In Brief:

  • PHEAA had decided to no longer service federal student loans and had begun reducing staff.
  • The Department of Education required PHEAA to process an influx of new applications before it exited.
  • PHEAA turned to Nelnet, which assigned 120 associates to handle the overflow and alleviate the backlog.


Case Study

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) was solely responsible for servicing managed the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program that offers eligible borrowers in public service the opportunity to have their remaining federal loan balances forgiven after completing 120 qualifying monthly payments. In its role, PHEAA oversaw various aspects of student financial aid programs, including loan guaranty, loan servicing, financial aid processing, and outreach for both state and national higher education initiatives. In July 2021, it was announced that PHEAA would cease servicing federal student loans, with the effective date set for December 14, 2021.

To facilitate a smooth transition, PHEAA began the process of migrating its federal loans and PSLF responsibilities to another federal student loan servicer. As part of this process, PHEAA gradually reduced its staff responsible for servicing these loans. However, in October 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced a temporary expansion of the PSLF program’s eligibility requirements, leading to an unforeseen surge of hundreds of thousands of new applications. Unfortunately, PHEAA was inadequately staffed to handle this sudden influx effectively, prompting the agency to seek support.

In response to PHEAA’s request for assistance, Nelnet promptly assigned 120 full-time back-office associates to handle the processing of PSLF applications. With tens of thousands of applications in need of careful review to determine eligibility for loan forgiveness, Nelnet’s team diligently worked through the backlog. To ensure accuracy and compliance, Nelnet’s Quality Assurance associates conducted random spot-checks on applications during processing.

Through their collaboration, Nelnet provided valuable support to PHEAA during a critical period, helping process and review numerous PSLF applications and facilitating a smooth transition of accounts to the new loan servicer.

The best thing about working with Nelnet was the partnership. Its management was great, its associates were excellent, and both new-hire and ongoing training went very well. They did a phenomenal job for us, not only with helping us meet our productivity goals but it was also dedicated to making sure that everything was done right and our customers’ needs were met. They did a fantastic job and I have nothing but great things to say about Nelnet and what they did for us. On a scale of 1-10, I’d rate Nelnet a 10.

Mitchell Minaya

Manager, Vendor Relationships,

Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency

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Nelnet Business Process Outsourcing Team

Nelnet Business Process Outsourcing Team

Our BPO team is composed of 3,800+ full-time associates nationwide. We work with over 220 clients across a range of industries, from education, finance, and non-profits to government, healthcare, and professional services. We can adapt our services to fit any client's needs.