Get Ready to Repay
Last updated January 27, 2023
On November 22, 2022, President Biden announced an extension of the relief measures for federal student loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education. Borrowers will not be required to make monthly payments and interest rates will be at 0% until the payment pause ends.
For the latest information, you can visit StudentAid.gov/coronavirus.
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?
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 Nelnet.com 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?
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.
Step 1: Make sure you can access your Nelnet.com account
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 Nelnet.com 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.
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 Nelnet.com 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.
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.
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 Nelnet.com account, and you’ll be prompted to confirm enrollment in auto debit.
FAQs — Preparing for Repayment
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
Check out StudentAid.gov for a summary of how the COVID-19 emergency affects students and in-school borrowers.
Your loan payments will remain suspended, and your interest rate will remain at 0%, until the end of the COVID-19 payment pause. For example, grace period ended on April 15, 2022. In this case, your payments would continue to be suspended from April 15, 2022, through the end of the payment pause. The interest rate on your loans would be 0% during this period.
Unless you’ve requested a different repayment plan, we will place your student loans in the Standard Repayment Plan when the payment pause ends.
If you have concerns about your ability to make your monthly payment amount when payments begin, consider an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan. An IDR Plan may help provide an affordable regular monthly payment. Compare your loan repayment options through Loan Simulator. You can also call Nelnet at 888.486.4722 to make sure you are on the best repayment plan for you.
If you’re interested in applying for an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan, you may apply at StudentAid.gov and select the box to be placed on the repayment plan that will provide you with the lowest monthly payment. You can self-certify your eligibility online. You can also call Nelnet at 888.486.4722 to provide the information needed to request an IDR Plan over the phone.
Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plans
Yes, you can apply for an IDR Plan during the payment pause. Your payments will take effect the day after the payment pause will end. Applying now may help you by allowing you to base your IDR Plan on your current income. If you apply now, you may also get your request processed before the potential rush of requests when payments resume.
If you’re interested in applying for an IDR Plan, you may apply at StudentAid.gov. You can self-certify your eligibility online. You can also call Nelnet at 888.486.4722 to provide the information needed to request an IDR Plan over the phone.
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 now be pushed out by one year. For example, if your IDR recertification date was December 1, 2022, that date will be pushed out to December 1, 2023.
Nelnet will send you a notification with your new recertification date before it is time to recertify.
Yes, you can. If your income has changed significantly, you can request a new payment amount based on your current income. To do so, visit StudentAid.gov, select the button next to “Recalculate my monthly payment,” and complete the recalculation request. You can also call Nelnet at 888.486.4722 to request an IDR Plan recalculation over the phone. If you are approved for a lower payment, after the payment pause ends, your monthly payments will resume at the new lower amount.
Yes. Your paused payments will count toward IDR forgiveness if you’re on an IDR Plan as long as you meet all other qualifications. For more information, review the COVID-19 IDR page on Federal Student Aid’s website.
Absolutely. Continuing to make payments during the payment pause allows you to take advantage of the 0% interest period and could help you pay down your loan balance more quickly. The full amount of a payment will be applied to your principal balance once you’ve paid all (if any) interest that accrued before March 13, 2020.
Sure! If you want to make payments during the payment pause while the 0% interest rate is in effect, simply log in to your Nelnet.com account and select Pay Now or use our mobile app. You can also mail payments to the U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 2837, Portland, OR 97208-2837. Be sure to include write your account number, including the “E”, on your check.
On Nelnet.com, we have an informative page called “How Are Payments Allocated?” that explains the order in which the amount you pay is attributed to principal and interest, including in cases where payments are not required or you pay more than is due.
To make payments using your bank’s online bill pay service, make sure you arrange with your financial institution to resume payments by your due date.
If your bank’s bill pay service requires an address to be entered when setting up the request, please use:
U.S. Department of Education
P.O. Box 2837
Portland, OR 97208-2837
Log in to your Nelnet.com account and view the Repayment Planning section, which will display an estimated amount you’ll pay each month once the pause ends.
Once you’ve logged in to your account, view the Account Summary section on your dashboard to find your balance.
We will only send you a new payment schedule if your prior payment amount is changing. If this applies to you, you can log in to your Nelnet.com account, select Documents from the menu, and choose Payment Schedule 31 to 45 days before your first payment due date.
Your payment schedule is a plan for paying back your loan. To find it, log in to your Nelnet.com account, select Documents from the menu, and choose Payment Schedule 31 to 45 days before your first payment due date.
Your payment schedule provides monthly payment amounts, due dates, and other important information that you need to keep track of. We'll send you a new payment schedule when certain conditions on your account change, like when you start to make payments, have a change in repayment terms, add a new loan, or come out of a deferment or forbearance.
If you were in repayment before the payment pause, your monthly payment amount should not change unless you have applied for an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan or a recertification or recalculation of your IDR payment during the pause. If you were in a deferment or forbearance before the payment pause, it may be necessary to adjust your monthly payment amount to ensure you’re able to repay your loan(s) within the remaining term.
To determine whether you’re currently enrolled in auto debit, log in to your Nelnet.com account and select Payments, then Auto Debit. If you’re not enrolled in auto debit, but want to sign up, select the “Setup Auto Debit” button on the auto debit page.
Once auto debit is set up, you’ll be notified via email or mail, depending upon your communication preference, of the date that auto debit will begin withdrawing your payments from the checking or savings account you have designated.
No. 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 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 Nelnet.com account, and you’ll be prompted to confirm enrollment in auto debit.
You may be eligible to lower your monthly student loan payment by enrolling in an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan. Under an IDR Plan, payments may be as low as $0 per month. Compare your loan repayment options through Loan Simulator. You can also call Nelnet at 888.486.4722 to make sure you are on the best repayment plan for you.
Apply for an IDR Plan and select the box to be placed on the repayment plan that will provide you with the lowest monthly payment. You can self-certify your eligibility online. You can also call Nelnet at 888.486.4722 to provide the information needed to request an IDR Plan over the phone.
To help you find the best option for your situation, we will need to ask you some questions. Log in to your Nelnet.com account, choose Payments from the menu, and then Repayment Options.
Yes, paused payments count toward PSLF and TEPSLF as long as you meet all other qualifications. You will receive credit as though you made on-time monthly payments in the correct amount while on a qualifying repayment plan. Borrowers may receive credit toward PSLF during the payment pause if they later enter the PSLF Program. For more information, review the COVID-19 Public Service Loan Forgiveness page on Federal Student Aid’s website.
No – Nelnet will help you for free! You never have to pay for assistance with your federal student loans. Contact us for free help with questions or concerns. Learn how to avoid student aid scams.
The interest rate during the entire COVID-19 payment pause is 0%, so no interest has accrued during this period.
Any previous unpaid interest will not capitalize (that is, be added to your principal balance) during the payment pause and through six months after end of the payment pause. The earliest interest will capitalize would be March 1, 2024. Nelnet will reverse any interest capitalization that has an effective date of March 13, 2020 to six months after the payment pause ends.
For more information about interest capitalization, refer to our “Interest Capitalization” page.
If you had been granted a cancer treatment deferment prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 emergency, your loan(s) was placed into the payment pause. If your cancer treatment deferment would have ended after the end of the payment pause, your loans will be placed back into that deferment automatically the day after the pause ends. You will not need to recertify your cancer treatment deferment before payments restart. The earliest you might be asked to recertify is six months after the end of the payment pause. Nelnet will send notification of your new recertification due date before it is time to recertify.
The 1098-E Student Loan Interest Statement is a record of your interest paid on your federal student loans for a given tax year. You can deduct some or all of your interest paid from your federal tax return, which could reduce the amount you pay in income tax.
Because the payment pause and 0% interest rate were extended to cover all of 2021 and 2022, most borrowers have not paid interest in — and will not receive a statement for — the 2021 and 2022 tax years. If the payment pause ends in 2023, you will likely receive a 1098-E with information about interest you paid in 2023 by January 31, 2024. Questions pertaining to your specific situation should be directed to your tax advisor.
Here are some other tips for getting prepared for repayment to begin after the end of the payment pause:
- Learn about all the ways you can make a student loan payment.
- Download the Nelnet Mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play for another handy way to manage your loans.
- Follow us on social media ( Facebook and Twitter)
- Check out our website's FAQs for helpful information about federal student loans.
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 Nelnet.com 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.