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Nelnet Bank Review
Nelnet Bank
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Kale Havervold
Jun. 07, 2023
4 min read
Kale Havervold
Nelnet Bank Summary
Nelnet Bank is backed by Nelnet Inc., a company with decades of experience in the student loan industry. It provides both undergraduate loans up to $125,000 and graduate loans up to $500,000, and has competitive, transparent rates. There are several repayment plans and a quick online application, and the website is full of helpful resources and tools, including an FAQ section.
  • No fees or costs to apply for a loan
  • Several options for repayment
  • Competitive and transparent rates
  • Credit score required for loan not clearly stated
  • Loans only offered to those enrolled at eligible schools

Nelnet Bank at a glance

Editorial score

Online experience

Has learning resources, access to rates, mobile app

Customer services and support

Multiple ways of reaching lender, wide range of hours

Repayment flexibility

Offers flexible repayment plans & the option for special repayment programs


Loans available to most credit types, income levels, and students

Variety of Loan Types

Offers all loan types

Nelnet Bank Nelnet Bank View Rates


Nelnet Bank offers multiple repayment options and competitive rates, and doesn’t charge any application fees. The online application process is fast and straightforward.

Suitable For?

Private student loans offered by Nelnet Bank are suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students. They are particularly advantageous for students with good credit or those who have a cosigner with good credit. Nelnet Bank offers a variable APR range of 5.96.% - 15.47%, and fixed APR range of 4.49% - 14.82%. This rate includes Nelnet Bank’s 0.25% discount for paying by auto debit, so you’d need to sign up for that option to secure it.

Nelnet Bank offers flexibility when it comes to how much you borrow, and provides several options for repayment. You can borrow up to $125,000 for an undergraduate loan and up to $500,000 as a graduate student. Whether you want to begin repaying your loan immediately, make interest-only payments, or defer all payments until you are done with school, there is a repayment option that works for you.

Loan Features

Nelnet Bank offers private student loans with a variety of features:

  • Undergraduate student loans up to $125,000.
  • Graduate student loans up to $500,000 (depending on degree).
  • Competitive variable APR range of 5.96% - 15.47% and fixed APR range of 4.49% - 14.82% (both would require auto debit discount).

  • 0.25% interest rate discount if paying by auto debit.
  • Several flexible repayment plans to choose from.
  • The option to release your cosigner.⁴
  • Online tools and resources, including FAQ section, to help you learn about paying for college, repaying loans, and searching for scholarships.
  • A quick and easy online loan application process.

The Application Process

The online application process is easy and it’s possible to see your rate in as little as two minutes. The company provides information on what you should have on hand before you apply. This comprises the following:

  • Personal information like your social security number, address, and birth date.
  • Your monthly housing expenses and annual income.
  • Information about your school, including its name, your graduation date and estimated education costs, and any other aid you will receive.
  • The amount you’d like to borrow.

You start the online application by providing basic personal information and information about the school you (or the borrower if you are the cosigner) attends. Then, you can add a cosigner (if you need/want one), or can add a borrower if you are the cosigner. Nelnet Bank will send the other party an email so they can provide their information. Next, choose the loan offer from the list of options that best suits your needs.

Your credit score or the credit score of your cosigner will have an effect on your approval and the rate you are quoted. A soft credit pull will be performed to check your rate, and this will not have an impact on your credit score. If you complete the application, Nelnet Bank will ask for your full credit report, and this could have an impact on your score.

Once the final agreement has been signed and documents have been provided, your funds should be available in 10-14 days.

Eligibility Requirements

You need to fulfill the following requirements to be eligible for a private student loan from Nelnet Bank:

  • You (or your cosigner) needs to have U.S. citizenship or be a permanent resident.
  • You need to be registered at a Nelnet Bank-eligible school.
  • You need to be of legal age to sign a binding contract in your state, or be 17 and have a cosigner who is at least the legal age.
  • You (or your cosigner) must meet Nelnet Bank’s credit criteria. However, Nelnet Bank doesn’t disclose the minimum credit score required for their student loans.

Loan Rates

Nelnet Bank offers competitive rates of 5.96% - 15.47% variable APR and 4.49% - 14.82% fixed APR when a 0.25% discount for paying by auto debit is applied. 

The exact rate you end up with will depend on various factors such as your credit score and that of your cosigner (if using one), the amount borrowed, and the loan term.

Nelnet Bank won’t charge you any costs or fees to apply for a loan, and there are no fees or charges for paying off your loan early or making additional payments.

Repayment Terms

Nelnet Bank provides multiple term options and several choices for repayment, including:

Immediate repayment - requires you to make full principal and interest payments upon loan disbursement.

Interest-only repayment - requires you to make interest-only payments while in school, and then full principal and interest payments once you are finished school.

Defer principal and interest payments - doesn’t require you to make any payments until  you are done at school, but interest will still accrue.

How Safe Is It? 

Nelnet Bank takes security seriously, and has physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards in place to protect your data. These safeguards are tested frequently, and Nelnet Bank restricts access to personal and account information to those employees who need to know it. Employees are trained on privacy and information security.

To access the website, you need to use a browser that supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This is an encryption technology that ensures all of your online sessions are authentic and all data being transmitted is secure.

Customer Service

Nelnet Bank offers various ways to reach out for support. You can send a message using an online form, send an email, contact them on social media, or give them a call.

The website also includes a comprehensive FAQ section full of helpful information about Nelnet Bank’s loans, repayment options, rates, and more.

Phone: 800.446.4190

Email: (or for questions about security)

Hours: 7am to 8pm Central, Monday-Friday

How Nelnet Bank Compares

Nelnet BankCollege AveSallie Mae

4.49% - 15.47% with auto debit (variable and fixed range together)

As low as 4.74% with auto debitAs low as 4.5% with auto debit
Minimum credit scoreMid-600sMid-600sMid-600s
Loan amounts$1000 up to $500,000 depending on your degree.$1000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance.$1000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance.
Accepts cosignersYesYesYes
Suitable forThose with good creditFlexible repayment optionsThose who want the most loan options


Nelnet Bank is a solid option for undergraduate or graduate students looking for private student loans. It offers loans from $1,000 to $500,000, and provides flexibility in the form of multiple repayment options. There are no fees or costs to apply for a loan, and rates are transparent and competitive. You also get a 0.25% discount for paying by auto debit. Applying online is easy and quick, whether you need a cosigner or not, and you can see your rate in as little as two minutes.

Nelnet Bank Nelnet Bank View Rates


Information was taken from the Nelnet Bank website. This includes the Private Student Loans section, the FAQs, and the Privacy Policy.


¹ Interest Rates: Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% APR (with auto debit discount) to 14.82% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan.

Variable interest rates range from 5.96% APR (with auto debit discount) to 15.47% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. Variable rates for Nelnet Bank Student Loans are calculated using either (a) the One-Month SOFR; (b) the 30-day Average SOFR; or (c) the forward-looking term rate based on SOFR as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and/or The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth day (or the next business day) of the immediately preceding calendar month. The variable rate may reprice and change on the first day of each month if the SOFR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month SOFR index is 4.99% as of June 1, 2023.

The lowest interest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (“auto debit”) payments. The lowest rate is available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate., The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, and (3) the loan type selected. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range.

² Auto Debit: Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is canceled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.

³ Credit Score: Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.

⁴ Cosigner Release:

A request for the cosigner to be released can be made by either the borrower or cosigner when each of the following conditions has been met:

  • The account must have been in full principal and interest repayment for at least 24 months.
  • Twenty-four consecutive, on-time principal and interest payments, or lump sum equivalent, must have been made.

    NOTE: A lump sum payment does not replace the requirement to have been in full principal and interest repayment for at least 24 months. Interest-only or fixed-pay payments while enrolled in school do not qualify towards the 24 consecutive on-time payments.

  • The loan must be current at the time of request.
  • The loan must not have been in deferment, hardship forbearance, or other alternative payment assistance plan within the past 24 months.
  • The loan must not have been permanently modified from its original terms in the credit agreement.
  • The primary borrower must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency in the United States.
  • The primary borrower must meet the age of majority requirement in their permanent state of residency.
  • Requirements are subject to change.

If all of these conditions have been met, then an application for cosigner release may be submitted. The primary borrower is required to demonstrate they have the ability to assume sole responsibility for the loan(s) by providing proof of income, meeting debt-to-income requirements, and having a satisfactory credit history. (A credit report will be obtained during the review process).

If you have questions on cosigner release, or would like to apply, contact us via email or phone at or 800.446.4190.

Kale Havervold
Written by
Kale Havervold
Kale Haverold is a freelance writer with over 5 years of experience crafting articles about credit cards, loans, debt, and a raft of other personal finance topics. His work has been featured on, BestMoney, Yahoo, Hardbacon, and Loans Canada. Kale’s easy-to-digest, research-driven articles stem from his passion to share knowledge that helps readers make informed financial decisions.
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