Great Lakes Student Loan Services Review 2021
When it comes to managing your federal student loans, your loan manager plays an important role in paying off your debt. Your manager is the person you go to if you have questions, need to change your payment plan, and to make payments.
You can find out who your loan manager is by researching your information on the National Student Loan Data System or by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
If Great Lakes is your loan manager, here’s what you need to know.
Due to the government’s new initiative on Next Generation Business Process Operations, Great Lakes and its parent company Nelnet will no longer service federal student loans after December 2020. If Great Lakes is your current loan manager, the ministry Department of Education will assign you a new loan manager. .
What is Great Lakes Student Loan Services?
Loan managers are not lenders. In the case of federal student loans, the Department of Education is your lender. Your loan manager is the company the Department of Education assigns to handle billing and customer service issues. You cannot choose your own loan manager — one is selected for you after your loan is disbursed.
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, more commonly known as Great Lakes, is one of 10 companies currently licensed to administer federal student loans. As one of the largest student loan managers, Great Lakes works with more than 6,000 schools and millions of students across the country.
Are the Great Lakes federal or private?
Although Great Lakes offers private loan processing for other lenders, it is primarily a federal loan manager. Currently, Great Lakes offers both Federal Family Education Loans Program (FFELP) loans and Federal Direct Loan Program loans, including the following types of loans:
How can the Great Lakes help you?
If you have Great Lakes as a loan service, you can contact their customer service if you have any questions or concerns on the following topics:
- Student loan repayment: If you need to make your monthly payment, sign up for automatic payments, or make an additional payment for your student loan, you can do so online, through the mobile app, or by calling customer service.
- Alternative repayment plans: If you cannot pay your monthly payment, contact Great Lakes immediately and explain your situation. Your loan manager can help you apply for an income-based repayment plan where your monthly payment is based on your income and family size. Depending on your situation, your payout could be significantly reduced. Some applicants are even entitled to monthly payments of $ 0.
- Student loan consolidation: If you have multiple federal loans with different monthly payments and due dates, you can consolidate them and simplify your payments with a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.
- Postponement and tolerance: If you are experiencing financial difficulties, such as a sudden job loss or a medical emergency, contact Great Lakes. You may be eligible for a deferral or forbearance and may temporarily postpone your loan payments.
- Loan remission: If you work full time for a nonprofit or government agency, let Great Lakes know and let them know that you want to apply for the Public Service Loan Rebate (PSLF). As a PSLF candidate, Great Lakes will transfer your loans to FedLoanServicing, the designated PSLF loan manager.
How to Make Payments on the Great Lakes
Great Lakes allows you to make payments in several different ways:
- Call: You can make payments over the phone by calling 1-800-236-4300.
- Mobile app: If you download the MyGreatLakes app (Apple App Store and google play), you can make payments from your smartphone.
- To post: If you prefer to make your payments by check, you can send your payments to Great Lakes. However, the mailing address depends on where you live, so log into your account to find out where you need to send your check.
- Online: You can pay your monthly bill online.
To make payments online, follow these simple steps:
1. Create an account on MyGreatLakes.org
To create an account, click on “Register” at the top right of the screen at MesGrandsLacs.org. Then enter your social security number and your date of birth. The site will ask you to create a username, password and PIN code.
2. Select your loan account
Once your account is verified, you can select your loan account and schedule a payment. You can choose to make a one-time payment or set up recurring automatic payments. If you can, automatic payments are a good idea. When you sign up for automatic payment, you get a 0.25% discount on the interest rate on your direct loan.
When it comes to your student loan payments, there are rules that apply to all student loan officers. All unpaid interest and charges, if any, must be paid first, before the service agent can apply any part of your payment to the main.
If you make additional payments, the excess is automatically deducted from the interest accrued since your last payment. If there is any money left over, it is applied to the loan principal with the higher interest rate. If you prefer the deductible applied to another loan, you can change your preferences online in your account Overpayment preferences.
About Great Lakes Student Loan Services
Great Lakes Educational Services has been in business for over 50 years and has achieved a “B-” rating with the Better Business Bureau. It should be noted that critics have argued that there is an inherent conflict of interest when a rating organization such as the Better Business Bureau receives revenue primarily from the companies it rates, which opens the door to the suspicion of these ratings.
Great Lakes is a major service provider and has experienced some issues over the years. According to the 2020 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Student Loans Ombudsman report, the CFPB handled 3,600 federal student loan complaints between September 2019 and August 2020. About 1% of those complaints involved the Great Lakes, making it one of the least criticized about federal loan services.
In May 2020, the Student Borrower Protection Center filed a class action lawsuit against Great Lakes, Equifax, TransUnion, Experian, and VantageScore. Lawsuit alleges Great Lakes mismanaged CARES Act pandemic relief efforts by illegally providing inaccurate information about millions of its customers to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – the three major credit bureaus – at the expense of credit borrowers.
Great Lakes is one of the companies named in a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges Great Lakes mismanaged CARES ‘pandemic relief efforts by illegally providing inaccurate information to major credit bureaus, damaging the credit reports of student loan borrowers.
How to contact the Great Lakes
To contact customer service, call 1-800-236-4300. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST. You can also contact customer service through the mobile app or secure messaging.
Additionally, you can send general correspondence (not payments) to:
P.O. Box 7860
Madison, WI 53707-7860
Is Great Lakes your only service provider?
Unfortunately, you cannot choose your federal loan manager. However, there are two ways to get a new repairman if you are not happy with the one you have:
1. Consolidate loans
If you want a new loan manager but want to keep the benefits of your federal loan, consolidating your loans with a Direct Consolidation Loan can be a smart solution. You can choose a new repayment term, qualify for a new payment plan, and get a new loan manager.
Your interest rate is based on the weighted average of your outstanding loans rounded up to the nearest 1%, so you won’t save money by consolidating your debt. But it may be worth it, especially if you have multiple federal loans to juggle. And you could become eligible for repayment plans that you were not previously eligible for.
2. Refinance the debt
If you are willing to forgo the benefits of federal loans like income-based repayment plans, another option is student loan refinancing. With this strategy, you work with a private lender to take out a loan for your existing student debt amount and use it to pay off your old debt. The new loan will have different repayment terms, including the interest rate and the monthly payment.
If you have good credit and a reliable income, you may be eligible for a lower interest rate than you currently have. Over time, refinancing your debt could even save you money. If you think refinancing is right for you, check out our list of best refinance lenders.
You don’t get to choose your federal loan manager; one is assigned to you. If you have Great Lakes and are not happy with the service you received, please be aware that their contract has not been renewed for 2021 and you will be assigned to loan service at that time. To minimize problems with your loan manager, make sure you pay all of your minimum payments on time, review your account statements, and contact your manager immediately if you notice any errors.
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