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Nelnet Improving Website Security to Avoid POODLE Vulnerability

November 14, 2014

Google recently reported a vulnerability in SSLv3, an online security protocol that encrypts a website user’s data to keep it secure. The vulnerability, known as Padding Oracle on Downgraded Legacy Encryption (POODLE), allows attackers to get past this security and access a user’s account without a password.

If no action was taken, POODLE could potentially affect any portion of our websites that requires a login and supports SSLv3, such as online borrower accounts and Nsight Plus. We want to reassure you that Nelnet is quickly taking necessary steps to protect you and your students. Here’s how:

  • We have made the decision to stop supporting SSLv3.
  • We have notified critical vendors of our decision to stop supporting SSLv3.
  • We are identifying all applications that could be affected by POODLE.
  • We are finalizing a plan to disable SSLv3 and ensure that more advanced security protocols are supported throughout Nelnet.

Our current timeline for these changes is targeted for November 25, 2014. You and your students will not see anything different when accessing our websites unless you have a very outdated browser (ten years or more). In that case, you will be redirected to a warning page that explains the danger of continuing and recommends upgrading to a more current browser version.

For more information, you can visit:

If you have further questions, feel free to fill out our contact form.

 

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

NEW Resource: What Student Loan Borrowers Need to Know About Nelnet

November 14, 2014

Educating student loan borrowers is no easy task. There is an overwhelming amount of information for students to absorb, and it can be difficult to capture their attention long enough to share it all. To help you more effectively and efficiently communicate these important details to your students who have loans serviced by Nelnet, we’ve created a new resource — Nelnet: What Borrowers Need to Know.

borrower pdfThis one-page document, available in color or black and white, covers the key things Nelnet borrowers need to know about their student loans. The information included is short, easy to understand, and broken up by topic, making this guide not only a great educational tool, but also a reference that students can keep and continually come back to. Covered in the guide is:

  • What a servicer does
  • How Nelnet can help students
  • First steps students should take after taking out a student loan
  • Federal student loan stages
  • Ways Nelnet borrowers can make a payment
  • How students can lower their payments
  • Where financial literacy resources can be found
  • Nelnet contact information
  • And more!

This resource was suggested by one of our school partners, so we’re excited by the potential it has to be useful in your financial aid office. Here are some ways we think you can implement Nelnet: What Borrowers Need to Know at your school:

  • Email it to student borrowers with loans serviced by Nelnet
  • Share printed copies with student borrowers with loans serviced by Nelnet during entrance/exit counseling or other in-person meetings
  • Add the link to the PDF to your website
  • Share the link to the PDF on your blog or social media

For additional resources, please visit our library.

 

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Latest from FSA: First Servicing Summit

November 13, 2014

The Department of Education recently announced that it will host its first Servicing Summit on Monday, December 1, 2014, in advance of the 2014 FSA Training Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The purpose of this one-day session is to explore various topics of interest to student borrowers, consumer advocates, financial aid administrators, and policy makers. The session will conclude with a town hall meeting hosted by Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell, who, along with other senior Department officials, will be available to answer questions from participants.

Attendance for this event is limited to 200 participants, so if you are interested in joining, register now at http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/servicingsummit.html.

As a reminder, Nelnet will be attending this event, as well as providing support throughout the FSA Conference in the Resource Center located in GWCC Building A, Level 3 Open Foyer.

For more information, please see the original Electronic Announcement from FSA: http://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/102914LSI2014ServicingSummit120114.html.

 

Ron Hancock, National Manager, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Ron Hancock, National Manager, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Latest from FSA: Confirmation of TG Numbers and Electronic Services User Accounts Required Soon

November 13, 2014

As a reminder, every organization enrolled for a Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) account is required to review and validate its assigned TG numbers by December 12, 2014. Currently, approximately 80 percent of accounts still require validation. Failure to complete this process by December 12, 2014 will result in loss of access to Federal Student Aid data systems, including services such as Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) deliveries, ISIR requests, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) corrections, and National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) enrollment reporting and updates.

For information, please see FSA’s original Electronic Announcement: http://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/111014ReminderActiveConfirmTGNumbersRequiredby121214.html.

 

Ron Hancock, National Manager, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Ron Hancock, National Manager, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Nelnet’s Approach to Addressing Third Party Student Debt Relief Companies

November 13, 2014

alertRecently, Nelnet has been receiving a number of Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) forms from third party student aid companies.These companies are claiming the ability to reduce or eliminate student loan debt and charging borrowers fees for services that Nelnet and other Title IV servicers offer for free. In addition, some are attempting to change borrower contact information to the contact information of their company so that our borrower communications go to the third party company instead of the borrower.

When an LPOA is received in which the borrower has granted a third party company overreaching powers to manage their loans, the form is denied and a denial letter is sent to the borrower. This usually generates a phone call from the borrower, during which the borrower is apprised of their repayment options and informed that the services they are paying for are available through Nelnet, free of charge.

In addition, a weekly report is run, matching the known contact information of these third party companies to those of our borrowers. If the borrower contact information has been changed to the contact information of one of these companies, we revert to the borrower’s original contact information and a letter will be sent to the borrower explaining why this occurred. If the borrower does not have a prior address on file, we will work to obtain current information.

Individual power of attorney requests or requests made outside the domain of third party debt relief companies are still honored by Nelnet.

At Nelnet, our customers come first. We want to make sure our borrowers are taken care of and will continue to combat this issue!

FSA Conference: 10 Ways to Make the Most of Atlanta

November 12, 2014

FSA conf

 

I have had the privilege of attending the FSA conference for many years. There are so many sessions to choose from, so many people to meet, and so much great information to learn. Here are ten ways, from my personal experience, you can make the most of your FSA conference experience:

  1. Coordinate which sessions you will attend. If more than one person from your school is attending, divide and conquer and share notes in a debriefing meeting when you get back.
  2. Arrive at sessions a few minutes early to get a good seat. It is always good to have a back up plan, and FSA does a great job of offering popular sessions at multiple times. I always download the agenda to my phone and tablet.
  3. Photo via the Georgia World Congress Center (gwcc.com).

    Photo via the Georgia World Congress Center (gwcc.com).

    Bring comfortable shoes. There will be lots of walking (which helps offset all the food available). Also it is great to go for a walk after hours to get fresh air and exercise.

  4. Prepare ahead of time. What questions do you need to have answered? Jot them down now. You might learn the answer during a session, but you can also ask questions in the resource center, even if they are specific to your school or to a particular student.
  5. Attend the “Birds of a Feather” sessions. These sessions are for schools similar to your own and are great ways to learn how others handle their offices and help students.
  6. Meet at least five new people from other schools and exchange contact information. FSA is a great place to foster industry relationships and learn from other professionals.
  7. Visit the Resource Center to ask federal loan servicers questions. It is staffed all day, and we would love the chance to serve as a helpful resource.
  8. Tour the conference venue before it starts. Get your bearings and figure out where the key areas will be located. Find out where the meeting rooms are beforehand so you will know right where to go when the time comes.
  9. Experience something new. During your evenings, try a new food local to the area or visit a historical site and connect with friends. Make reservations as soon as possible if they are needed.
  10. Silence your cell phones. I have been on a panel discussion in front of 300 people when my daughter called about what was in the house for lunch. Embarassing.

BONUS! Here are some good links to keep handy on your smart phone or tablet during the conference:

General FSA conference information: http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/atlanta14.html

Sessions and agenda: http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/program14.html

FSA conference FAQs: http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/faq14.html

Nelnet will be at the FSA conference in full force to support you and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to stop anyone with a Nelnet name tag if you have questions or feedback; we are open to any opportunity to help you, your industry colleagues, and your students. Our team looks forward to seeing you there!

 

 

Jim Harris, Managing Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Jim Harris, Managing Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Thank You Veterans!

November 11, 2014
Photo credit: Beverly & Pack, flicr

Photo credit: Beverly & Pack, flickr

 

Nelnet and the Department of Education understand the kinds of sacrifices America’s servicemen and servicewomen make for our country. They watch out for us, and we want to show our appreciation by doing the best we can to return the favor. In acknowledgment of their service to our country, there are special benefits and repayment options for their federal student loans. Here’s a quick look at those benefits:

military benefits

 

For more information, view our Military Student Loan Benefits resource, which is available in our library.

Thank you veterans!

 

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet