When it comes to paying off a student loan, many graduates are surprised that they don’t contact the Department of Education directly. The federal government makes billions of student loans each year, but it does not control your repayments. Instead, they are assigned to several licensed service companies that act as intermediaries, process payments from borrowers and answer their questions.
Great Lakes Educational Loan Services is one of the largest service providers in the country, offering approximately 1 in 4 federal student loans. When Great Lakes is a student lender, knowing who they are and what resources they offer can save you time and money. What you need to know about the bridgepayday lending.
Through Great Lakes Student Loan Services
Great Lakes is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and has been in business since 1967. It does not make loans, but collects and guarantees on behalf of the lender. Unlike many of its competitors, Great Lakes is a non-profit organization that is not publicly traded. Over the past 50 years, the company has worked with more than 6,000 universities and more than 1,000 private lenders.
Great Lakes is currently the second largest provider of federal student loans after American Education Services (AES). Great Lakes processes approximately 23% of direct lending from the US Department of Education and serves approximately 8 million borrowers with debts in excess of $ 220 billion . However, volume should not be construed as a measure of popularity. Students have no control over the company where their loan is administered. Agents are hired by the government. Like all competitors, the Great Lakes have been the subject of numerous consumer complaints.
Student debt has been a hot political issue in recent years as American balances continue to rise. Successful political candidates proposed a wide range of remedial measures to counter the continued frustration of borrowers. The main change currently being considered is the provision of a single online platform for all loans from the US Department of Education Great Lakes recently formed a joint venture with Nelnet to compete for a massive deal . A combined company called GreatNet is one of three vendors considered for this position. The others are Navient and AES / FedLoan.
What are the Great Lakes doing?
Like all managers, Great Lakes manages borrowers’ accounts, processes monthly payments, and communicates directly with borrowers about their loans. The company helps borrowers change their payment plans or ask for forgiveness or forbearance in the event of financial difficulties. It also certifies to the borrowers that the loan has been granted.
After creating an account with Great Lakes, borrowers can use the web portal to view their bank statements, make payments, change payment terms, calculate payment terms, change payment schedules, print tax documents, and more. The company offers a 0.25% interest deduction for anyone who signs up for automatic payments.
Great Lakes also has a mobile app that can send reminders and confirmations. The application is available for iOS and Android. Reviews have been mixed, but the company has released several updates to resolve complaints about bugs and limited features.
Advantages of working with the Great Lakes
The Great Lakes website has a knowledge center that helps students, alumni, and parents pay off their debts. Contains an archive of articles on loans, consolidation, membership benefits, and more. The company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts also serve as a source of information and support.
Great Lakes differs from other loan service providers in that it has a philanthropic arm. The company has awarded more than $ 200 million in scholarships since 2006 to help overcome barriers to graduation. The scholarships fund research and programs designed to help low-income students, high school students of color, and students who are the first in the family to enter college.
What refund options does the Great Lakes offer?
Loan officers don’t have much latitude in designing repayment plans. For federal student loans, they can only offer payment plans established by the Department of Education. Like all competitors, the Great Lakes offer a limited number of return options:
- Standard 10-year plan with fixed payments
- 25-year extended plan with fixed payments
- Plan for 10 or 25 years with increased payments at regular intervals
- Income-based plans where payments are a fixed percentage of the borrower’s income
Great Lakes has an online payment planner that account holders can use to view the impact of various plans, including amounts paid monthly and over the life of the loan. However, it is up to borrowers to review their options and request changes. All loans start with the standard plan.
How does the Great Lakes help people who are having trouble paying their student loans?
If you have a loan (or loan) administered by Great Lakes and are having trouble making payments, please contact customer service first. All graduates are entitled to a six-month grace period immediately upon graduation. However, starting salaries can be meager and lead to unexpected financial difficulties at any time. Unemployed, unemployed or vulnerable people can benefit from abstentions or a ceasefire. You can reduce the monthly installments by extending the loan period. These are some of the corrective measures that service technicians can offer, but the options are limited.
Are there better ways to manage my student loans?
Many Great Lakes loan graduates have been able to significantly reduce their monthly payments by refinancing with a private lender at a lower interest rate. If you owe at least $ 5,000 and pay more than 4% interest, refinancing is worth considering. Lowering your interest rate by a few percentage points could have a big impact on your overall profitability. In a recent analysis, we found that people who refinanced with private lenders saved an average of $ 259 per month and $ 19,231 per month over the term of their student loans.
If you have multiple student loans, you can also combine them into a single monthly payment, which will simplify your finances and make it easier to find a way to pay off your debt. It’s easy to see if you are saving money through refinancing or consolidation. Online applications take less than 5 minutes without affecting your balance. Most modern lenders can get a personalized quote in less time than making a coffee pot.