 15, 2020, through December 31, 2020, and the interest rate on your loan will be 0% during this period. This means that your first payment will not be due until after December 31, 2020. You will receive a billing statement about three weeks before your payment is due showing your due date and the payment amount. Note that entering repayment is a capitalization event, which means any interest that accrued on your loans prior to March 13 will be capitalized (added to the principal balance) at the end of your grace period. You can make payments during the forbearance and prior to entering repayment if you wish to avoid capitalization of some or all of the outstanding interest that accrued on your loans prior to March 13, 2020.
The 0% interest period and administrative forbearance are currently set to expire on December 31, 2020. We’ll notify you via mail or email to remind you that you will need to start making payments again. Make sure your contact information is up to date in your Nelnet.com account.
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. Other options are available if you’re in a current repayment status. 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 who are 31+ days past due
In most cases, Nelnet will automatically apply a non-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 for 90 days or until September 30, 2020, whichever is earlier
- Share the forbearance status with credit reporting agencies
- Stop collections
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 a 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 current) along with a non-capitalizing disaster forbearance to suspend payments for an additional 90 days or until September 30, 2020, whichever is earlier.
FAQs for commercial student loan borrowers
Yes, if both the borrower and co-maker request the forbearance within seven days of each other.
No. Any unpaid interest was not capitalized when the administrative forbearance was applied to your account to bring it up to date. We also placed a natural disaster forbearance on your account to postpone payments for up to 90 additional days. It is important to note that any unpaid interest may capitalize (be added to your account balance) at the end of the natural disaster forbearance.
If there was any unpaid, accrued interest on your account before the forbearance was applied, it may be necessary to recalculate your regular monthly payment amount after the forbearance ends. If that occurs, your new regular monthly payment amount will be reflected on your monthly billing statement and in your Nelnet.com account. You can also select Documents, then Payment Schedule in your Nelnet.com account to view your updated payment amount and schedule.
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.
It's our goal to provide the best service possible to you. We're in this together. We're here if you need us.