When it comes time to start paying off student loans, many college graduates are staggered to learn that they don’t deal directly with the US Department of Education (USDE). The federal government issues millions and billions of dollars in student loans each year, but it does not monitor the repayment of these loans. Instead, it allocates them to some certified and licensed service companies that act as intermediaries.
These companies process payments from borrowers and answer their questions. Great Lakes Student Loans is one of these companies. Great Lakes is one of the largest student loan servicers in the United States. In its capacity, the company manages payments and other general services for millions of borrowers whose loans have been issued by the Department of Education and private financiers.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Do Student Loan Services Do?
- 2 What Is Great Lakes Student Loans?
- 3 What do Great Lakes Student Loans do?
- 4 The Process of Great Lakes Student Loans
What Do Student Loan Services Do?
A federal student loan servicer is the intermediary between students and the federal government that loaned money for college to students. Knowing your servicer is your top-notch equipment in the complex battle to get rid of your loans (which sometimes feel like a never-ending process). Student loan servicers collect your student loan bills and check if you pay them on time. They also help borrowers change payment plans, certify forgiveness programs such as “great lakes student loans forgiveness”, and register to defer loan payments. The student loan manager’s job is to help you keep your loans current by giving you the support and resources you need. But they are also private companies, which means that they can offer options that are not the best for the borrower. It should be your attorney by knowing your payment options and asking questions.
What Is Federal Loan?
The federal student loan program of the United States Department of Education (USDE) is the “William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan”. For this program, the US Department of Education is your lender. There are 4 types of direct loans available.
Direct Subsidized Loans
These loans are made to eligible undergraduate students who endorse the financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or vocational school.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Loans are made to eligible college students, graduates, and professionals, but eligibility is not based on financial need.
Direct PLUS Loans
Loans are allocated to graduate or professional students and dependent parents of college students to help pay for education costs not covered by other financial aid. Eligibility is not based on financial need, but a credit check is required. Borrowers with poor credit history must meet added requirements to qualify.
Loans allow you to combine all of your eligible federal student loans into one loan with one loan servicer.
What Is Great Lakes Student Loans?
Great Lakes is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, and has been in business since 1967. It does not issue loans, but rather assures and collects them on behalf of lenders. Unlike many of its competitors, Great Lakes is a nonprofit company and not traded publicly (no trade). Over the past five decades, the company has worked with over 6,000 colleges and universities and 1,000 private lenders so far.
Till now, Great Lakes was one of four servicing agents approved by the Department of Education (USDE) to service federal student loans. In late 2017, Nelnet made an offer to buy Great Lakes for one hundred fifty million dollars. Federal regulators sanctioned the sale a few months later, making Great Lakes part of the Nelnet organization.
Who Owns Great Lakes Student Loans?
However, Great Lakes still operates separately from Nelnet (meaning Nelnet is the parent company of Great Lakes). In 2018, Great Lakes serviced more than two hundred and thirty-two billion dollars in student loans to more than 7.5 million borrowers under its federal contract. Great Lakes has approximately sixteen hundred employees across all of its operations centers and in its headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services is part of the Great Lakes region, although it offers student loan services nationwide. It is one of nine private companies that have signed a contract with the United States Department of Education (USDE) to handle the billing of federal student loans (FSL). Great Lakes is one of the hardest-hit (most assigned) student loan servicers. At the end of 2019, Great Lakes was allocated nineteen percent of the volume of new student loans, the majority of student loans.
Here comes a very commonly asked question “Is Great Lakes a federal student loan”.
Great Lakes is a federal student loan servicer of the United States Department of Education. They help with student loan issues, payments, consolidation, payment relief, and more. Great Lakes is a non-profit student loan management company that holds millions of federally guaranteed loans in the United States. Although Great Lakes offers private loan processing to other lenders, it is primarily known as a federal loan service provider.
Great Lakes currently offers the Federal Family Education Loan Program also know as FFELP loans and Federal Direct Loan Program loans, including the following types of loans: 4
- Directly subsidized
- Direct without subsidy
- Direct PLUS
- Direct consolidation
What do Great Lakes Student Loans do?
Like other companies of its kind, Great Lakes manages borrower accounts, processes monthly payments, helps and communicates directly with borrowers about their loans and returns. The company helps borrowers change their repayment plans or request a stay or forbearance if they experience financial hardship. It also certifies borrowers for loan forgiveness programs like great lakes student loans forgiveness. After opening an account on the Great Lakes website, borrowers can use the online portal to check their statements, make payments, change due dates, calculate repayment times, change payment plans, print tax documents, and lots of other options.
The company offers an interest rate deduction of 0.25% to anyone who signs up for automatic payments. Great Lakes also has a mobile app both for android and apple app store that can send reminders and confirmations. Reviews have been mixed, but the company has released several updates for its app to address complaints of bugs and limited applications. The company has a very good profile overall and tremendous experience in handling student loan services.
If your student loan services provider is Great Lakes, here is what Great Lakes Student Loans can help you do.
- Sign up to access your account online. Once you have access, you can contact Great Lakes, access your monthly statements, and pay bills.
- Sign up for automatic payment. Great Lakes can automatically deduct your payments from your bank account. Signing up for automatic payment will lower your interest rate by 0.25%.
- Sign up for an income-based rebate. You can demand an income-based refund, which limits your student loan payments to a percentage of your income, by completing a paper form with Great Lakes. You can apply online at studentaid.gov, then recertify your income annually online.
- Process requests for postponement and abstention. Great Lakes can help you temporarily stop making payments or reduce your payment amount if you qualify. This helps you stay current to avoid defaults. But during any period of deferment or forbearance, interest can continue to increase.
- Process monthly payments and additional payments. Great Lakes will track and collect your payments. If you want to make additional payments, you can ask Great Lakes online, by phone, or by mail to apply additional payments to your current balance. Else, you can apply for the additional amount for the coming month’s payment.
The Process of Great Lakes Student Loans
If you have federal student loans, a loan servicer will be assigned to you automatically to manage your account, payments, repayments, forgiveness, and other options. Once the U.S Education Department (USED) has worked with your college to process your student loan application and pay the funds, your account is transferred to a loan servicer like Great Lakes Student Loans. But you cannot pick which service provider is allocated to you.
Agents should contact you once they are assigned to manage your loan, usually after your first student loan payment. This administrator will be your point of contact for all questions regarding your student loans, from the first billing to your final payment and everything in between.
Always open communication from your student loan servicer. It can contain urgent information, such as notifications of late payments or even arrears. Since you do not have to pay off your student loans while in college, you may only need to contact Great Lakes Student Loans if you have any questions or want to check your balance. Once the refund period begins, Great Lakes can provide these services:
- Help if you have difficulty paying
- Options to change your payment plan, including an income-based payment plan
- Student Loan Deferral or Forbearance Applications, two ways to temporarily stop or reduce your payments
- Tips on whether federal student loan consolidation is right for you and how to complete the process.
Now, here is another important question that is related to great lakes student loans forgiveness
Student loan forgiveness programs
The forgiveness of student loans may sound too good to be true, but there are legitimate ways to get it through free government programs. Here are some very specific eligibility requirements that you must meet to be eligible for loan forgiveness or payment assistance. Loan forgiveness means you do not have to pay off part or all of your loan.
The federal government offers four main income-based repayment plans, which allow you to limit your loan payments to a percentage of your monthly income. When you are enrolled in one of these plans, your loan balance will be eligible for forgiveness after 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan. These plans are most beneficial for those with large loan balances relative to their income.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Public Service Loan Forgiveness is available to eligible government employees and nonprofits with federal student loans. Eligible borrowers can view their loan balance tax-free after making 120 eligible loan payments.
To qualify for PSLF, you must make payments while enrolled in an income-based payment plan. Otherwise, with a standard repayment plan, the loan would be paid off before you were eligible for the referral.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Teachers employed full-time in low-income public elementary or secondary schools may be eligible for teacher loan forgiveness after having worked for five consecutive years. They can have up to $ 17,500 in canceled Federal Direct or Stafford loans. To be eligible, teachers must have borrowed after October 1st, 1998.
Student Loan Forgiveness For Nurses
Nurses in debt by students have several options for paying off student loans: public service loan forgiveness, Perkins loan cancellation, and the NURSE Corps loan repayment program, which pays up to unpaid RN college debt. Public service loan forgiveness may be the most likely option for most nurses – few borrowers have Perkins loans, and the NURSE Corps program is very competitive.
Obama Student Loans Forgiveness
There is no such thing as an “Obama student loan forgiveness.” However, some student “debt relief” companies use it as a general term for free federal programs, which charge to enroll borrowers. If you come across a company offering “Obama student loan cancellation,” consider this a red flag. Enrollment in federal programs such as Income-Based Payment and Federal Student Loan Consolidation is free through the Department of Education.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
As a full-time public employee or a full-time volunteer with AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, you may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) through Great Lakes. In addition to working for a PSLF-approved employer, you will need to have loans that qualify for public service loan forgiveness with Great Lakes and make 120 consecutive on-time payments for those eligible loans. Once you have met all the requirements, your student loans may be eligible for forgiveness. If you are approved for PSLF, all eligible loans will be transferred to FedLoan Servicing to complete the PSLF submission process.
Additional student loans forgiveness programs
State-sponsored repayment assistance programs
Teachers, nurses, doctors, and attorneys licensed in some states can benefit from debt assistance programs. E.g, the Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment Program (MTLRP) will pay up to $ 3,000 per year for up to four years in undergraduate education loans to teachers with a specific teaching license for each year of education. full-time education in a particular geographic area or subject.
Military Student Loans Forgiveness An Assistance
Military personnel in the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and Coast Guard can benefit from their loan forgiveness programs. In the National Guard, for example, eligible soldiers and officers could receive up to $ 50,000 to pay off federal student loans under the Student Loan Repayment Program.
Additional Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs
There may be other national or organizational student loan repayment assistance programs available to the public service professions. The National Institutes of Health, for example, provides up to $ 35,000 annually in debt relief to healthcare professionals who are designated by the institutes to conduct research. The American Bar Association has a list of state LRAPs for attorneys.
Differences between forgiveness and Discharge/Release
The terms forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge mean much the same thing but are used in different ways. If you no longer have to make loan payments because of your job, this is generally called suspension or cancellation. If you are no longer required to make payments on your loans due to other circumstances, such as a permanent total disability or the closure of the school where you received your loans, this is generally known as a cancellation.
How Do I Pay My Great Lakes Student Loans?
The loan service provider or simply servicers take the loan back. Agents administer student loans on behalf of the federal government and private lenders. So even if you have a federal student loan, you will work with a private company to pay the loan. Your service provider such as Great Lakes Student Loans will contact you once your first federal loan has been paid off. Set up an account on their website right away so you can see how much you have loaned and how much interest you accumulate while you are in school.
You can also use your online account to pay accrued interest before compounding or added to your total balance at the end of the grace period. Six months after finishing school, you will receive your first invoice. Sign up for automatic monthly payments to reduce the risk of late payments on your loans. But make sure you have enough money in your bank account each month to cover the costs.
your student loans will remain on the standard plan if you do not apply for a substitute plan. But if you’re having trouble with your monthly payments, you can consider upgrading to one of these other possibilities.
adjusts your monthly payment to a fixed percentage of your disposable income, in addition to extending your repayment terms to 20 or 25 years. Any balance remaining at the end of your term will be forgiven. IDR plans include income-based amortization, income-based amortization, pay as you earn, and revised pay as you earn. Click the link above for details.
Extended Payment Plan
This plan reduces your monthly payments by extending your payment term up to 25 years.
Gradual Repayment Plan:
The staged plan reduces your monthly payments but then increases them over a 10-year period, which can be a good option for borrowers who expect their income to increase in the future.
While putting your Great Lakes student loans on an extended repayment plan can provide financial aid, it will also keep you in debt for an extended period. Therefore, you will pay more interest than if you stayed on the ten years plan. Before changing your payment plan, be sure to think about all the pros and cons of that specific plan.
Great Lakes Loans Interest Rate
Student loan interest rates decide how much you will ultimately owe. So it’s important to know what your interest rate is and how it affects your loans. Depending on the type of student loan you have or are looking for, the interest rates will vary. About ninety percent of loan borrowers have federal student loans, with interest rates that range from 2.75% to 5.3%.
Average interest rates for private student loans, on the other hand, can range from 3.49% to 12.99% fixed and 1.09% to 11.98% variable. While federal student loan rates are the same for all borrowers, private student loan rates differ extensively based on the lender or loan provider, the interest rate type (fixed or variable), and the institution’s credit rating. borrower.
With private student loans, many factors take place in the variation of loan interest.
Each lender has its criteria for calculating risk and determining the amount to be charged.
Trends In Market Interest Rates
Lenders can use the London Interbank Offered Rate or Prime Rate to determine their interest rates.
Your Credit Score
Your credit score provides information about your overall credit status, but lenders will also look at your credit reports to determine how you have managed your debt in the past.
The Annual Income
Lenders need to know if you can afford your monthly payments. They will use your gross monthly income to get an idea of your ability to pay.
Your Other Debt Payments
Lenders will use your gross monthly income and your other monthly debt payments to calculate your debt-to-income ratio. The higher the ratio, the greater your chances of being overwhelmed and missing a payment.
If you’ve obtained Great Lakes student loans, don’t be shy to ask any questions or worries with Great Lakes. As a student loan manager, This is their job is to help students manage their loans in the best way possible according to the financial situation. At the same time, if your loan servicer is Great Lakes, monitor your account to make sure nothing has been missed or got away from you. By staying up to the beat, you can make the best financial decisions while paying off your student debt during the job or business you are doing.