Great Lakes Student Loan - All You Need to Know

Of all the names you could have imagined for a student loan company, our bet is, Great Lakes student loan never crossed your mind. Many people have never heard of Great Lakes as a student loan company, let alone think about borrowing funds from them to finance education. 

Yet, the Great Lakes student loan company is a very lively education financing company and has been for quite some time. The company is known by its full name as Great Lakes Education Loan Services, Incorporated. Believe it or not, you can officially obtain federal student loans from this company. 

Some scholars may have received mail or email form this company about student loans. If you’re one of these people, you need not be bothered. You will find all the information you need to go about the Great Lakes student loan service on this page. 

Also, we’ll tackle student loan payment and forgiveness options available to those who have borrowed from this federal loan servicer. If anything, you need to know that Great Lakes part of the nine-member federal companies that oversee student loan payment and management of funds for loans. 

Primarily, the company services student loan debts by tracking and collecting payments from student borrowers. Therefore, if you borrowed your student loans from Great Lakes, or plan to, continue reading to know all the information you have to need. 

A Closer Look at the Great Lakes Student Loan?

As a loan servicer, the Great Lakes company is headquartered in Wisconsin, Madison to be precise. This region in Wisconsin also happens to be the region where the Great Lakes are located, hence, deriving its somewhat unusual name. Though the company services federal student loans, it is a private company and so are other eight that contracts for the Federal Government to service federal loans. 

According to the federal student loan portfolio, over 8 million students borrowed about $251.2 billion Great Lakes student loans as of 31st March, 2019. However, it’s noteworthy to state that in 2018, another loan servicer called Nelnet bought the Great Lakes company. This company also had an additional $192.6 billion. 

Great Lakes received the second-largest new student volume which was calculated to 17% of the total share. This shows the popularity and reputation of the Great Lakes at a national level because it is among one of the most reliable servicers of loans for scholars in the country. 

You know you’re dealing with a fairly good loan servicer if there are few or no lawsuits against the company. And so far, borrowers of the Great Lake student loan haven’t taken their issues to court a lot. 

Getting a Great Lakes Student Loan Servicer Assigned

For many students, it’s baffling how their loans ended up with a private company they know nothing about, especially because these loans are federal. Well, here is how it works. It all begins with your application for student loans. 

Typically, you do this through your college. However, the Education Department processes your loan application by collaborating with your colleagues. If everything works out well, your loans get approved, and paid into your account. 

The part you don’t know is the fact that the Education Department gets one of the nine federal companies to handle your account. In your case, the Great Lakes had the honor since they contacted you about your federal student loan. Usually, you can expect the loan servicer in charge of managing your loan account to contact you once the Education Department assigns them your account.  

Also, you can expect to hear from Great Lakes when you begin receiving your disbursement. Naturally, the company will contact borrowers after the first payment. You will find several details, terms and conditional from them. Remember, you need to arm yourself with all the necessary information when dealing with student loans. 

Remember, you don’t have a say in the company the Education Department assigns your account. 

How to Work With Great Lakes Student Loan Servicers300

 Even though nobody dictates their loan servicer, it’s prudent to try and find out how best to use the services of your servicer to your advantage. After all, your student loan servicer is your first point of contact to the federal government in all matters pertaining to your loan. Usually, many students fail to realize the importance of their loan servicer while they are in college. 

This is understandable because you don’t have to make any monthly repayments towards your loans while you’re still in school. However, the best approach is to prepare beforehand. And how do you do this? You simply have to make inquiries and ask a few questions. On the other hand, you may also want to verify the information about the balance in your account. 

Once you’ve done this, you know the kind of assistance you can expect from Great Lakes when it’s time to begin the repayment of your loan. Some of these assistances include the following: 

  • Providing advice in times when repayment becomes challenging.
  • Offer different plans for repayment such as the income-driven plan. 
  • Help you temporarily reduce your repayment amounts.
  • Advice to help you determine if consolidation of your federal student loans is a good option for you – then help you go through the process.
  • Process your application for loan forbearance or deferment in case you need to suspend payments. 

At this point, you might have guessed that it’s very essential to pay rapt attention to any mail you receive from Great Lakes. The contents of their emails or mails may contain information crucial to your education and financial future. Usually, you’ll have information such as alerts for missed payments or delinquency in there. Therefore, you don’t have to take them lightly. That’s if you intend to keep your loans in good standing and maintain a good credit score. 

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Review of Great Lakes Student Loan Services 300

Generally, the better part of federal student loan repayments go through the online portal set up by the Great Lake. If you have a Great Lake student loan, you can expect to see an option on the portal that allows changing payment methods. Some borrowers prefer to select the autopilot payment method. 

This option enables the automatic transfer of the required repayment amount from their bank account every month. Aside from the obvious benefits of using autopilot, you also save lots of money that would have otherwise gone for the interest on your direct loan. 

`Mind you, there are many ways in which the Great Lakes student loan is different from other federal loans. One unique characteristic of this loan lies in the payment structure. In the case of your regular federal loans, you would have to use a 10-year plan for repaying your debt. Over the course of these year, borrowers pay a fixed amount every month to cover their student loan debt. 

However, with a Great Lake student loan, you can opt for another repayment plan depending on the specific financial situation you find yourself in. Ultimately, this alternative approach to repayment aims to promote convenience for borrows during the repayment process. Therefore, it’s safe to say borrowers of Great Lakes student loans don’t have the burden of repayment as much as borrowers of other student loan packages. 

The Caveat

Despite the obvious benefits of changing your repayment plan, it comes with a little caveat. The change has very significant adverse effects on your income. This is because of the tax requirements you have to meet before making the change. These are very technical issues and you would be better off talking to an expert. In this case, we always recommend our readers talk to their loan specialists from the Great Lakes. 

Contacting Great Lakes200

As we’ve mentioned earlier, you’ll need to maintain good relations with the Great Lakes if you receive an email or mail from them about your student loan. But how do you do this? It’s easy, you only have to know how to contact them from the onset. 

Then you proceed to call on them for any issues, inquiries or problems associated with the processing, payments or repayment of your student loan debt. It is essential to remember that a considerable amount of student loans that go into default could be have been prevented if the borrowers had the right information or expert advice. 

Therefore, you want to always use the contact of the company whenever the need arises. Below, we’ve outlined the steps you can take to contact the Great Lakes company. 

  • Visit the online portal and login to your account to access all contact information.
  • Place a call between Monday to Friday, 7 am to 9 pm Central time to (800) 236-4300.
  • Also, you can use their contact form by filling a form on their contact page
  • Faxes go to (800) 375-5288.
  • Address for sending mail is P.O Box 7860, Madison, WI 53707-7860

If case you have any issues reaching the company or their customer service, you can get in touch with us or let us know in the comments section below. 

Get to Know the Customer Service

How to get to know the customer service of a company if not by using them to resolve your issue? If you make your student loan payment through the Great Lakes, you want to know some of the things their customer service can do for you. 

Get online access to your account – Once you can establish contact with the customer service, they can help you to access vital information such as your monthly billing statement. Also, you can learn how to pay bills through your contact. 

Select autopay – We have mentioned this earlier. However, if you can remember, we also stated that you need to talk to an expert before making this change. Therefore, the customer service of Great Lakes can help point you in the right decision when you’re considering the option of enrolling in autopay. 

Opt for income-driven repayment – You have the choice to request an income-based repayment plan. It only takes you completing a form provided by the Great Lakes to effectuate this change. However, we always recommend you speak to a representative of the company. And the customer service is readily available. 

Assist with forbearance and deferment requests – There may come a time that you’ll have to put a temporal stop to your repayments. In some cases, you might not stop entirely but reduce the amounts you pay. In either case, you would want to keep the customer service on speed dial. 

Process all payments – Primarily the company’s task is the collection and tracking of all payments. Therefore, you have to come to them if any questions or request such as making additional payments. 

Remember, your loan servicer is always at your disposal when you need help concerning your loan. However, you need to understand that there may be times that they provide advice that’s in the best interest of the company, instead of you. This is why it’s sometimes essential to talk to a third-party.

Can You Change Your Loan Servicer? 200

The body in charge of transferring loans from one servicer to another is the U.S. Department of Education. And at times, they do transfer loans. However, you’ll receive a notification of any changes to your loan servicer the moment this happens. 

Irrespective of the loan servicer you have, the loan options, repayments, and program are the same for all nine companies. However, the distinguishing factor is the customer service you get from these companies. This single factor sets the different loan servicers apart. 

Issues with Great Lakes Student Loan Services

As always, things may not go smoothly and you may have some issue with the services of Great Lakes. Minor issues can be expected and you should easily get these resolved by contacting the customer service. However, if you find yourself dealing with some extra problems with Great Lakes that are proving too challenging to resolve here is what you need to do. 

First, you need to file a direct complaint with the company’s ombudsman. This is Great Lakes’ most powerful customer service office, authority wise. You can contact them by calling (866)-348-0708. Also, they are reachable by email at this address: greatlakesservicingombudsman@glhec.org

If there two options that don’t work for you, then you might want to consider filing a complaint through your Great Lakes account. 

But what if you’ve tried all these three options but still haven’t seen any resolution to your problems?

In your case, you can lodge your complaints to any of the following: 

  • The office of your state attorney general
  • Your state representative in Congress
  • The Feedback System of the Federal Student Aid website

Your state office in charge of consumer protection

Try not to forget the process of recording all the information and interactions you’ve had with these bodies. These records should include details such as the name of the customer service representative who initially tackled your issue at Great Lakes. You also want to include the dates, time and duration of your exchanges. Then you must be ready to produce copies of any bills, letters or email exchanged through your account. 

Getting Your Great Lakes Student Loan Forgiven

Usually, you’ll find that borrowers who have been at the receiving end of any illegal actions from loan servicers can be eligible for some form of student loan forgiveness program. Ideally, you shouldn’t have any problem protecting your rights through the law courts if you believe your loan servicer has violated them. 

However, we must state that you have a number of forgiveness programs if you decide to look for ways to get your Great Lakes student loan forgiven in part or full. Usually, to benefit from these, you must have been misled or defrauded by your loan servicer. 

In the particular case of Great Lakes, you could apply for the discharge program called the Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment. In addition to this, you can also get some of the repayments you’ve already made reimbursed to your account. Either way, it’s totally possible to get your Great Lake student loan forgiven.  

Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness Help

If you struggle with university student loan forgiveness, then you should get help with that. Because the employees in these agencies are dealing with the student loans every day and they have enough experience for solving different kinds of student loan problems.

Watch out for Scams

Great Lakes gets a very significant portion of all loans assigned to it. However, if you ever suspect anything fishy about the information you’ve reached from the company, it’s easy to check. Head over to StudentAid.gov. Here, you can have full access to all the information relevant to your federal student loan such as your loan servicer. You only have to use your credentials to log into your Federal Student Aid account. 

With this measure, you can be on the lookout for scan and do your due diligence when you receive any mail or email from any loan servicer. Anybody can send an email claiming to be able to resolve your great lakes student loan. However, not everyone can access the systems of StudentAid and attempt to validate players who weren’t there.  If you have to ask yourself if you’re dealing with a scammer, then you probably are. Also, it’s common to find some “debt relief companies” that use hefty promises such as student loan assistance. But these turn out to charge unsuspecting scholars high prices for services they could have obtained free of charge.