Nelnet, Student Loan Websites Crash in Wake of Biden's Loan Forgiveness

Nelnet is the largest servicer of student loans in the US.

Dan Avery Former Writer
Dan was a writer on CNET's How-To and Thought Leadership teams. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Architectural Digest and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
Expertise Personal finance, government and policy, consumer affairs
Dan Avery
2 min read
Man frustrated with computer

Nelnet manages nearly $513 billion in government-owned student loans.

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President Joe Biden's announcement Wednesday that he is extending the student loan payment pause through Dec. 31, 2022 and forgiving up to $10,000 in student loans per individual sparked major excitement among borrowers. It also caused the websites of several student loan servicing companies to crash.

As of 2 p.m. ET, the login page for Nelnet, the largest servicer of student loans in the US, was down. "Nelnet.com is down for everyone -- It is not just you," Is It Down Right Now, which tracks whether sites are active, reported. "The server is not responding."

"We apologize Nelnet is experiencing extremely high website and phone traffic. We appreciate your patience. We know you have questions on student loan cancellation," Nelnet tweeted shortly before 2:30 p.m. ET. 

 A notice on the company's homepage read, "We are updating our websites and systems as quickly as possible to explain the types of relief now available for federal student loans held by the Department of Education. We appreciate your patience."

Nelnet reminded followers that "there's no immediate action needed" in the wake of Biden's student loan cancellation announcement, and invited them to view information at the US Department of Education Federal Student Aid website.

That site was also unavailable to some, though.

"A lot of people are interested in our website," a note on the FSA site read. "As a result, some pages may take longer to display than usual. Thank you for your patience."

There are less than a dozen student loan servicers and most sites, including Aidvantage, appear to be experiencing some form of outage or slowdown.

The site for Great Lakes, a subsidiary of Nelnet, was down earlier in the day, but now appears to be working.

As of September 2021, Nelnet and Great Lakes managed nearly $513 billion in government-owned student loans, according to Investopedia, or more than 40% of all student loans in the US.

More to come.