Published: Nov 17, 2010 7:43 PM EST
Updated: Nov 17, 2010 4:44 PM EST

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Four student loan companies are paying the U.S. government nearly $58 million to settle claims they inflated their interest rate subsidies from the U.S. Department of Education.

Under the whistleblower settlement announced Wednesday, Nebraska-based Nelnet Inc. and Nelnet Educational Loan Funding Inc. have paid $47 million.

Also, Southwest Student Services Corp. paid $5 million. Texas-based Brazos Higher Education Authority and Brazos Higher Education Service Corp. paid $4 million. Texas-based Panhandle Plains Higher Education Authority and Panhandle Plains Management and Servicing Corp. paid $1.75 million.

The suit was filed by Jonathan Oberg, a former Education Department employee. He will receive $16.6 million from the settlements.

The settlements were handled through the federal court in Alexandria, Va.