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I’ve Never Made a Payment – Walk Me Through the Process

Ready to Repay

If you’ve never made a federal student loan payment because you went through your grace period during the payment pause, you may feel particularly nervous about diving into the repayment process. Is it complicated? No! Will you be able to handle this? Yes!

As your student loan servicer, Nelnet has the experience, history, and resources to help you transition smoothly into repayment. If you ever hit a snag, we can assist you!

Here’s how to set yourself up for success before your first payment is due in October.

Register for a account.

When you log in, we’ll review some important actions you should take to get ready for payments to start. These include:

  • Review your estimated monthly payment amount to confirm you can afford it
  • If you can’t afford it, you can tell us your situation or explore options to lower your payments
  • Check your loan status and remaining balance so you know what you owe
  • Update your contact information to be sure we can reach you about your account if needed

If you’re worried that your payment won’t fit in your budget, select Update My Situation. Nelnet will present you with repayment options suited to your needs, including income-driven repayment plans like the new Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan which has payments as low as $0 per month, 100% interest subsidy, and more benefits that will go into effect in July 2024. You can even apply directly on the site. It’s important that you act now so you’ve made the switch in plans before repayment begins.

You can apply for income-driven repayment plans quickly and conveniently at or, if you prefer, on

On, just log in to your online account, and select Repayment Options & Resources from the menu. Choose "My payments are too high for my income," then "income-driven" to start the process. The process takes only a few minutes to complete.

Watch for your first billing statement, which we’ll send about three weeks before your first payment is due in October.

Wondering how to make payments? The easiest, most convenient payment method is auto debit. It’s the maintenance-free method that automatically deducts your monthly payment from the bank account of your choice.

Even better? Signing up for auto debit may allow you to earn a 0.25% interest rate reduction while your loans are in an active repayment status. *

Simply log in to your account and choose Payments from the menu, then Manage Automatic Payments.

*Your lender may modify or terminate its borrower benefit program at its discretion and without prior notice. Your failure to satisfy benefit eligibility requirements may result in the loss of the benefit.

Something you’ll want to be aware of…


Nelnet’s eCorrespondence messages are electronic versions of your monthly billing statements and other correspondence from us that show up in your online account.

We automatically opt you in to eCorrespondence so that almost all of your communications from Nelnet are delivered in this manner. You’ll access them by logging in to your account, selecting Documents, and then choosing Inbox.

We urge you to keep eCorrespondence for the convenience of having all your communications accessible at your fingertips!

Something you may be wondering about…

Student Loan Debt Relief

The Supreme Court issued a decision blocking the U.S. Department of Education from moving forward with the Biden-Harris Administration’s student debt relief program.

Learn more about the actions President Biden announced following the decision and find out how this decision impacts you.

Please visit for more information.

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