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Nelnet Student Loans: 2023 Review

Updated on Jan. 1, 2023
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At a glance

4.2
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Repayment Options
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
4.6
Affordability
Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5
3.4
Customer Experience
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5

About Bankrate Score

Nelnet’s student loan business was called U-fi From Nelnet — but it has since incorporated U-fi under its main brand. New applications will all go through Nelnet Bank, rather than the U-fi. Though if you started an application before April 11, 2022, you can continue it from the U-fi website.

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Loan amount $1,000 to $500,000
Rates
APR from 1.64%
Clock Wait
Term lengths 5 to 15 years
Credit Good
Min Credit Score 680

Nelnet Bank is best for borrowers with above-average credit who want flexibility when it comes to repayment terms and options, particularly because Nelnet's interest rates for good-credit borrowers are extremely low.

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Nelnet features

Nelnet offers private student loans, with a simple application process and a robust catalog of articles about student loans and paying for college, making it a good option for students entering college for the first time.

That said, its borrowing caps are relatively low, especially if you’re applying as an undergraduate. While many student loan lenders let you borrow up to the total cost of your education, Nelnet sets the limit at $125,000 for undergraduates.

Nelnet: in the details

Pros and cons of Nelnet student loans

Nelnet student loans are flexible and can fund your undergraduate or graduate education. Here’s what you need to know before you apply.

PROS

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    Clear eligibility requirements: Nelnet is upfront about its eligibility requirements for student loans, including minimum credit score and income requirements. This makes it easier to determine if the lender is right for you.

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    Plenty of repayment options: Borrowers can choose a term between five and 15 years.

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    Co-signer release: After 24 consecutive, on-time payments, you can release your co-signer if desired.

CONS

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    Low loan caps for undergraduates: Undergraduate borrowers may borrow only up to $125,000.

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    High credit score requirements: Borrowers with credit scores lower than 680 may find it harder to acquire a loan from Nelnet.

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    Not available in all states: Nelnet loans aren’t available in the state of Vermont.

Nelnet student loan requirements

In order to apply for a private student loan with Nelnet, you must:

  • Be enrolled at least half time at an eligible college or university.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, or have an eligible co-signer who meets the requirements.
  • Have an annual income of at least $36,000.
  • Have a credit score of at least 680.
  • Have no bankruptcies on file for the past seven years.
  • Have no previous defaults on a student loan.

Who is this loan good for?

Nelnet's student loans are good for borrowers with above-average credit who want flexibility when it comes to repayment terms and options, particularly because Nelnet's interest rates for good-credit borrowers are extremely low.

Interest rates and terms

Nelnet has an autopay discount: You can save 0.25 percent by setting up automatic payments. The rates below include this discount.

Loan product

Variable rate

Fixed rate

Private student loans

4.28% to 14.31% APR

4.49% to 14.32% APR

Fees and penalties

Nelnet does not charge an origination fee, but it does charge a late payment fee of 5 percent of the amount of the due payment, or $25, whichever amount is less. You may also be assessed a $5 returned payment charge.

Repayment terms and grace period

Nelnet has fairly straightforward repayment terms. The grace period is six months, and repayment terms are from five to 15 years. When you receive your loan, you have three repayment options:

  • Immediate repayment: Make full principal and interest payments as soon as the loan is disbursed.
  • Interest-only: Make interest-only payments while in school.
  • Deferment: Make no payments until after you graduate.

Customer service

Nelnet has an A+ rating. The BBB’s score considers complaint history and how well the institution has responded to those complaints. Its customer service can be reached at 800-446-4190 or by email. You can also send a message through the lender’s website.

How to apply for a loan with Nelnet

Nelnet’s application process is completely online. In order to apply, you’ll need to gather information like your Social Security number, your estimated annual income, your school name, the amount you’d like to borrow and your credit score. After approval, you’ll be offered an interest rate.

Here’s what the process looks like when applying for a student loan through Nelnet:

How Bankrate rates Nelnet

Overall Score 4.2 Explanation
Availability 4.6 Nelnet has a low loan minimum and is available nationwide; however, its loan maximums are relatively low.
Affordability 3.4 Nelnet earns high marks for its low interest rates, though it does charge a few fees and has a short grace period.
Customer Experience 4.5 While Nelnet has a good online platform and a mobile app, its customer service hours are not disclosed.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.