NelNet Bank Review - Student Loan Refinance

Application & Approval Process
Rates & Fees
Payment Terms
Customer Support & Benefits

About Nelnet Bank

Nelnet Bank is a student loan refinancing service which is suitable for student borrowers looking to manage their repayments in situations where they didn’t graduate – or if they need some breathing space in terms of making payments. 

Founded over 40 years ago, the provider aims to ‘serve our customers and make their educational dreams possible’. The bank is backed by Nelnet, which is one of the largest student loan services in the USA. As well as student refinancing, Nelnet Bank also provides private student loans.





  • No hard credit check required to see if you qualify
  • Forbearance length is longer than average at 24 months
  • Ideal for borrowers who did not finish their college education
  • Also provides private student loans and high yield CDS


  • Customer support is not rated as highly compared to other student refinancing options
  • Those in Vermont are not able to use the loans service

Key Highlights

  • Those with lower credit scores can still be accepted with a co-signer
  • Customers are given flexibility on payments in the future
  • Payments can be postponed for up to 24 months
  • The lender will inform customers of the reason behind their decision if they are not accepted
  • Customers can postpone payments if they return to school or go to serve in the military

Application & Approval Process 

Initial Quotation 

To get started, new customers need to fill out a standard registration form. Once this is complete, a number of details need to be supplied. 

The main form is divided into three sections – Borrower Information, Loan Information and Get Your Rate.

Within Borrower Information, customers must supply the following details:

  • Citizenship status
  • Occupation and annual income (customers also need to confirm whether their income source has changed in the last 60 days or if they do not have any income)
  • Housing type and expense
  • Whether they wish to invite a cosigner

Those who need a cosigner will fall under the following criteria:

  • They earn under $36,000 a year
  • They are not a permanent resident or US citizen
  • They are under 18 years of age (the minimum age is 17 in AL, 19 in MS and 21 in PR)

The cosigner must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Either a US citizen or possessing permanent residency status
  • Hold a valid Social Security number
  • Reside in the United States
  • Be the minimum age of legal majority in their state or territory – usually 18
  • Pass a credit check confirming they have good credit history
  • Earn a minimum of $36,000 in annual income

Next up is Loan Information, where customers must enter:

  • Highest degree earned
  • Date of last graduation
  • School name
  • School location
  • Amount to refinance

Those with bachelor’s degrees can refinance up to $125,000

Those with graduate, doctoral (PhD), MBA or graduate law degrees can refinance up to $175,000

Those with graduate health professions degrees can refinance up to $500,000

The final stage is Get Your Rate, where customers will enter their social security number. This is used to look up and validate credit information, and will not affect credit scores. A box must be checked to authorize Nelnet Bank to obtain credit information which in turn prequalifies them for loan products.


If you have not been approved for student refinancing, you will receive an automatically generated letter providing the reasons why. 

Those who are successful will be matched with a list of viable options. The loan types will include the following:

  • 5, 10, 15 or 20 years in duration
  • Variable rate loans with 25 year terms available
  • Loan amounts vary between $5000 and $300,000
  • Parent loans can be transferred to the child loan
  • There is no application or origination fee involved
  • There is no prepayment penalty involved


Once the loan has been processed by Nelnet, it will be put into place on the customer account. When logging into the dashboard, customers will be able to see how much is remaining to pay on their loan and when their next payment is due to be taken.

Rates & Fees

  • After a payment is 15 days late, a fee of either 5% of the late payment or $10 (whichever is less) will apply)
  • The minimum credit score required is 680
  • The minimum income required is $36,000
  • The maximum debt to income ratio is 45%
  • Those who have filed for bankruptcy can qualify after seven years
  • The fixed APR starts from 2.99% Incl. AutoPay
  • The variable APR starts from 2.00% Incl. AutoPay

Payment Terms

  • The payment terms are decided on a case by case basis, depending on the application details received
  • Faster repayment is permitted without any fee being applied
  • Those who return to school, serve in the military, experience economic hardships or go through a natural disaster can postpone payments with forbearance
  • Forbearance is available for up to 24 months
  • Co-signer release is available
  • There is death or disability discharge available
  • Biweekly payments via autopay are not available

Those who are in school can choose from three options for repayment: deferred repayment, where no payments are made until they leave school, interest-only repayment and immediate repayment, where full repayments are made as soon as the loan is paid out.

After school, there is a grace period of six months in place, and co-signer release is available after on-time payments have been made for 24 months. Customers should bear in mind that only schools authorized to receive federal aid are eligible for Nelnet Bank student refinancing, with most four-year public and private schools accepted. Furthermore, students must be enrolled either half time or more to qualify.

Customer Support & Benefits

Customer service is available in-house, with a process for escalating any issues in place. While borrowers are not assigned a dedicated advisor, representative or banker, the average time between application and approval is just five minutes. 

There is also an extensive FAQ section on the site, covering sections such as Before You Apply, Loan Eligibility, Application Process, Rates Fees and Discounts and additional information. 




Contact Details

Email: [email protected] or [email protected] 

Phone: 1-800-446-4190 or 800-446-4190




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