What Is Great Lakes Student Loans?

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DEFINITION

Great Lakes Student Loans is a student loan servicer that contracts with the U.S. Department of Education. As a servicer, the company is responsible for helping borrowers manage billing and payments for federal student loans.

Definition and Example Great Lakes Student Loans

Great Lakes Educational Loan Services is based in Madison, Wisconsin—part of the Great Lakes region—although it offers student loan servicing nationwide. It is one of six private companies that contract with the U.S. Department of Education to manage the billing of federal student loans.

Great Lakes is one of the most commonly assigned student loan servicers. As of the last quarterly report, Great Lakes was allocated 18% of new student loan volume, the largest portion of student loans.

Student loan servicer MOHELA also handles 25% of student loan accounts.

Great Lakes Student Loans is an affiliate of Nelnet Diversified Solutions, LLC. Nelnet separately handles 12% of federal student loan accounts.

Alternate name: Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.

Suppose a college graduate is about to begin making student loan payments. Great Lakes Student Loans can help the borrower understand the payment schedule and the interest cost. Let's say that the student can't afford the total monthly payment amount right after graduation.

Great Lakes can offer extended and graduated payment plans in which the payments start small and gradually get larger. However, interest will accrue on the balance owed, and it will cost more in total interest over the life of the loan.

How Great Lake Student Loans Work

If you have federal student loans, you will be automatically assigned a loan servicer who will manage your account and payments.

After the Department of Education works with your college to process your student loan request and pay out the funds, your account will be handed off to a loan servicer such as Great Lake Student Loans. You don't get to choose which servicer you are assigned.

Servicers must contact you once they’re assigned to manage your loan, typically after the first payment of your student loan disbursement. This servicer will then be your point of contact for all matters relating to your student loans, from first billing to your final payment.

It is possible for your account to be transferred to a new servicer. If that happens, the new servicer will be required to contact you and notify you of the change. You can always check your current servicer on your Federal Student Aid account.

Initially, since you don’t have to repay your student loans while you’re in college, you may only need to contact Great Lakes Student Loans if you have questions or want to check your balance. 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

You do not have to pay additional fees for these services.

Always open communication from your student loan servicer. It may contain time-sensitive information, such as notification of missed payments or even delinquency.

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.

Some scammers may contact borrowers to make false claims about student loan forgiveness or their loan status. Many debt-relief companies also promise student loan assistance, only to charge borrowers for things that are otherwise free, like applying for deferment or lowering payments. Learn the signs of a scam to protect yourself.

How to Get in Touch With Great Lakes Student Loans

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 online Great Lakes 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’ contact 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.

Stay on top of your Great Lakes student loans to keep them in good standing and protect yourself from fees, damage to your credit score, or even student loan default or wage garnishment.

Key Takeaways

  • Great Lakes Student Loans is a student loan servicer that contracts with the U.S. Department of Education.
  • As a servicer, the company is responsible for helping borrowers manage billing and payments for federal student loans.
  • Great Lakes Student Loans handles 18% of all federal student loan accounts.
  • You can always check who your student loan servicer is on your Federal Student Aid account.

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