Important COVID-19 Federal Student Loan Information
Last Updated 09/09/2021
Nelnet, along with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) office of Federal Student Aid, is monitoring relief measures for federal student loans related to the COVID-19 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.
On August 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced a final extension of COVID-19 emergency relief measures for federal student loans. Student loan payments will restart after January 31, 2022.
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 January 31, 2022.
- Your interest rate remains at 0%, from March 13, 2020, through January 31, 2022.
- If you wish to make payments, you can do so anytime during the COVID-19 administrative forbearance (payment pause).
- Paused payments count toward income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), as long as you meet all other qualifications.
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-19 emergency relief applies to all 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 Eligible Student Loans
If you have qualifying student loans, you do not need to take any action to have benefits from the COVID-19 emergency applied. These benefits were applied automatically, beginning March 13, 2020.
For Nelnet accounts beginning with an E:
- No payments. You will not have to make payments on your eligible student loans through January 31, 2022.
- No interest is accumulating. The interest rate on your eligible student loans was lowered to 0% from March 13, 2020, through January 31, 2022.
- Your accounts have been updated. Nelnet notified all eligible borrowers of the payment pause, the 0% interest rate, the stopped collections, 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 July 31, 2022. Income-driven repayment (IDR) plan annual recertification due dates occurring between March 13, 2020, and July 31, 2022, are all now due no sooner than July 31, 2022. 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 payment pause ends.
- Example 1: If your IDR recertification was due on October 1, 2021, the new recertification date is October 1, 2022.
- Example 2: If your next IDR recertification was originally scheduled to occur on February 15, 2022, it is now scheduled for February 15, 2023.
Additional important information for loan holders whose accounts begin with an E:
Here are some things to keep in mind during this payment pause. 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 payment pause. Log in to your Nelnet.com account to make a one-time payment. Any payments you make during the period of 0% interest (March 13, 2020, through January 31, 2022) will be applied to principal once you've paid any unpaid interest that accrued prior to March 13, 2020.
- If you are on auto debit, Nelnet will suspend it during the COVID-19 payment pause. You can either make one-time payments or contact us to opt out of the payment pause and resume auto debit.
- You can get a refund for any payments, including auto debit, you make during the payment pause (beginning March 13, 2020). To request a refund, please contact us.
- Months in the payment pause count toward forgiveness. Paused payments count toward IDR and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) forgiveness as long as you meet all other qualifications.
- The COVID-19 payment pause is a non-capitalizing forbearance. Exiting the COVID-19 payment pause 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 payment pause began), your outstanding interest may capitalize after the COVID-19 payment pause 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:
Continuing to make payments during the COVID-19 payment pause 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 payment pause, 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 the U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 2837, Portland, OR 97208-2837. Note, you will not receive a monthly billing statement during the payment pause, 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 payment pause, 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 January 31, 2022.
If you opt out of the payment pause and then experience a change in income, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss options. You may be able to enroll in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan to lower your payments or opt back in to the payment pause.
No. A non-capitalizing administrative forbearance was applied to your account to bring it up to date before the COVID-19 payment pause was applied. Exiting the payment pause will not cause outstanding interest to capitalize. However, if you had any unpaid interest as of March 13, 2020 (when the payment pause began), your outstanding interest may capitalize after the payment pause ends. If you are interested in avoiding capitalization, you can contact us in advance to pay the interest owed before March 13, 2020. 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 and choose "Apply Now". Then start the application by choosing the button next to “Recalculate my monthly payment.” After the payment pause ends, 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.
Your loans have been placed into the administrative forbearance (payment pause). If your cancer deferment would have ended after Jan. 31, 2022, your loans will be placed back into that deferment automatically on Feb. 1, 2022.
If your cancer deferment recertification date fell between March 13, 2020, and July 31, 2022, you are not required to recertify, and your servicer has extended recertification date for an additional year. For example, if your cancer treatment deferment recertification date fell on April 15, 2020, your new due date for certification is now April 15, 2023.
You will be notified of your new recertification date before it is time to recertify.
Yes. However, consolidation can sometimes result in a higher interest rate. You may find that your interest rate is higher than what you paid previously once the 0% interest period ends. 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 consolidate into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Your loan payments will be paused, and your interest rate will remain at 0% until the end of the COVID-19 emergency relief period. For example, if your loans entered repayment on April 15, 2020, your payments will be paused from April 15, 2020, through January 31, 2022. The interest rate on your loan will be 0% during this period. This means that your first payment will not be due until after January 31, 2022. 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. Any interest that accrued on your loans before March 13, 2020, will capitalize (be added to your principal balance) at the end of your grace period. You can make payments during the your grace period to avoid capitalization of some or all of your outstanding interest.
The 0% interest rate period and payment pause have been extended until January 31, 2022. 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.
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 through December 31, 2020.
On December 4, 2020, the COVID-19 emergency relief measures were extended through January 31, 2021.
On January 20, 2021, the COVID-19 emergency relief measures were extended on ED-owned federal student loans through September 30, 2021.
On August 6, 2021, the COVID-19 emergency relief measures were extended until January 31, 2022.
Commercial Student Loan Borrowers Needing Relief Due to COVID-19
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:
- Call us to find out if your lender(s) offers an option to postpone your payments with a forbearance due to COVID-19.
- 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.
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. 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.
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