A few years ago, I got a letter in the mail stating my undergraduate loans had been bought and sold to a new loan servicer. I had already played the loan servicer merry-go-round game before and let out a sigh of frustration.
Reading further, it said my undergraduate loans were being sold to Nelnet. Suddenly, I was excited because Nelnet had been my loan servicer for my graduate loans for several years by that point. I was thrilled that all my student loans would finally be under one roof, so to speak, without having to consolidate or refinance.
Most people tend to have a love-hate relationship with their loan servicer, but truth be told, I generally like Nelnet (compared to other loan servicers I’ve had). If Nelnet is your loan servicer, here are five things you might not know you could do.
1. Pay By Group
One of the things I love about Nelnet is that it’s easy for me to pay my loans by group. For me, that means paying off my highest-interest loans first. I just got rid of the last of my 7.9% Graduate PLUS loans and it felt great.
I know many borrowers complain about how hard it is to figure out how your payments are distributed when you make a student loan payment, so I’m grateful that the process is easy with Nelnet.
If you want to pay a specific group of loans (but remember, you have to pay the minimum on all of your loans) go to the “Home” page and select the “Make a Payment” tab. Then go to “Pay Now,” and under “Select Payment Option,” choose “Pay By Group.” Click on the left-hand arrow to expand the box in order to display all of your loans.
You can then sort your loans by interest rate, balance, or due date. On the right-hand side, you can divvy up your payments and start putting more towards certain loans, based on your payoff strategy.
2. Text Alerts to Avoid Late Payments
Do you find it difficult to remember when your loan payments are due? One way to ensure you always make on time payments is by signing up for KwikPay, Nelnet’s version of auto pay.
If you’re not comfortable with set-it-and-forget-it payments, you can set up a reminder of when payments are due with text message alerts. You can also get alerts when your loan payment is past due, you have a new statement ready for viewing, or if your loan status has changed. I know that sometimes I get buried in email, so having text alerts is a great way of getting a quick and accessible reminder.
To sign up for this, go to “My Info and Preferences” and then “Text Alerts” on the far right corner. Input your information and save the changes. You will need to confirm via text message that you did sign up for this service.
3. Get Financially Fit
Not only can you manage your student loan payments on Nelnet, but you can also learn a bit about personal finance. Seriously.
On the Nelnet loans homepage, there’s a “Get Financially Fit” section where you can learn about credit basics, sign up for “Money Mondays Webinars,” and learn about the basics of personal finance and budgeting. Don’t have time? Nelnet also offers pre-recorded webinars you can watch right now.
4. Apply for Nelnet Deferment or Forbearance
If you’re having trouble making payments on your federal student loans, you can apply for deferment and forbearance through Nelnet loans. According to the Nelnet student loan website, deferment options include unemployment deferment, working mother deferment, parental leave deferment, and domestic volunteer deferment.
You can get started by logging into your account and clicking “Postpone My Payment” to apply for deferment or forbearance. You can also call Nelnet at 888.486.4722 to set it up.
5. Print Your Tax Info
A common mistake people make is not deducting student loan interest on their taxes. You can deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest on your taxes each year that you are repaying your student loans.
But where do you even get that paperwork? Using Nelnet, you can find that information in your “Message Center” under “Print My Tax Info.”
You can then print out IRS form 1098-E, which shows how much you paid in student loan interest. If you paid more than $2,500, as I have, you can still only deduct up to $2,500. Sorry, folks. However, this can help lower your tax liability — $2,500 is better than zero!
At Student Loan Hero, we’re always looking to hear from users about their experiences with different loan servicers. Are you a current or past Nelnet user? How was your experience? Nelnet is available 24/7 at 888.486.4722.