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Get Ready to Repay

Ready to Repay

Last updated January 27, 2023

This page provides a summary of the relief measures available to borrowers during the pause, as well as actions you can take to get ready before payments resume. We want to help you get prepared, share answers to frequently asked questions, and provide the support you need so you can achieve repayment success.

What Are the Approved Relief Measures?

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Here is a quick rundown of the benefits to borrowers on ED-owned federal student loans under the COVID-19 emergency.

  • Student loan payments are currently paused; you are not required to make payments through the end of the payment pause. Your account has been updated accordingly.

  • Your interest rate remains at 0% from March 13, 2020, through the end of the payment pause.

  • If you wish to make payments, you can do so anytime during the pause.

  • Paused payments count toward income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), and Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) as long as you meet all other qualifications. You will get credit as though you made monthly payments. For more information, review the COVID-19 IDR and Public Service Loan Forgiveness pages on Federal Student Aid's (FSA) website.

Additional Important Information

Here are some things to keep in mind during the payment pause. Some of these will apply to all borrowers, and some will apply to borrowers in particular circumstances.

  • IDR recertifications are now due no earlier than six months after the payment pause ends. IDR Plan annual recertification due dates occurring between now and six months after the pause ends will be pushed out by one year. For example, if your account says your IDR recertification date is December 1, 2022, that date will be pushed out to December 1, 2023.
  • If you wish to make payments to reduce your loan’s balance, you can do so anytime during the COVID-19 payment pause. Log in to your account to make a payment.
  • You can get a refund for any payment, including those through auto debit, you make during the payment pause (which started March 13, 2020). To request a refund, please contact us.
  • If you want to opt out of the COVID-19 payment pause to take advantage of the 0% interest period, please contact us. By opting out, payments will be due every month going forward. 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 the end of the payment pause. If your account becomes 30 or more days past due, FSA requires that we reapply the administrative forbearance (payment pause).
  • If you are on auto debit, the COVID-19 payment pause stopped your auto debit payments. If you want to continue making payments during the payment pause, you can log in to your account to make an online payment.

    You can also continue your auto debit payments by contacting us to opt out of the payment pause.

    If you were previously using auto debit to make your monthly payments before March 13, 2020, and you haven’t confirmed your enrollment, you’ll still need to confirm. You can do so online by logging in to your account, selecting Payments, and then selecting Auto Debit.

    Before the end of the pause, we’ll also tell you how much your scheduled monthly payment through auto debit will be after the payment pause ends.

  • The COVID-19 payment pause is a non-capitalizing forbearance. For most borrowers, because of the relief measures under the COVID-19 emergency, unpaid interest will not capitalize (that is, be added to your principal balance) during the payment pause and through six months after the end of the payment pause. If you consolidate, your outstanding interest will become part of the new consolidation loan principal balance. Nelnet will reverse any interest capitalization that has an effective date of March 13, 2020, to six months after the payment pause ends.

How Can I Prepare for Repayment?

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While it may seem a bit daunting to think about making payments after such a long period of time, please know that Nelnet is here to help you every step of the way. We want your repayment experience to be as smooth as possible, so we’ve outlined the following actions you can take now so you’ll be in good shape to manage your student loans.

  1. Step 1: Make sure you can access your account

    If you haven’t logged in recently, give it a go. If you don’t remember your username or password, we have tips for accessing your account.

  2. Step 2: Bring your contact information up-to-date

    If you’ve moved or changed your email address or phone number since March 2020, update your contact information on your account. Log in to your account, choose your name from the menu, and then select Contact Information to confirm your address, email address, and phone number are correct. If your name has changed, please give us a call.

  3. Step 3: Check your payment amount and expected due date

    If you were already in repayment before the COVID-19 payment pause took effect, log in to your account and get reacquainted with your prior monthly payment amount, which you’ll find in the Repayment Planning section on your dashboard. This will help you plan for the amount you’ll pay once repayment begins.

    If you weren’t in repayment before the COVID-19 payment pause took effect (for example, you were in a grace period that has since ended), the Repayment Planning section on your dashboard will display an estimated amount you’ll pay each month once the pause ends.

    Also as the payment pause winds down, be on the lookout for your first due date (which will be after the end of the payment pause), so you can adjust your monthly budget to start making student loan payments on time.

  4. Step 4: Take action if you can’t afford your payments

    Are you concerned that when repayment begins, you may not be able to manage your payments? If so, now is the time to act. While you’re on the dashboard, select “Update My Situation” in the “Has Your Situation Changed?” section from the menu. There, we’ll help guide you to a solution suited to your needs at this time.

  5. Step 5: Watch for notices from us

    Nelnet and Federal Student Aid will send communications to help get you prepared for repayment. Read these notices carefully, as they have important tips about what to expect.

    As the end of the payment pause grows nearer, we will send you a billing statement about three weeks before your due date. If you previously had a bill pay service set up with your bank, you may have to set that back up again. Refer to “I previously made monthly payments using a bill pay service. How do I continue using that payment method when repayment starts?” in the FAQs below.

    If you haven’t already, you must confirm that you want to remain in auto debit for your payments to be made using that method if you were paying by auto debit before March 13, 2020. If you do not elect to stay enrolled in auto debit, it will be cancelled, you’ll lose the 0.25% reduction on your interest rate, and you’ll need to make other payment arrangements when the COVID-19 payment pause ends. Log in to your account, and you’ll be prompted to confirm enrollment in auto debit.

FAQs — Preparing for Repayment

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Here are some questions and answers you may be wondering about as the COVID-19 payment pause winds down.

In-School and Grace Period Status

Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans

Making Payments

Auto Debit

Repayment Options

Interest Capitalization

Other Questions

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 the federal relief measures that apply to loans owned by the Department of Education (ED). 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 account and select Payments, then Repayment Options to start.

Nelnet’s goal is to provide you with the best service possible. We're in this together. We're here if you need us.

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