LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln-based company Nelnet has announced the layoffs of 350 newly hired workers.

On Wednesday the company announced the need to manage ‘excess staff capacity’ due to delays in the government’s student debt relief and return to payment programs.

Approximately 350 associates who were hired within the last six months will be laid off and approximately 210 associates will be terminated for performance reasons in the company’s Nelnet Diversified Services (NDS) division, according to Nelnet.

Ben Kiser, Nelnet’s Executive Director with Corporate Communications, said Nelnet has not disclosed how many associates were impacted by location, though he said most of the impacted associates are from outside Nebraska.

“These decisions are never easy,” said Kiser, “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.”

According to Nelnet, a 60-day working notification was given to impacted associates whose performance was not a factor. Performance was used to identify 210 of the impacted associates.

Back in November, the President’s student loan forgiveness program was put on hold after attorneys general from several Republican-led states issued a court challenge to stop the program.

The legal challenge to the program was filed by Republican attorneys general from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina.

In 2022, Nelnet said their Diversified Services division took steps to grow its loan servicing teams ahead of the implementation of the Student Debt Relief Program, as well as return to repayment for federal student loans which was set to start on Dec. 31, 2022.

Kiser said, “We will continue to actively search for opportunities within the organization to redeploy eligible associates, and we hope many will consider reapplying to join our NDS team when repayment does resume.”

Nelnet employs approximately 8,300 associates.