Americans owe nearly $1.6 trillion student loan debt in 2020! As per the latest student loan debt statistics for 2020, this debt is now the second-highest consumer debt category just behind mortgage debt. If you are a student loan borrower and don’t want to see yourself as an anxious senior citizen still paying a student loan, this article is for you. We are here to educate you about Great Lakes student loans so that you come to know how this loan servicer can help you manage your hefty amount of student loans and later you can make an informed decision.
What is Great Lakes Student Loans?
Contrary to what many people think, Great Lakes is neither a federal loan nor a private loan. Rather, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc. – better known as Great Lakes – is one of the eleven loan servicers that are at present authorized to service federal student loans. So, if you obtain a federal student loan, your lender will be the Department of Education which will assign a loan servicer like Great Lakes to handle billing and customer service issues. Along with its parent company Nelnet, Great Lakes manages about 40% of the outstanding debt held by millions of student loan borrowers nationwide.
How Great Lakes Student Loans Work
We often come across the question – is Great Lakes federal or private loan servicer. Although it’s mostly known for the federal loan servicer, it does provide private loan processing for various lenders. Once your federal student loan is approved, you are automatically assigned the loan servicer to manage your account and payments. As a borrower, you cannot choose which servicer you will be assigned to. Services of Great Lakes are available for both Federal Family Education Loan Program and Federal Direct Loan Program including the loans such as Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, Direct PLUS and Direct Consolidation.
How Great Lakes Can Assist You
Let’s talk about the services you can expect to obtain from Great Lakes. As your loan servicer, it can provide any kind of assistance on the following matters:
Student loan repayment plans: Your loan comes with a variety of repayment plans. As the federal student loan borrower, you may go with the monthly payment option. Borrowers, who don’t want to go for an alternative plan, should remain on the standard 10-year plan. Within this plan, whether they want to opt for an auto-payment plan or make an additional loan payment option, they can get assistance from Great Lakes student loans.
Choosing alternative repayment plans: A great many people can’t afford the monthly payment of their student loans once they finish their education. For such situation, Great Lakes is there right away to help them apply the most suitable alternative repayment plan. Some of the alternative repayment plans are:
• Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans
• Extended repayment plans
• Graduated repayment plans
Considering your income, family size and other scenarios, Great Lakes will suggest the most feasible repayment plan. For any assistance, you can reach out to their customer support.
Refinancing student loans: Remember that private student loans don’t come with various repayment plans such as federal loans. For such cases, Great Lakes can offer proper guidance to simplify the payment without much hassle. For any financial hardship, this loan servicer can help you choose to refinance student loan plans regardless of whether your existing loan is federal or private.
Loan deferment or forbearance: When it comes to loan repayments, chances are that you may experience a financial hardship such as a medical emergency or sudden job loss. In such cases, your loan servicer can advise you whether you would be eligible for loan deferment or forbearance. This way, your loan repayment will be temporality postponed.
Student loan consolidation plans: Borrowers with multiple federal loans often face difficulties to keep track of their loan repayments, especially when they have different monthly repayments and due dates. For them, the best way to simplify the payment is loan consolidation. As a loan servicer, Great Lake can help them with a federal direct consolidation loan plan.
Loan forgiveness: Apart from these several repayment options discussed above, there is also the potential for the loan forgiveness program, where Great Lakes can assist you. If you work for a government agency or non-profit organization full-time, you can notify the loan servicer so that it can find out whether you are eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). In such a scenario, the loan will be transferred from Great Lakes to FedLoan Servicing, the designated loan servicer for PSLF.
How to Contact Great Lakes
As a student loan borrower, you can reach out to your loan servicer Great Lakes anytime – via phone, email or mobile app. All contact details are available on the Great Lakes’ website.
NOTE: As a borrower, you shouldn’t blindly rely on your loan servicer. If you have Great Lakes student loans, it is advisable to look for various reliable resources so that you can make the right decision for your student loan debt.