Nelnet primarily services federal student loans, which means the loans it acts as a loan servicer for are owned by a guaranty agency or the US Department of Education.
You can’t settle a federal student loan in good standing.
You have to default first.
After you default, a settlement becomes possible.
But unlike with private lenders, you’re not going to negotiate a student loan settlement for pennies.
Federal student loan settlement amounts are typically going to be for no less than 85% of the principal balance plus interest minus collection fees.
To get a settlement, the first thing you need to do is contact the federal government’s Default Resolution Group. The DRG will tell you whether they have your defaulted federal loans or if they’ve sent the loans to another debt collection agency.
Once you find out who has your loans, call them and ask them your options for getting your loans out of default. At that point, you’ll be asked whether you can pay the loan balance in full. If you say no, they’ll then ask can you do a lump sum settlement of the loans? If you indicate you might be able to raise some cash for a loan payoff, they’ll offer you a settlement amount. This amount will typically have to be paid in 30 to 90 days.
Can you counter that offer? Sure. Will they accept? That’s another story.