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How well are things going for Nelnet right now?

Its stock price is up more than 50 percent over the past year, hovering near an all-time high of around $63 a share.

The company recently completed its largest-ever acquisition and now has more than 6,100 employees and controls about 40 percent of the federal student loan servicing business.

"Things are going extremely well at the company," CEO Jeff Noordhoek said Thursday at the company's annual meeting.

But company officials also warned that there is a potential bump in the road ahead.

Its current servicing contract with the U.S. Department of Education expires on June 16, 2019, and the department now has a new procurement process for future contracts that has nine different parts.

Nelnet has applied to continue its servicing operations, and Noordhoek said it expects to hear news next month about where it stands.

He said the company is in a "great position," and he expects that it will continue participating "at some level."

What that level is could have a big determination on how successful the company is over the next few years.

Though it has worked hard to diversify, buying Allo Communications, investing in real estate and startups and growing its payment processing business, student loan servicing still makes up more than 20 percent of its revenue.

"We have a lot of people employed who rely on that business," Executive Chairman Mike Dunlap said.

Many of those people are among the more than 3,000 employees Nelnet has in Lincoln, which is four times the number the company had in 2009.

About 500 of those employees work at Allo Communications, which is five times as many as the company had when Nelnet bought it two and a half years ago.

Other tidbits from the company's meeting Thursday:

* Between expansions in Lincoln and the space it inherited when it bought Great Lakes Educational Loan Services earlier this year, Nelnet has added about 100,000 square feet of office space in the past 18 months.

* UniLink, a Nelnet subsidiary based in Australia, now provides payment services to 85 percent of that country's higher-education institutions.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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