2020 is nearly over, and it has been eventful, to say the least. Approaching the end of an incredibly difficult year, it’s important to look back at the positives. Since this year felt more like a decade, we thought we’d recap some of the major Nelnet milestones from 2020.

Working From Home

In March, Nelnet made it possible for nearly all 6,500 associates to work from the safety of their own homes in just a matter of days. Our IT team stepped up to provide expanded virtual network access, additional monitors, and increased internet capabilities to address the shift.

Wellness

Health screening aggregate reporting showed improvements to the blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose metrics for Nelnet associates compared to 2019. In 2020, over 450 associates participated in the $5 for 5% Improvement program. This program rewards associates with additional medical premium discounts for making health improvements during the year. Plus, Nelnet’s first virtual 5k had nearly 150 associates participate.

United Way

We wanted to do our best to make change for good and bring some positivity this year. That’s where Nelnet’s United Way campaign came in. Every year, Nelnet holds a United Way campaign to empower our associates to support their communities. This year’s virtual campaign raised over $1 million to provide meals to low-income families, distribute books to children, and help crisis victims achieve stability, among other causes.

Nelnet Bank

In March 2020, Nelnet officially received approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions (UDFI) to launch Nelnet Bank – an education-focused industrial bank in Salt Lake City, Utah. After months of hard work, we were incredibly excited to have Nelnet Bank successfully launch on November 2. By becoming an internet bank, we don’t have any in-person branches. That means we’re able to more fully serve customers, associates, and communities across the country.

Right now, we’re focused on offering student loan refinancing. This allows student loan borrowers to “trade in” multiple loans in exchange for one loan. Often, this type of refi results in a lower interest rate. Down the line, we’ll also offer private student loans and deposit accounts.

Community Solar

This year we also introduced a new business line, Nelnet Renewable Energy, offering community solar developers comprehensive and scalable subscriber acquisition, management and support services. Nelnet Renewable Energy understands the importance of making renewable and clean energy accessible to everyone, including homeowners, renters, businesses, non-profits, and municipalities. Nelnet Renewable Energy reflects Nelnet’s dedication to service by providing equal community solar access to areas across the country, so everyone can experience the benefits of solar energy.

“Green is more than just our corporate color,” stated Jeff Noordhoek, chief executive officer of Nelnet. “It’s our commitment to the future. With Nelnet Renewable Energy, we have an opportunity to play a vital role in the growth of renewable energy through funding solar energy projects and providing subscriber acquisition and management services for the community solar developers with whom we partner. Community solar is an exciting area of growth for investors and developers, and it’s a big win for the residents and business owners who previously were unable to support renewable energy use. Solar energy use is great for the environment, so being part of that tremendous growth is rewarding.”

Top Workplace in Rhode Island and Colorado

Nelnet was recognized as one of the best places to work in Rhode Island and Colorado this year. Selections were based on surveys conducted by employees of each company. It’s an honor to be held in such high regard by our own associates.

As a new year approaches, we’re excited for the opportunities to come. We look forward to another year of serving our customers, associates, and communities – and we’re hopeful that 2021 will have more good in store for all of us.