Nelnet, a federal student loan servicer, is cutting staff because of delays in the Biden administration’s debt-relief plan and the continued pause on loan payments, the company announced Wednesday.
About 350 employees hired in the last six months will be laid off and about 210 employees will be let go because of “performance reasons,” according to the announcement. Employees were given 60 days’ notice if their performance wasn’t a factor.
Nelnet started growing its staff last year to prepare for the one-time student loan forgiveness program and the restart of payments after the pause was scheduled to end Dec. 31. Federal courts ended up blocking loan forgiveness, which further delayed the resumption of payments. The administration is planning to restart payments 60 days after June 30 or after the lawsuits challenging the debt relief plan are resolved, whichever comes first. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the plan next month.
“These decisions are never easy,” Nelnet spokesman Ben Kiser said in a statement. “With the delay of federal student loan repayment through much of 2023, regrettably, it isn’t feasible to maintain increased staffing levels for work that will remain on hold for a significant amount of time.”
Kiser added that Nelnet hopes many employees will consider reapplying when payments resume.