Resources for Servicemembers
Nelnet is grateful to those who serve or have served, and we recognize the sacrifices you have made for our country.
As a member of the U.S. military, you’re entitled to special benefits from the Department of Education and the Department of Defense. You can find a comprehensive list of these benefits provided by the Department of Education by downloading this Military Student Loan Benefits Guide or you can call us at 855.324.4027. Learn about additional programs below.
Benefits Available to U.S. Servicemembers
Members of the armed forces have several options available, depending upon your individual situation.
Your military service may qualify you for one of these loan forgiveness opportunities.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Members of the military may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Eligibility Requirements *
- Only federal Direct Loans are eligible.
- You must be employed full-time at a qualifying government agency or nonprofit organization. If you are a contractor, your employment doesn’t count toward PSLF unless you are directly employed by a qualifying employer. If you are employed in more than one qualifying part-time job at the same time, you will be considered full-time if you work a combined average of at least 30 hours per week with your employers.
- You must make 120 on-time qualifying payments or the equivalent (or receive credit for payments).
- You must be in a qualifying repayment plan (e.g., Revised Pay As You Earn, Income-Based Repayment, Pay As You Earn, or Income-Contingent Repayment plans).
*Important Limited PSLF Waiver: On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education's office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced a temporary period during which borrowers may receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for PSLF. This change will apply to student loan borrowers with Direct Loans, those who have already consolidated into the Direct Loan Program, and those who consolidate into the Direct Loan Program by October 31, 2022.
Under the waiver, FSA will also be updating borrower accounts (with additional credit for payments) to include periods of deferment and forbearance for specific military related service in the eligible PSLF repayment period counts.
Learn more about how limited PSLF may impact your loansabout how this limited PSLF waiver may impact your loans. Act soon — the waiver ends October 31, 2022. You can also contact us with questions.
Total and Permanent Disability Discharge
If you are unable to work because of a total and permanent disability, you may be eligible for a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge of your Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), Perkins Loans, Direct Loans, or Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant service obligation.
A borrower may be considered totally and permanently disabled in one of the following three ways (additional details apply):
- The Total and Permanent Disability servicer regularly receives information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) identifying veterans who may qualify for TPD discharge.
- The Total and Permanent Disability servicer regularly receives information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) identifying individuals who may qualify for TPD discharge.
- You can submit a certification from a doctor of medicine (M.D.) or osteopathy (D.O.) who is licensed to practice in the United States that you are totally and permanently disabled.
For more information on how to apply for TPD discharge or to check the status of your application, you can sign up and create an account on DisabilityDischarge.com or call (888) 303-7818 for assistance.
You can also visit StudentAid.gov for more information on the TPD discharge process.Apply for Total and Permanent Disability Discharge
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
The SCRA limits the interest on all federal student loans that were acquired prior to military service to no more than 6%.
If you are currently serving on active duty service, log in to your Nelnet account to find out if you are eligible for benefits through the SCRA on the federal student loans you took out prior to your active duty, or send a copy of your military orders, along with a signed and dated letter requesting the 6% interest rate to Nelnet.
To apply for SCRA, complete the Interest Rate Limitation Request Form and send it to Nelnet.How to Apply
0% Interest While Serving in a Hostile Area
This benefit is for specific loan types only.
- This benefit is available for Federal Direct Loans, disbursed on or after October 1, 2008, only.
- For Federal Direct Consolidation Loans, the underlying loans cannot have been disbursed prior to October 1, 2008.
- If you're serving on active duty in an area of hostilities in which service qualifies for special pay under 37 USC 310, you're eligible for 0% interest on your loans for up to 60 months.
To request this interest rate, submit one of the following forms of documentation:
- Military Deferment application with Section 4 completed by an authorized military official. Note that question 6 is specific to the Hostile Duty 0% interest accrual benefit.
- A letter from your commanding officer that shows the beginning and ending dates of your eligible service.
- Leave and earning statements covering each period of Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay. Submit all applicable statements.
HEROES Act Waiver for Income-Driven Repayment Plan Recertification for Servicemembers
The HEROES Act Waiver allows you or someone on your behalf, such as your school, spouse, or other family member, to request an extension of the reduced payment amount on your Income-Driven Repayment Plan. The waiver is available for Servicemembers experiencing these conditions:
- Serving on active duty during a war, other military operation, or national emergency
- Serving on Active Duty means a reserve member of the Armed Forces is ordered to active duty in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency, regardless of the location at which that active duty service is performed. Active duty also includes any other member of an Armed Force on active duty in connection with any war, operation, or emergency or subsequent actions of conditions who has been assigned to a duty station at a location other than the location at which the individual is normally assigned, including full-time duty in the active military service of the United States. It excludes active duty for training or attendance at a service school (e.g., the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Naval Academy).
- Military Operation means a contingency operation as defined in 10 U.S.C. Section 101(a)(13), that is designated by the Secretary of Defense as an operation in which members of the armed forces are or may become involved in military actions, operations, or hostilities against an enemy of the United States or against an enemy of the United States or against an opposing military force, or results in the call or order to, or retention on, active duty of members of the uniformed services under Section 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12304a, 12305, or 12406 of this title, Chapter 15 of this title, Section 712 of Title 14, or any other provision of law during a war or during a national emergency declared by the President or Congress.
- National Emergency means you are residing in, or employed in, an area declared a disaster area by any federal, state, or local official in connection with a national emergency declared by the President of the United States.
- Performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war, or other military operation, or national emergency
- Qualifying National Guard Duty includes service as a member of the National Guard on full-time National Guard duty under a call to active service authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense of the United States for a period of more than 30 consecutive days in connection with a war, another military operation, or national emergency declared by the President and supported by federal funds.
To request the HEROES Act Waiver, simply call us at 855.324.4027 or email MilitarySolutions@Nelnet.com.How to Apply
This deferment is available if you’re serving in the military on active duty, or in the National Guard on qualifying duty, during a war, other military operation, or national emergency. Currently, there is no cumulative maximum time limit for this deferment.
Qualifications for eligible status for the military deferment:
- Active duty is defined as full-time duty in the active military service of the United States as defined in 10 USC 101(d)(1), but does not include training or attendance at a service school.
- Serving on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency means service by an individual who is (1) a Reserve of an Armed Force ordered to active duty under 10 USC 12301(a), 12301(g), 12302, 12304, or 12306; (2) a retired member of an Armed Force ordered to active duty under 10 USC 688 for service in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency, regardless of the location at which the active duty service is performed; or (3) any other member of an Armed Force on active duty in connection with the emergency or subsequent actions or conditions who has been assigned to a duty station at a location other than the location where the member is normally assigned.
- Qualifying National Guard duty is defined as training or other duty, other than inactive, performed by a member of the National Guard on full-time National Guard duty as defined in 10 USC 101(d)(5) under a call to active service authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense. The training or other duty must be performed for more than 30 consecutive days in connection with a war, other military operation, or national emergency as declared by the President and supported by federal funds. Active duty does not include employment in a full-time, permanent position in the National Guard unless you are reassigned and move locations.
- A military operation means a contingency operation as defined in 10 USC 101(a)(13). This operation is (1) designed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense as an operation in which members of the Armed Forces are or may become involved in military actions, operations, or hostilities against an enemy of the U.S, or against an opposing military force; or (2) results in the call or order to, or retention on, active duty of members of the uniformed services under 10 USC 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12305, or 12406; 10 USC Chapter 15; or any other provision of law during a war or during a national emergency declared by the President or Congress.
- National emergency means a national emergency by reason of certain terrorist attacks declared by the President on Sept. 14, 2001, or subsequent national emergencies declared by the President by reason of terrorist attacks.
To apply for this deferment, complete the Military Service and Post-Active Duty Student Deferment Request and send it to Nelnet.How to Apply
Armed Forces/Public Health Service Deferment
This deferment is for those on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States.
- Maximum eligibility is three years, and is a combined limit with Public Health Service and NOAA deferments.
- This deferment is only available for Stafford and SLS borrowers who are not new borrowers on or after 7/1/93 and for PLUS parent loans prior to 8/15/83.
- To qualify, you must be on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. Please note that Federal Consolidation Loans are not eligible for this deferment.
Note: If you’re enlisted in a reserve component of the Armed Forces or the National Guard (while on active duty status in the Army or Air Force), reserves may qualify for this deferment only if: (1) serving full time for a period expected to last at least 1 year, or (2) serving under an order for national mobilization.How to Apply
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Deferment
This deferment is for those on active duty in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- Maximum eligibility is three years, and is a combined limit with Armed Forces and Public Health Service Deferments.
- This deferment is only available for Stafford and SLS borrowers on or after July 1, 1987 but before July 1, 1993.
- Federal Consolidation, PLUS, Direct PLUS, and Direct PLUS Consolidation Loans are not eligible for the NOAA Deferment.
Mandatory Forbearance Available for National Guard or Department of Defense Repayment Program
National Guard Forbearance
To qualify for forbearance on your loan(s), you must be a member of the National Guard and engaged in one of the following:
- Active state duty under which a governor activated you based on state statute or policy, and the activities of the National Guard are paid for with state funds
- Full-time National Guard duty under which a governor was authorized, with the approval of the President or the U.S. Secretary of Defense, to order you to state-active duty, and the activities of the National Guard are paid for with federal funds.
- You do not qualify for a military service deferment or other deferment
- You must have been activated no more than six months after the last date on which you were enrolled in school at least half time.
- You must have a commanding or personnel officer complete Section 4 of the Mandatory Forbearance Request, attach separate documentation from a commanding or personnel officer that includes all information requested in Section 4, or a copy of your orders.
Loan Repayment Program (Department of Defense)
- To qualify for forbearance on your loan(s), you must be performing the type of service that would qualify you for partial repayment of your loan(s) under the Student Loan Repayment Programs administered by the Department of Defense under 10 USC 2171, 2173, 2174 or any other student loan repayment programs administered by the Department of Defense.
- You must provide certification or documentation from an authorized official from the program showing the beginning and ending dates for which you are eligible.
To apply for this deferment, complete the Mandatory Forbearance Request and send it to Nelnet.How to Apply
How to Apply
When submitting your information, please write your name and Nelnet account number on each page. Then log in to your Nelnet account, and select Documents, then Upload Documents and Forms. You can also mail your documentation to the address below or email it to MilitarySolutions@Nelnet.com.
Attn: Enrollment Processing
P.O. Box 82565
Lincoln, NE 68501-2565