For almost fifty years Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation has been an active member of the loan servicing game. Great Lakes is based in Madison, Wisconsin and collaborates with over 1,000 various lenders - including some of the best private student loan lenders. In addition, they partner with the Department of Education and schools to service over $51 billion dollars in student loans under the Federal Family Education Loan Program.
Great Lakes aims to assist borrowers in repaying their student loans successfully. Unlike some major companies, Great Lakes does not actually provide the loans. However, they provide borrowers with assistance, customer service, payment details, and meeting customers' repayment abilities once loans are in repayment.
What Does Great Lakes Student Loans Offer?
Great Lakes provides a number of resources in their effort to ensure borrower success during the life of the loan. They provide updated and accurate information online in an effort to educate people about how to quickly pay off their student loans, how to save money, and additional information on loan repayment options. They even have something called a Knowledge Center, which aims to provide outreach to students, graduates, and parents of current or former college students.
In addition to the vast online resources aimed at helping borrowers understand their loans, Great Lakes offers a number of different options when it comes time to repay loans.
The company has something called a repayment planner, which can help borrowers determine which repayment program will work best with their unique needs.
Great Lakes has both a standard and income-driven repayment program. In addition, certain borrowers may be eligible for a short term suspension of their loan payments, using either a deference or forbearance.
Borrowers must choose a plan, otherwise they will be automatically enrolled in the standard plan. However, if a borrower is enrolled in the standard plan and has trouble making payments, they should definitely contact Great Lakes to determine what other options might be available to them.
When borrowers actually begin making payments, Great Lakes makes the payment process easy and quick. Borrowers have the option to sign up for auto-pay using either a checking or savings account. This option authorizes direct payment on a reoccurring basis each month. As an incentive to sign up for this type of payment, borrowers receive a discount worth 0.25% on their student loan interest rate. This also is beneficial to borrowers who have a proclivity to forget to pay bills on time or who have a tendency to misplace bills.
For borrowers who would like to make their payments through different forms, Great Lakes has a number of options. Borrowers can still make payments online without signing up for the auto-pay. In addition, borrowers can pay by calling over the phone, through a mobile app, or by mailing a check through postal mail.
Borrowers have a number of options to reach a customer service representative. Borrowers may call 1-800-236-4300 anytime between 7am-9pm Monday through Fridays. For borrowers who do not want to wait on hold, Great Lakes has a solution for you! Simply request a call back and the next available representative will give you a call. For borrowers who prefer to contact the company via e-mail, simply send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Common Complaints About Great Lakes Student Loans
Like many large servicers, Great Lakes has garnered several complaints. Most of these complaints revolve around billing statement practices and customer support. However, Great Lakes is backed by the Better Business Bureau and does attempt to resolve customer issues in a timely manner. Thus, if a borrower experiences problems, they should first try to contact Great Lakes customer service.
Great Lakes Student Loans FAQ
Does Great Lakes Offer Consolidation of Loans?
Yes, Great Lakes offers loan consolidation services. Loan consolidation helps borrowers who have multiple loans, some of which may have varying interest rates and even different servicers. Instead of receiving multiple loan bills each month, loan consolidation will enable borrowers to lump all loan payments together into one payment. Borrowers who choose to consolidate under the Direct Consolidation Loan program are eligible to choose their servicer. Thus, they may elect to have their loans consolidated under Great Lakes or another servicer.
How Do I Apply for a Loan Consolidation Through Great Lakes?
In order to apply for loan consolidation, students should gather all their loan information and application materials. Next, they should log onto studentloans.gov. Students should heed the warning to complete the application at one time, since the website does not save information. When students complete the application online, they will be prompted to choose a federal loan servicer from the list provided. Great Lakes will be one of the names listed, so students who want to consolidate through this company should choose that name. After 1-2 business days, applicants will begin to receive additional information. Applicants will be notified if any additional information is needed and when the process is complete. Until a notification is received that the loan consolidation request has been approved, borrowers should continue to make their payments as usual to their existing loans.
How do I Make a Payment Online?
Students can easily make payments online. The first step is to create an account on the Great Lakes loan consolidation services. Students will need their birth date and social security number in order to access their loans. After creating a username and new password, borrowers will have unlimited access to log into their account. Once inside the account, borrowers may opt to enroll in the auto-pay option or simply make a one-time payment towards their loan.
How are Payments Applied to My Great Lakes Loan?
Federal regulations dictate how loan servicers should allocate payments. First, payment is put towards late fees. Next it is applied towards interest. Lastly, any remaining amount is put towards the principal of the loan. Borrowers can request to target certain loans if they would like to pay extra on one loan. If no specific loan is requested, then the extra amount paid is split evenly over all loans.