Nelnet Student Loan Authority Review 2020: Take your Education Further

Nelnet provides private student loans to eligible candidates in all US states except Vermont. With maximum loan limits of up to $500,000 in some cases, most courses of study can be funded with a loan from this provider. In addition, there’s an option to refinance an existing student loan.

Nelnet Student Loan Authority
Applicants with an annual income of at least $36,000 Best for
2 /5
$ 1,000 /mo
Starting Price
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Table of Contents

    Why Get a Student Loan from Nelnet?

    There are a few reasons that stand out when considering Nelnet as a potential option. For example, applicants in some cases have the option to stall payments for up to 24 months in cases of unexpected income loss. Furthermore, there are interest rate discounts of 0.25% for those who set up automatic debit payments online.

    What Student Loans does Nelnet offer?

    There are two loan types available - undergraduate, and graduate. Although, graduate loans have various maximum loan amounts, depending on the field of study.

    Undergraduate Loans

    • Minimum loan amount: $1,000
    • Maximum loan amount: $125,000

    Graduate Loans

    • Minimum loan amount: $1,000
    • Maximum loan amount: Graduate or doctorate degree: $175,000
    • Maximum loan amount: MBA or graduate law degree: $175,000
    • Maximum loan amount: Graduate health professions degree: $500,000

    Certain criteria will apply to each loan option:

    1. Repayment terms of 5-15 years
    2. A co-signer may be required (see below)
    3. Three repayment terms are available
    4. Variable APRs from 1.23%
    5. Fixed APRs from 3.55%

    Am I Eligible?

    Applicants must meet the following conditions:

    1. US Citizen/permanent resident
    2. Studying in any state other than Vermont
    3. Enrolled at least half time
    4. Annual income of at least $36,000
    5. 680 credit score minimum

    For those unable to meet conditions 4 and 5, a co-signer must be added to the application. This could make things difficult for many potential applicants, who don’t have a family member/friend able to cosign a loan. 

     The cosigner will be released from their financial responsibility after 24 months of consecutive timely payments.

    Student Loan Refinancing with Nelnet

    The same eligibility requirements as above apply here, and students must have at least $5,000 that they wish to refinance.


    From 2.10% Variable / From 3.10% Fixed


    5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25 years

    Loan amounts

    $5,000 to $300,000

    Auto debit interest savings


    In addition, it’s possible to be granted up to 24 months of ‘hardship forbearance’ in the case of an unexpected loss of income. This may provide some welcome security for some.

    Loan Repayment Options

    • Immediate Payment - Begin full payments immediately upon loan disbursement
    • Interest-Only Payment - Only pay interest during enrolment
    • Fully Deferred Payment - No payments made during enrolment

    Pros and Cons


    • Inclusive eligibility
    • Loans of up to $500,000 for certain fields of study
    • Extensive terms when refinancing


    • Extremely high credit rating required to avoid the need for a co-signer
    • An annual income of at least $36,000 to avoid the need for a co-signer


    Nelnet loans are available in all states except Vermont, but frustratingly, it’s difficult for many students to avoid the need for a co-signer. Ascent is a great alternative, with a wide range of student loans, some of which don’t require a co-signer under any circumstances. It even offers a 1% cash-back reward upon graduation.