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If you have student loans, there is a good chance that you have at least heard of Great Lakes student loans. If Great Lakes is currently your federal student loan servicer, learning more about what Great Lakes offers can save you time and money.

Highlights: Great Lakes Loans 

  • In business for over 40 years
  • Auto-debt interest rate reduction
  • Provides useful articles on managing loans and repayment options
  • Only services federal loans

Everything Great Lakes borrowers should know

Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation is one of the country’s biggest student loan servicers. They service federal loans for millions of students, working with 6,000 schools and 1,100 lenders. The non-profit company based in Madison, Wisconsin has been in business since 1967 and pride themselves on giving back to their community with a company slogan of ‘Doing what’s right’. The company claims to have provided $130 million in scholarships, grants, and college advising services to date.

Great Lakes does not offer loans but serves as a guarantor and loan servicer. They provide a point of contact to students over the life of their loans and have a user-friendly website and mobile app to help Great Lakes borrowers access their loan information and make payments.

Repayment Plans

The government determines all of the repayment plans and the benefits for federal loans, like income-based repayment and deferment options, and all servicers must offer them. If a borrower does not sign up for a specific repayment plan, Your Great Lakes student loans will automatically be put on the standard 10 year plan with fixed payments each month.

Making Payments

When it comes to making a payment, Great Lakes borrowers can  set up auto-pay and receive a .25% interest reduction on their Direct Loans. Borrowers can also pay through the website, mobile app, over the phone, or through traditional mail. The company’s website also provides useful articles on managing loans and repayment options.

Announcements

On May 14th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced it was launching a public inquiry to examine practices of loan servicers around the country. Servicers generally receive a monthly flat rate for each account they service, so it is in the servicer’s benefit if a borrower prolongs repaying his loan. The CFBP’s public inquiry is centered on this conflict of interest between the servicers and borrowers.

The president of Great Lakes, Dick George, has pointed to the default and delinquent loan rate created by college dropouts as a significant issue, noting, “When students drop out, they also tend to drop out of communication.”

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau carries out its inquiry into the student loan servicing industry, the country will hopefully learn more about loan servicers’ practices and whether they do conflict with borrowers’ interests.

Great Lakes Loans Reviews

Customers are generally satisfied with Great Lakes as their federal servicer, receiving fewer complaints than other servicers. Negative Great Lakes student loan reviews focused on misallocation of payments and the effectiveness of repayment loans. Borrowers should make sure they specify how much and which loans they would like payment to go towards.

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