Creating an awesome work environment Giving back to the communities in which we live and work By Susie McCormick March 8, 2024

Focus on the Nelnet Scholars Program

Since 2004, the Nelnet Foundation has supported the Nelnet Scholars Program, which recognizes academic excellence by granting college scholarships to the children and dependents of regular Nelnet associates. Nelnet has awarded more than $600,000 to the children of Nelnet associates over the last five years alone.

The impact of a $1,500 or $5,000 scholarship reduces the out-of-pocket costs and need for student loans, while possibly even expanding the opportunities for further education for some students. Offering a scholarship program for associates’ children and dependents is a perk that not all employers offer—but it fully aligns with Nelnet’s belief in the power of higher education to change lives.

The Program’s Impact on Students and Families

As Nelnet IT Development Manager Mike Johnson says, “I deeply appreciate working for an organization that offers a program like Nelnet Scholars. The program supports not only Nelnet employees and their families, but the health of the future workforce.”

Johnson’s daughter, Elizabeth O’Bday, is attending Fox Valley Technical College with assistance from the Nelnet Scholars Program. As O’Bday pointed out, “I am grateful to have received the Nelnet Cares Scholarship. Not only did it provide financial support in paying for my college degree, but it also showed support for my potential to succeed in my chosen field of study.”

Senior IT Infrastructure Program Manager Eldana Quigley’s daughter Bella is attending the University of Colorado–Boulder with assistance from the Nelnet Scholars Program. Bella called the Nelnet scholarship “very appreciated and helpful in my educational journey.” She is on the Dean’s List with a 3.75 GPA in molecular cellular developmental biology, and is a member of the Women in Technology club.

Trish Balani emhasized, “I was over the moon when I heard that I was a 2023 Nelnet Scholar. Higher education is a tremendous expense for mine and millions of other American families. I am so grateful for the help that I received from Nelnet, which has allowed me to attend Syracuse University. Within my first year, I have already gained access to such wonderful opportunities, like being an Undergraduate Course Assistant. I have also connected with some amazing professors and peers, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for the rest of my time as a student.”

Jyoti Balani, a Nelnet claims team lead in Centennial, couldn’t be more grateful for the Nelnet Scholars Program—or more proud of her daughter, saying “she’s doing wonderful at Syracuse.”

Skyler Cotham is attending the University of Arizona with assistance from the Nelnet Scholars Program, and said: “Receiving the Nelnet scholarship is not only an honor, but it provides a sense of security as well. It helps me plan for the future, knowing that I will have the support from this scholarship to help me financially—allowing me to focus on my academics and career rather than financials.”

Skyler’s father, Nelnet Loan Servicing Claims Specialist II Steve Cotham said, “I am very proud of Skyler for being selected as a recipient, and being recognized for all of his hard work, time, and dedication. I am so grateful I work for a company that gives back, and provides so many great opportunities to associates.”

As FACTS IT Director Jeff Fry noted, “The cost of a college education has skyrocketed over the past number of years, making the affordability a real challenge for many. Nelnet’s continued support toward education, as well as supporting their associates and families in this way, is one of the many great benefits of working here!”

Fry’s son, Nathan, is attending the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with assistance from the Nelnet Scholars Program. Nathan emphasized, “The scholarship provided to me by Nelnet helps to alleviate some of the financial stress of college. It is an extra motivator to excel in my classes, and a benefit I don’t take for granted. Thank you for the support!”

What are the eligibility requirements?

Associates need to be employed with Nelnet for at least three months as of the scholarship application’s deadline for their child or dependent (age 24 or under) to qualify for either of the program’s two existing scholarships, which are based on academic achievement and financial need.

  • Applicants must be a high school senior or graduate with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, depending on the type of scholarship;
  • Applicants must plan to enroll or be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate course of study at an accredited four- or two-year college or university, a vocational-technical school, or a graduating college senior immediately pursuing a graduate degree.

Recipients are selected based on past academic performance and future potential, leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, a statement of what winning the scholarship would mean, and financial need.




Susie McCormick

Senior Corporate Communications Writer