Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance Review

Our Rating: D (Compare)

Nelnet Bank may be a good option for borrowers who already have Nelnet student loans. Nelnet Bank (previously U-fi) is a subsidiary of student lender Nelnet, Inc., which has repeatedly faced litigation for unlawful practices.

Loan Limits $5,000 – $500,000
Fixed Rates 3.49%* – 7.44%
Variable Rates 3.00% – 9.51% (16.00% Cap)
Terms 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 or 25 years
Min. Credit Score 680
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*Lowest rates always include a 0.25% interest reduction for enrolling in auto-pay.

Skip to: Rates & Fees | Eligibility Requirements | Repayment Options | Consumer Reviews & Complaints | FAQ

Loan Refinancing Options
Private student loans
Private parent loans (in either name†)
Federal student loans
Federal Parent PLUS loans (in either name)

Parents may refinance in their own names or transfer debt to a child

Nelnet Bank Refinance Rates & Fees

Nelnet Bank’s fixed rates are between 3.49% and 7.44%. Variable rates are between 3.00% and 9.51%. Lowest rates always include the 0.25% interest reduction for enrolling in auto-pay. Note that the rates below are from the Nelnet website, which explicitly states that rate values may not be up-to-date.

Also note that the lowest rates always include a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments.

In 2022, Nelnet Bank has raised its lowest available fixed rate for new loans 51.7% (from 2.30% APR) and its highest fixed rate 24.8% (from 5.96% APR). The lowest available variable rate is up 60.4% (from 1.87% APR) and the highest starting variable rate, which has increased 78.4% (from 5.33% APR).

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate Variable Rate
5, 7, 10, 15, 20 or 25 Years† 3.49% – 7.44% 3.00% – 9.51%

Only variable rates are available with 25-year terms; fixed rates are available on terms up to 20 years.

Additional information about Nelnet Bank refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with Nelnet Bank will not affect your credit score. They will conduct a soft, not hard, credit inquiry (learn the difference).
  • Nelnet Bank does offer a discount for setting up auto-pay: 0.25% interest rate reduction; this reduction is void any time three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan.
  • Variable rates are based on the One-Month SOFR (0.74% as of this writing) as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and/or The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the 25th day (or the next business day) of the immediately preceding calendar month. Previously, variable rates were based on the 1-month LIBOR.

Student Loan Refinancing Calculator

Based on advertised rates, use the calculator below to determine what your new monthly payment and potential savings may be if you refinance with Nelnet Bank.

Additional Fees

Beyond interest rates, there are a number of fees a refinance lender may charge up-front or during the loan servicing period. Below is a list of these fees that Nelnet Bank does or does not charge.

Fee Type Amount Charged
Application Fee None
Loan Origination Fee None
Disbursement Fee Undisclosed
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Payment Fee The lesser of $10 or 5% of the overdue amount
Returned Payment Fee $20
Collection Fee Undisclosed
  1. Application fee – fee to apply for rates & approval.
  2. Loan origination fee – fee to create the new loan.
  3. Disbursement fee – fee for distributing funds to lenders to pay off loans that have been refinanced.
  4. Prepayment penalty – fee for making extra payments to reduce a refinance loan balance or pay it off early.
  5. Late payment fee – fee for making a late payment.
  6. Returned payment fee – fee for failed payments due to insufficient funds, also known as a “bounced check”.
  7. Collection fee – fee for collection activity on a defaulted debt.

Current Promotions & Offers

Nelnet Bank offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in auto-pay.

Nelnet Bank Refinance Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for refinancing with Nelnet Bank, all borrowers must meet the criteria below.

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
  • Income Requirement: $36,000 annual minimum without co-signer.
  • Credit Score Requirement: 680 minimum score.
  • Graduation Requirement: bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Location Requirement: unspecified.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Borrowers must not be enrolled in school half-time or more.
  • Borrowers with undergraduate degrees may refinance up to $125,000.
  • Graduate or doctorate degree holders may refinance up to $175,000.
  • A graduate degree in a healthcare profession may qualify the borrower to refinance up to $500,000.
  • No history of student loan default; this applies both to the primary borrower and the co-signer.
  • Neither borrower nor co-signer can have filed for bankruptcy in the last 84 months (7 years).

Nelnet Bank Student Loan Repayment Options

Lenders vary greatly on the benefits and options provided to borrowers during the loan servicing period. Additionally, benefits may only be available on a case-by-case basis. Nelnet Bank offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

Nelnet Bank may offer forbearance under certain conditions, such as temporary hardship.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school Undisclosed
Disability rehabilitation Undisclosed
Active military duty Undisclosed
Involuntary unemployment Forbearance, up to 12 months
Economic hardship Forbearance, up to 12 months
Natural disaster Undisclosed
Temporary hardship Forbearance, up to 12 months

Additional Options

Nelnet Bank may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • Nelnet Bank offers forbearance for general hardship in increments of 2 or 3 months up to 12 months total over the life of the loan.
  • Co-signer release is available after 24 months of consecutive, qualifying payments.
  • Death / disability discharge is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.

Nelnet Bank Reviews, Complaints & Lawsuits

Beyond our own findings, our team also collected the most genuinely insightful customer experiences we could find, including any instances of legal action against the company in which the details became public.

Nelnet Bank Online Reviews

Few Nelnet Bank customer reviews are available on public forums due to the company’s newness. Customer reviews of Nelnet, Inc.’s past consolidation and refinancing programs have been included below for their value as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experiences with Nelnet Bank’s parent corporation. Note that these reviews are unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).


“I was with nelnet and consolidated [my loans] which went to FedLoan servicing. However, I’ve been paying for 5 years and it’s literally at the same balance it was 5 years ago. Absolutely ridiculous”Aly Smotherman on Facebook, 7/9/2020


“Took out 32k in student loans, ended up owing 52k in 7 years while paying the minimum payment. Had to refinance privately with a 1.5 percent interest rate to stop the bleeding and turn it around. I’m now half way paid off and have another 1.5 years away from being debt free. Had Nelnet not jacked up my interest rate, I would be done with my loans by now. Nelnet is the worst and predatory.”Jason Christopher DeBaca on Facebook, 6/22/2019


“You always have the option of consolidation. I personally have Nelnet as my servicer as well, and while they are very helpful, be sure to document every call you have with them so you can refer back to it if they fail to do something they promised. I keep a running word doc and it’s saved me more than once.”User at reddit, 11/30/2015


Nelnet Bank has an unclaimed profile on TrustPilot with zero (0) reviews.

Nelnet Bank Consumer Complaints

As consumer finance companies, student loan refinancing lenders fall under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency. As part of their mission, the CFPB allows consumers to log official complaints. These complaints are publicly available on the CFPB official website.

Since March 1, 2012, consumers have submitted 6,646 complaints about Nelnet, Inc. (Nelnet Bank) to the CFPB at an average of one (1) complaint every 14 hours, which is 100 times the average daily complaint rate among reviewed lenders. Among 3,409 complaints with narratives, at least 83 or 2.4% specifically reference student loan refinance.

In 2022, Nelnet Bank’s consumer complaint rate is up 90.8% (as of this writing) compared to the complaint rate in an average year.

In 2021, Nelnet Bank received 1,417 complaints, which is more than twice its average annual complaint rate. In the same year, consumers filed the equivalent of one (1) complaint for every $1.059 million of that year’s corporate revenue or two (2) complaints for every nine (9) employees.

The allegations made in these complaints are unverified, are not necessarily representative of all consumers’ experiences with Nelnet Bank, and may contain outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.). Note that a lender with a large customer base is likely to also have a higher number of complaints when compared with smaller lenders.

Line Graph: Nelnet, Inc. (Nelnet Bank, U-fi) Consumer Complaints, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, from 2012 (31), 2013 (35), 2014 (24), 2015 (26), 2016 (553), 2017 (1,013), 2018 (991), 2019 (922), 2020 (1,119), and 2021 (1,417)

Below we’ve included three (3) of the most recent complaints (as of this writing) that specifically reference student loan refinance or refinancing and in which the consumer consented to sharing their details.


Complaint 5280924
3/2/2022
New York

“I’m a victim of identity theft. I’ve been attempting to recover the damage and resolve the issues on my credit report by calling, faxing, and uploading the required documentations to the bureaus as requested by their agents. Even after disputing these fraudulent accounts with these bureaus and the creditors for well over 45 days, the creditors have constantly ignored all requests for proofs used to validate these fraudulent accounts on my file and yet the creditors keep validating fraudulent information and accounts on my credit report without proofs. The bureaus have been notified of this and yet the creditors are freely allowed to report fraud information without any consequences for violating the federal law and my FCRA rights.”


Complaint 5277665
3/2/2022
North Carolina

“I dispute the amount of my federal student loans, and would like a copy of the agreement or promissory note outlining the terms of my loans, which span XXXX, XXXX, XXXX. I don’t have any records showing what I am being asked to repay and how those funds were distributed to the school.”


Complaint 5277663
3/2/2022
South Carolina

“I had private student loans with XXXX XXXX that were sold and transferred to Firstmark ( a Division of Nelnet around XXXX of XXXX. I am currently in XXXX XXXX, and some of my private student loans from my XXXX college loans had run out of standard forbearance time while they were still at XXXX. I was able to file for extended/hardship forbearance ( NOT COVID-19 related ) over the phone with proof of enrollment data from XXXX XXXX XXXX. I was last approved for this in late XXXX XX/XX/XXXX with XXXX data. I was told Firstmark would be able to check this. I no longer have the secure e-mail from XXXX XXXX XXXX message center, but I have the e-mail notification that the correspondence occurred ( attached ), and at least one approval notice of this forbearance that I can find if needed. I was assured by XXXX and Firstmark that my hardship forbearance would remain in place until I graduated. This is what is stated on XXXX ‘s updated student loans website XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX as well. My loans have been NOT been consolidated, refinanced, or otherwise modified with Firstmark, so XXXXXXXX XXXX terms should still be in place. By XXXX of XXXX I received notice that these loans had gone into repayment because there was no standard forbearance time left I know this, its why I had a hardship forbearance to begin with. When I called and tried to explain that I knew this had been approved for their hardship forbearance with XXXX before the loan was sold, and that they should have all of this on file, I was told that ” they didn’t do that because they weren’t XXXX ” and there was ” nothing they could do about it ”. I get conflicting information every time I call, and every time I ask to speak to a supervisor or anyone might be able to look up my files I get put on hold/hung up on/told I’d get a follow up e-mail but don’t. They refuse to look into the original terms of my loan and keep telling me about what I can do with my student loans under their terms- as if I’d taken it out with them to begin with – when they are supposed to honor the terms I had at XXXX XXXX, including any ongoing forbearance. I have tried calling XXXX to see if they had any records to clear this up, they said they don’t have them and that Firstmark should. Firstmark has not made any effort to review my documents or fix this issue ( or even contact me! ) and I dont have copies of my hardship forbearance since I filed it over the phone with XXXX.”


For a full list of complaints made against Nelnet, Inc. (Nelnet Bank) in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, click here.

Nelnet Bank Lawsuits

Nelnet Bank has not been explicitly implicated in any Nelnet, Inc. lawsuits, though most ongoing litigation, such as the proposed class action Isner-Monticello et al. v. Nelnet, Inc. (Case No. 8:20-cv-02135-MSS-TGW), predates the bank’s November 2020 founding.[1]

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions consumers have about student loan refinancing with Nelnet Bank.

  • Is Nelnet Bank good for refinancing student loans?
    Nelnet Bank may be a good option for current Nelnet borrowers or for borrowers who wish to transfer a parent loan into the benefiting student’s name.
  • Does Nelnet Bank require a minimum credit score?
    Yes, Nelnet Bank requires a minimum credit score of 680 in order to qualify for student loan refinancing.
  • Are Nelnet Bank loans federal?
    Nelnet Bank loans are not federal. Nelnet Bank has no affiliation with the federal government or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Does Nelnet Bank charge a prepayment penalty?
    There are no penalties for early payments or repaying a loan in full before its term is over.
  • Does checking your rates with Nelnet Bank hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, Nelnet Bank performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, Nelnet Bank will perform a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Can I refinance a Nelnet Bank loan?
    You can refinance Nelnet Bank student loans, student loans from another private lender, and federal loans. There is no limit to the number of times a borrower may refinance with Nelnet Bank. Note, however, that every new line of credit requires a hard credit check that may affect your FICO score.
  • Can I refinance just some of my loans with Nelnet Bank?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with Nelnet Bank. You may choose to refinance your private loans only or refinance private and federal loans together.
  • Can I refinance loans that have already been refinanced?
    Yes, you can refinance loans as many times as you want with Nelnet Bank. Note that each time you refinance, you will have to submit a new application; every application requires a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Can my spouse and I refinance our loans together with Nelnet Bank?
    Nelnet Bank does not allow spouses to combine debt.
  • How long does it take to refinance with Nelnet Bank?
    While Nelnet Bank does not disclose a detailed timeline, refinancing generally takes several weeks. After you accept their offer of terms, Nelnet Bank estimates 10-14 business days until disbursement.
  • Who services Nelnet Bank refinance loans?
    Nelnet Bank services its own loans.
  • Does Nelnet Bank offer a grace period?
    Nelnet Bank does not offer a grace period for refinance loans.
  • How often do variable rates change?
    Nelnet Bank recalculates its variable rates once per month according to the 1-month SOFR.
  • Can I get any special rates or discounts with Nelnet Bank?
    Nelnet Bank offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction to borrowers who enroll in auto-pay.
  • What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
    You may still be required to repay your Nelnet Bank student refinance loan in the event that you declare bankruptcy.

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College Ave B
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Citizens Bank C+
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Nelnet Bank D
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Sources

  1. ClassAction.org, Isener-Monticello et al v. Nelnet, Inc. et al
  2. Nelnet Bank, Student Loan Refinance
  3. Nelnet Bank, Disclosures
  4. Nelnet Bank, Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Nelnet Bank, Private Education Refinance Loan Application and Solicitation Disclosure
  6. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Consumer Complaint Database
  7. Dun & Bradstreet (DnB), Business Directory: Nelnet Bank, Inc.
  8. DnB, Business Directory: Nelnet, Inc.
  9. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities