Great Lakes Student Loans Review

Great Lakes Student Loans Review

The Verdict

The Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation (typically referred to easily as “Great Lakes”) is likely one of the largest student loan servicing corporations within the USA.

Now the very first thing you need to know is that an organization providing student loan servicing would not truly present student loans.

Rather, it acts as a guarantor and middleman between people who find themselves paying off student loans and the Department of Education (if it is a federal student loan).

Great Lakes additionally companies student loans from non-public lenders to assist guarantee payback whereas additionally balancing the monetary scenario of the student debtors.

Servicing a whole bunch of billions in student loans. Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation is a not-for-profit firm, servicing greater than $238 billion in student loans for over 8 million student debtors.

Great Lakes works with 6,000 colleges and 1,100 lenders and employs greater than 2,000 folks.

Operating out of Madison, Wisconsin, Great Lakes was lately acquired by the student loan firm Nelnet (though each proceed to function as separate manufacturers).

Great Lakes’ motto is, “Doing what’s right to change lives for the better.”

Quite becoming, contemplating the essential half they play in making greater schooling (which might open doorways towards a greater profession ) extra accessible.

Most useful for overcoming monetary challenges. After wanting intently on the companies Great Lakes supplies, the place it is actually “changing lives for the better” is in serving to folks struggling to repay their student loan.

When you’ve got labored onerous to finish your schooling, it might be devastating to default in your student loan and destroy your credit earlier than you actually have a probability to ascertain a profession.

But working with Great Lakes may help make sure that would not occur!

Offering versatile cost choices. Through packages like income-geared reimbursement plans and debt consolidation choices, those that are weak to default are supplied options to pay for his or her schooling.

Higher schooling ought to enhance lives, not set the stage for a lifetime of debt and poor credit.
Average Cost of College (A.Y 2017- 2018)

By facilitating entry to schooling, Great Lakes helps be sure that the modifications folks undergo are constructive whereas additionally serving to lenders handle loans offered to student debtors.

Why You’re Lucky to Get Great Lakes

When anybody is accepted for a federal student loan from the United States Department of Education, a loan service firm is assigned to them.

As one of many largest student loan servicing corporations on the market, there’s an excellent probability a brand new federal student loan might be assigned to Great Lakes.

Connecting student debtors with non-public lenders. The Great Lakes platform can be used to course of non-public student loans supplied by monetary establishments in addition to these supplied by the federal government.

Keep in thoughts, non-public student loans do not qualify for a number of the companies Great Lakes supplies for federal loans (like automated loan forgiveness after 20 years).

But students who want extra non-public funding for his or her schooling can use Great Lakes to seek out the proper loan for them and supply a cost processing platform.

Manage a number of loans by means of the identical platform. The processing for all loans channeled by means of Great Lakes occurs by means of the Central Disbursement System (CDS), and it permits debtors to pay a number of lenders.

Great Lakes supplies a one-stop answer for accessing and managing each non-public and federal student loans, offering help from utility by means of to reimbursement.

Why People Love Great Lakes

Choose Great Lakes to service consolidated federal student loan debt

It may be troublesome for a student borrower to handle a number of money owed, which might embrace navigating totally different rates of interest, minimal funds, and cost deadlines.

One single loan to take care of. The U.S. Department of Education supplies Direct Consolidation Loans to deliver a number of federal student loan money owed below a single loan umbrella.

Information and steerage to assist folks entry a Direct Consolidation Loan can be found by means of the Great Lakes buyer help middle and web site.

It’s your alternative who companies the consolidation loan. Great Lakes additionally companies Direct Consolidation Loans.

Unlike common federal student loans, on this case you get to decide on Great Lakes as your servicer somewhat than having it assigned.

Unlike some non-public corporations providing debt consolidation loans, there is not any consolidation price for accessing and servicing a Direct Consolidation Loan by means of Great Lakes.

What Are the Problems?

Processing errors mixed with a scarcity of high quality customer support are frequent complaints

When an organization companies over $200 billion in loans with greater than 8 million student debtors, there’s sure to be some problems.

The indisputable fact that errors occur in processing loan funds is comprehensible, however a scarcity of customer support to take care of these issues once they occur is not.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation an A+ ranking, however you would not have guessed it from all of the detrimental complaints written about it on the location.

Loan funds should not utilized appropriately. When clients are in a position to pay greater than the minimal required cost they will select which loan to use the additional cash towards.

Great Lakes provides the choice to decide on the loan to repay first (as soon as curiosity on all of the loans is happy) but it surely looks as if borrower’s alternatives are sometimes ignored.

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Borrowers attempting to use the “avalanche method” for coping with debt (the place you repay the loan with the very best curiosity first) have been pissed off by cost errors.

Other issues embrace enrolling clients within the incorrect cost plan, failing to course of income-driven plans, and reporting false data to credit companies.

Unhappy and unhelpful customer support. Mistakes occur, however once they do, the distinction between a superb and a foul group typically lies with customer support expertise they supply.

There are many complaints on-line saying the customer support representatives with Great Lakes had been impolite and unhelpful when errors had been dropped at their consideration.

Although most issues had been ultimately rectified, the debtors felt they had been handled badly (although the errors had been Great Lakes’ fault, not theirs).

Who Does Great Lakes Compete With?

Great Lakes is likely one of the largest loan servicing corporations within the USA, particularly now that it has been acquired by Nelnet, previously certainly one of its predominant rivals.

Two different corporations—Navient and FedLoan Servicing—stay the primary competitors for Great Lakes and Nelnet right this moment.

FedLoan Servicing is #1. The single largest loan servicing firm within the United States known as FedLoan Servicing.

There actually is not numerous distinction between what FedLoan provides and what Great Lakes supplies to its clients.

Both provide a wide range of reimbursement plans so debtors can choose the one which works greatest with their monetary scenario.

Both present intensive on-line help assets to assist student loan debtors select one of the simplest ways to repay.

FedLoan and Great Lakes additionally each provide the identical low cost (0.25% off the loan rate of interest) when a borrower indicators up for Autopay (extra data on that choice under).

Like Great Lakes and FedLoan, Navient supplies clients with conventional fixed-payment choices in addition to income-based and consolidation choices.

Navient provides a singular reimbursement plan often called a “graduated repayment plan” the place your month-to-month funds improve over time (hopefully as your revenue will increase).

In a survey performed by the Department of Education, Navient scored the bottom for buyer satisfaction amongst student debt servicing corporations (together with Great Lakes).

The Question Everyone’s Asking

Can Great Lakes assist in conditions the place the borrower is unable to make minimal month-to-month funds?

Another vital operate Great Lakes supplies as a student loan servicer helps to guard its most weak clients from the worst-case state of affairs of default.
Great Lakes' Three-Part Approach To Funding

Helping debtors apply for deferment or forbearance. Two momentary options obtainable to people who find themselves at-risk for defaulting on their student loans are often called deferment and forbearance.

With both of those choices, you possibly can quickly cease making funds in your student loan or scale back the month-to-month cost quantity.

With deferment, you do not pay curiosity through the interval your funds are suspended or lowered.

With forbearance, curiosity continues to build up even through the interval the place funds are frozen.

Federal student loan debtors can apply for deferment or forbearance by means of Great Lakes as their loan servicer.

While the appliance is being thought-about, debtors nonetheless have to sustain with month-to-month minimal funds or they are going to change into delinquent and ultimately default.

Great Lakes may help obtain loan forgiveness or discharge. It can be attainable for debtors to use for federal student loan forgiveness or discharge by means of their Great Lakes account.

The federal authorities can, in particular circumstances, forgive all or a part of a student loan, or in some circumstances have it canceled or discharged.

For instance, students who’ve gone on to a profession as a instructor, or as a public servant, can apply for forgiveness.

If the college the student was attending was closed, or in the event that they skilled a everlasting incapacity, it could possibly be attainable to have the loan canceled or discharged as nicely.

Great Lakes provides an utility for loan forgiveness, cancelation, or discharge that may be accessed, accomplished, and submitted by logging right into a buyer account.

How It All Works

When Great Lakes is assigned as your student loan servicer (or if you happen to select it to service your Direct Debt Consolidation loan) there are a couple of steps concerned in getting began with paying your loans again.

These assets and procedures assist set up the reimbursement format that is greatest on your scenario by balancing what you owe with what you possibly can afford to pay.

Create an internet account to entry full assets. The very first thing it is advisable to do is create an internet account with Great Lakes.

The on-line portal is the simplest strategy to make loan funds on a number of loans and monitor your balances and deliberate funds.

You’ll want your Social Security quantity and your date of delivery, which is able to let the system name up your loans and hyperlink them to your account.

Once you’ve got created a username and a password, you are prepared to begin submitting funds by means of your account.

Calculate totally different cost plans with the Repayment Planner. One of the advantages of getting a loan servicer is the power to select from amongst a number of cost choices.

To assist with this course of, folks with a Great Lakes account can use its helpful on-line Repayment Planner.

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The planner makes it attainable to see how a lot curiosity might be paid if sure month-to-month cost quantities are revamped a hard and fast time period.

The size of time it can take to repay the loan, the progress funds will make when it comes to the loan steadiness, and the whole curiosity paid are all included.

Choose the tempo that works on your finances and money move. Some would possibly choose to unfold decrease month-to-month funds over an extended time (although it can price extra in curiosity).

Others would possibly prioritize getting their loans paid off on the lowest price attainable with greater month-to-month funds over a shorter size of time.

Sign up for Autopay and get 0.25% shaved off your loan rate of interest. Loan service corporations like it when folks join Autopay because it means there’s much less probability for debtors to overlook a cost.

When Great Lakes debtors join Autopay by means of their on-line account, their loan rate of interest is lowered by 0.25%

One-quarter of 1 % won’t sound like numerous financial savings, however it may possibly add up.

Save nearly $1,000. For instance, if you happen to borrow $30,000 with a 20-year reimbursement schedule, the distinction between paying 4% curiosity and three.75% curiosity is $942.62.

Flexible reimbursement plans can profit low-income debtors. One of the largest advantages of going by means of a loan servicing firm like Great Lakes is the power to decide on between normal reimbursement plans or various income-driven plans.

Pay similar month-to-month funds over 10 years with a typical plan. The first kind of reimbursement plan is the Standard Repayment Plan, the place debtors are charged a hard and fast month-to-month cost, often over 10 years.

Support for debtors on a Standard Repayment Plan consists of monetary planning assets obtainable by means of the Great Lakes web site’s Knowledge Center.

Four income-based reimbursement plans obtainable. When a student is recent out of faculty and attempting to ascertain their new profession, month-to-month loan funds can actually weigh them down.

To assist students whose present revenue is not sufficient to keep up a Standard Repayment Plan,Great Lakes provides 4 totally different cost plan codecs.

REPAYE can safe decrease month-to-month funds and probably loan forgiveness. Borrowers serviced by Great Lakes who’re arrange on the REPAYE (Revised Pay As You Earn) plan pay 10% of their month-to-month discretionary revenue towards their student loans.
Student Loan Debt By Loan Program

If their revenue will increase every year, the ten% calculation will improve, to the purpose that month-to-month funds could possibly be set greater than the Standard Repayment Plan.

If the borrower retains up on their funds and there is nonetheless a steadiness left over after 20 or 25 years, it may be forgiven (however the borrower pays tax on the forgiven quantity).

PAYE is for folks with excessive debt-to-income ratios. The same format known as PAYE (Pay As You Earn), which is designed for folks with excessive debt and little or no revenue.

The borrower pays 10% of their discretionary revenue, and after 20 or 25 years the steadiness is forgiven.

The massive distinction comes into play in case your revenue will get to the purpose the place 10% of it’s truly greater than what an individual would pay on a typical reimbursement plan.

A PAYE plan participant won’t ever be requested to pay extra monthly than a typical plan would require.

It will, due to this fact, price extra in curiosity since there might be extra unpaid principal remaining over the lifetime of the loan.

IBR additionally helps decrease month-to-month funds. Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plans are nearly similar to PAYE codecs, besides you possibly can pay 10–15% of your month-to-month revenue.

You won’t ever be charged greater than a typical reimbursement plan would cost with an IBR plan, and excellent balances are forgiven after 20–25 years.

Pay off loans sooner with an ICR. The income-geared choice with the power to repay loans the quickest is named Income Contingent Repayment (ICR).

With an ICR plan, you may pay both 20% of your month-to-month discretionary revenue or the quantity you’d pay month-to-month for a hard and fast cost normal loan over 12 years (whichever is much less).

If you continue to have an unpaid steadiness after 25 years, it’s forgiven.

The Great Lakes cellular app saves time and will increase comfort

Great Lakes provides debtors whose loans it companies the chance to obtain and use a cellular app (obtainable for iOS and Android gadgets).

Manage every part with the App. Through the app, you can also make or schedule funds on your student loans.

You also can use the app to observe your account particulars—for instance, the unpaid balances remaining in your loans or your cost historical past.

The app will even offer you reminders when your funds are coming due and confirmations when funds have been processed.

If you are on an income-geared cost plan, you should utilize the app to submit the paperwork you want every year to show your present revenue.


  • How do I get began with Great Lakes?

    When you might be accepted for a federal student loan, you’ll be assigned a loan service firm.

    If Great Lakes is assigned to you, you possibly can go forward and set your self up an internet account, and as soon as you’ve got entered your delivery date and Social Security quantity, it can mechanically hyperlink you to your loans.

    You also can apply for federal and personal student loans by means of Great Lakes.

    Great Lakes is the Loan Originator for federal consolidation loans, which suggests you possibly can select it as your servicer when making use of for such a loan by means of the Department of Education.

    Great Lakes also can provide you with data on non-public loans it companies and the appliance course of to safe one.

  • Will I get decrease rates of interest with a better credit rating?

    With federally backed student loans, your credit rating doesn’t have an effect on eligibility or the phrases of the loan.

    In reality, when making use of for many federal loans, the federal government will not even test your credit rating.

    If you’ve non-public, non-subsidized student loans nonetheless, then good credit can imply higher phrases.

  • How do I speak to an actual human being?

    There is a “Contact Us” hyperlink on each web page of the Great Lakes web site.

    Phone reps can be found from Monday to Friday, 7:00 am to 9:00 pm by calling 800-236-4300.

    You also can entry buyer help by means of its @MyGreatLakes Twitter and Facebook accounts, in addition to by means of cellphone, common mail, and e-mail.

  • Does Great Lakes present help or assets for monetary administration to student loan debtors?

    Yes, there are total sections of the Great Lakes web site devoted to giving members recommendation, steerage, and schooling on the way to handle their funds.

    When you go to the Great Lakes web site residence web page, you possibly can scroll right down to the Knowledge Center the place there are all kinds of various articles, calculators, and useful data.

  • What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program? Do I qualify for it?

    The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program is a program that gives authorities and not-for-profit employees an opportunity to alleviate some or all of their student loan debt.

    If you’ve federally-subsidized loans and work at a non-partisan authorities job or a tax-exempt not-for-profit, you almost certainly qualify for this system.

    After sending in your utility, if accepted, you may be anticipated to make 120 month-to-month qualifying funds. This might be on an income-based reimbursement plan, and when the ten years are up, the remaining steadiness is forgiven!

    Just be sure that to ship in that utility yearly so all your employment data is up-to-date.

  • What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program? Do I qualify for it?

    The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program is a program that gives authorities and not-for-profit employees an opportunity to alleviate some or all of their student loan debt.

    If you’ve federally-subsidized loans and work at a non-partisan authorities job or a tax-exempt not-for-profit, you almost certainly qualify for this system.

    After sending in your utility, if accepted, you may be anticipated to make 120 month-to-month qualifying funds. This might be on an income-based reimbursement plan, and when the ten years are up, the remaining steadiness is forgiven!

    Just be sure that to ship in that utility yearly so all your employment data is up-to-date.

  • Can I declare chapter on my student loans?

    It will not be fully not possible to declare chapter on student loans, however it is extremely troublesome.

    You’d have to undergo a lawyer to show to courts that paying again your loans will result in undue hardship, or that you’re experiencing undue hardship and so can not pay again your loans anyway.

    This consists of being unable to keep up a fundamental lifestyle if you happen to do pay again the loans, or being bodily unable to work.

    Essentially, you’d have to indicate that you simply genuinely tried to pay again the loans previously, however it’s bodily not possible for you to take action now and sooner or later.

Great Lakes helps be sure that student loans result in monetary success, not monetary destroy

If Great Lakes is assigned to you, or if you happen to select it as your servicer for a Direct Debt Consolidation Loan, you need to take advantage of what the corporate provides.

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Use the Repayment Calculator to find out what you possibly can afford, and if you happen to qualify for a reimbursement plan geared to your revenue, work with Great Lakes to decide on the most suitable choice.

Sign up for automated funds and you possibly can save a whole bunch of {dollars} over the lifetime of your loan.

If you end up in want of a brief forbearance or deferment, Great Lakes is there to assist make it occur.

Having a federal student loan servicer is a requirement, not an choice.

That’s as a result of the federal government is aware of the folks it lends to can have a a lot decrease probability of defaulting with the help of a loan servicer.

After all, the purpose of funding folks to get entry to greater schooling is to assist them earn extra revenue by securing a extra profitable profession, not get buried in debt.

Have you tried Great Lakes as your student loan servicer?

How has it labored for you?

Any fascinating tales (or student-loan-related nightmares) to share with the remainder of us?

Let us know within the feedback under!