Is NelNet Legit?


Julissa Treviño Updated: December 16, 2019

Has a company named NelNet has contacted you about your student loans? If so, you might have wondered who they are and how they got your name.

So what's the deal? Is NelNet a legit company? Yes. And, in fact, they probably have a very good reason for contacting you. 


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What is NelNet?

NelNet, short for National Education Loan Network, is a company that services federal student loans.

Remember that federal student loan you signed up for? After you graduated, the U.S. Department of Education passed your loan off to a loan servicing company to handle payments, collections, and account maintenance.

So if you're getting a bill from Nelnet, yep, there's a pretty good chance you're going to need to pay it – BUT it's important to make sure they're your servicer first (we'll tell how you below).

See also: How to Lower Your NelNet Student Loan Payment

NelNet also recently acquired Great Lakes, another leading loan servicer.

What it does

As a loan servicer, Nelnet's job is to manage your student loans, including:

  • Taking your monthly payment
  • Helping you choose the best repayment plan for your needs
  • Processing requests for deferment or forbearance, and
  • Helping you understand what it takes to pay off your debt.

Is that letter from NelNet real or a scam?

Let's get back to that letter you got.

The first thing to know is that if you receive a letter, call, or email from a company claiming to want to speak with you about your student loans, don't jump to give them any of your personal information until you verify who they are.

Unfortunately, there are many companies out there that harass borrowers into paying a fee for help. These are generally scams.

Why is that? Because you never have to pay for help with student loan debt management. Instead, you can work directly with your loan servicer, who will help you for free.

See also: How to Refinance Your NelNet Student Loans

How to verify your loan servicer

Not sure if NelNet is your loan servicer? You can confirm via the U.S. Department of Education's National Student Loan Data System, which is the central database for federal student loans. There, you can get more info about your loan servicer, the type of loans you have, your balance, and your loan status. To access this information, you'll need your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID number.

Important note: Assume that any company that asks you for your FSA ID is NOT legit. You use this ID to sign legal documents online. Don’t give out your ID to anyone— or they’ll be able to change your account without your permission. 

Once you confirm that NelNet is your loan servicer, you can reach out to the company with specific questions about your situation.

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How and when to contact NelNet

If NelNet is your servicer, you should get in touch with them for any and all account questions, including:

  • How to best manage your monthly payments
  • How to seek a forbearance or deference
  • How much you still owe
  • If you're eligible for a lower monthly payment
  • If you qualify for student loan forgiveness and how to ensure that you're in the right payoff plan to take advantage of it, and
  • If you're eligible for loan consolidation.

NelNet's customer service phone number, email and address are listed here. Remember, contacting your loan servicer should always be your first step if you're struggling with your debt.

You can also create an online account with NelNet to make accessing your loan information and monthly making payments easier.

See also: 4 Ways to Lower Student Loan Payments

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