Great Lakes Loan Servicer: If you have a federal student loan depth then you would have probably come across Great Lakes Student Loan Servicer. It is a student loan servicing corporation which the US Government uses to deal with student loan servicing.
Great Lake is one of the largest student loan servicers in the country that handles public student loans. It has a user-friendly website, but making payments by mail can be complicated. It also might not be the best servicer if you want to pay off your loan early or sign up for an income-driven repayment plan.
While Great Lakes might not seem like a likely name for a student loan company, that’s exactly what it is. Its full name is Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc., and it is an official servicer for federal student loans. Read on to get more details about them.
What Is Great Lakes?
Great Lakes is based in Madison, Wisconsin, (part of the Great Lakes region) though it offers student loan servicing nationwide. It is one of nine private companies that contract with the U.S. Department of Education to manage the billing of federal student loans.
Great Lakes serviced $251.2 billion in federal student loans with more than 8 million borrowers as of March 31, 2019. Nelnet, a loan servicer that bought Great Lakes in 2018, had another $192.6 billion. For the 2018-2019 school year, Great Lakes was allocated 17% of new student loan.
You should note that you don’t get a say on which servicer you will be assigned to.
How You Get Assigned To Your Servicer
After the Education Department worked with your college to process your student loan request, approved it, and paid out the funds, your account was handed off. The Education Department assigned your account to one of its student loan servicers, most times Great Lakes.
Servicers must contact you once they’re assigned to manage your loan, typically after the first payment of your student loan disbursement.
If there’s any question about whether the communication you’ve received is legitimate, you can easily check. Visit StudentAid.gov and log into your Federal Student Aid account to view your federal student loan info, including your servicers for each loan.
Working With Great Lakes
Great Lakes as your student loan servicer becomes your contact for all matters, from first billing to your final payment. Initially, since you don’t have to repay your student loans while you’re in college, you may just have questions or want to check your balance.
You should also note that when you get a mail from Grate Lakes, you should read it carefully. This is because it might just contain sensitive information which you might need.
Once your repayment period kicks in, Great Lakes can provide:
- Help if you are having difficulties repaying.
- Options to change your repayment plan, including to an income-driven repayment plan.
- Applications for student loan deferment or forbearance. Two ways to suspend or reduce your payments temporarily.
- Advice on whether federal student loan consolidation is right for you, and how to complete the process if it is.
How to Contact Great Lakes
Whether you’re paying off your student loan early or having trouble making monthly payments, here’s how to contact the company:
- Log into your account to virtually view and manage your student loans
- Call (800) 236-4300 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Central Time
- Fill out a form on Great Lakes’ page to request contact via email
- Send faxes to (800) 375-5288
- Send mail to Great Lakes, P.O. Box 7860, Madison, WI 53707-7860
Great Lakes and Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
Due to its partnership with the Department of Education, there are several Great Lakes student loan forgiveness programs available to eligible borrowers.
Great Lakes and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
As a full-time public employee, or as a full-time volunteer in AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, you could be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) through Great Lakes.
If you’re approved for PSLF, all qualifying loans will be moved to FedLoan Servicing to complete the PSLF forgiveness process.
Have you been denied for PSLF before, even though you qualified? Get information on the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program, which helps eligible borrowers in your situation.
Great Lakes and Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Are you a teacher with Direct Loans or FFEL program loans? If you work full-time in a low-income school or educational agency, you might qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness through Great Lakes.
Depending on your eligibility, Teacher Loan Forgiveness offers up to $17,500 in loan repayment assistance on qualifying loans. If you have a Perkins Loan, you could also qualify for a Perkins Loan Cancellation. You can learn more about the requirements for Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Perkins Loan Cancellation for teachers here.
Great Lakes and Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge
If you’re a permanently disabled veteran or individual with student loans, you might be eligible for a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge. But once you’re approved, all eligible loans will be moved to the DOE’s sole servicer, Nelnet, who is the exclusive servicer of the TPD Discharge program.
As part of the application process for the TPD Discharge, you’ll need to submit paperwork proving your disabled status from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, your doctor, or the Social Security Administration. But once your TPD Discharge is approved, any student loan balances you have could be discharged by your lender.
Great Lakes and Other Student Loan Discharges
Looking for other ways to become debt-free? You might be able to take advantage of some Great Lakes student loan discharge programs under certain circumstances. These include:
- School closure discharge
- False certification discharge
- Unpaid refund discharge
Each of these programs has strict requirements, so it’s important to find out if you’re eligible. Explore our student loan discharges for more information.
Great Lakes and Income-Driven Repayment Plans
Are your student loans not eligible for forgiveness? You might consider refinancing or consolidating your loans to make them eligible for Great Lakes student loan forgiveness programs. Here are some income-driven repayment plans that could help you qualify:
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
- Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment Plan
- Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment Plan
- Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan
- Income Sensitive Repayment (ISR) Plan
Income-driven repayment plans typically offer lower monthly payments, longer repayment periods, and may qualify you for one or more student loan forgiveness programs that can help you become debt-free.
Great Lakes can be a seamless servicer if you’d rather pay online and don’t need to make any changes to your plan. It has lots of personalized resources that borrowers can access once they sign in and spells out your options in plain English.