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Borrower Experience: Nelnet Borrower Communications

November 21, 2013

Welcome emailLast week, I was discussing loan repayment with some May graduates. I mentioned that their grace period would be expiring soon and they should be finalizing plans for their initial loan repayment. I was very surprised when one of the students mentioned that they had been in a grace period since their sophomore year in college. I tried to explain that the grace period is a six month period of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you must begin repayment on your loans. I had to grin when the student told me that their grace period started when they began to pray about how to pay back their loans.

It is estimated that over 3.1 million students will enter repayment in 2013. At Nelnet, we begin to communicate with borrowers once their loans are assigned to us for servicing. Our Welcome to Nelnet materials are designed to inform them that their loan is being serviced by Nelnet, provide contact information, and encourage them to create an online account to receive the latest updates from us.  Three months later, they’ll receive our Introduction to Nelnet materials, which assist them in understanding how and why they’ll be communicating with Nelnet. One of the most informative pieces of communication they receive as our customer comes later during their first year in school. This material reviews all of our online resources available to them, including financial literacy, default aversion,  our resource library, and webinar training.

To add a personalized touch, we’ll wish them Happy Birthday on their special day.

Every time a loan is added to our servicing system for that borrower (or at least twice annually), we’ll send them a Student Loan Snapshot that provides an overview of all the loans the borrower has with Nelnet. This information gives the borrower an overview of the loans they’ve taken out, the differences between these loans, and the details for each. It also lets them know what their payment due date will likely be, and reminds them to utilize our online account management tools.

During the next several years while in school, the borrower will receive annual communication materials  that review their loan stages, repayment information, financial literacy and budgeting, resources, account updates, and of course, that birthday greeting.

In addition, we always encourage them to call us (our telephone lines are available to them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), should they wish to talk with one of our customer service representatives.

As they get closer to the beginning of their grace period, additional information is sent regarding loan repayment. And, while in their grace period, we increase the materials related to deferments, forbearances, and repayment options.

We utilize student advisory groups to review and make recommendations for communications being sent to students. These materials are constantly updated to make sure we are adequately communicating the messages we want to deliver.

For the past two years, Nelnet has been rated as the number one federal loan servicer, according to the results of FSA’s Customer Satisfaction Survey. We believe that the effort and energy we have put into our borrower communications have assisted in boosting us to that status.

We’re thankful that borrowers give attention to loan repayment while they’re in school, regardless of the reason.  And Nelnet will continue to develop and enhance borrower resources that effectively communicate expectations and provide helpful solutions.

For more information and borrower communication examples, visit the our Borrower Services page.

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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