Great Lakes Inc is an educational loan service provider. The organization is a not-for-profit, Wisconsin-based entity. They manage and service federal student loans. They operate on behalf of the department of education in the US.
If you choose Great Lakes as your student loan provider, they will collect your student loan payments. Moreover, they will help you pick the most suitable repayment plan. You will also receive assistance from them in case you have problems affording your bill.
Here are some important things you should know about the entity. This information will help you repay your student debts on time and get assistance whenever you need it.
How to Make Payments
Making payments is easy. Simply visit Great Lakes Student Loan consumer portal and create your account. You have the option of making and tracking your payments either online or via the company’s mobile app.
Although you can repay your student loans directly through the company’s website, you will be better off signing up for auto pay. This step will automatically deduct monthly minimum loan payments from your personal bank account and help you stay afloat.
Enrolling for auto pay is simple. You need to navigate to the Payments tab. Next, click on Auto pay, which is in the top drop-down menu. The benefit of opting for auto pay is you can lower the interest rate by 0.25% on each federal direct loan you owe. You also have the convenience of making payments over the phone or by mail.
How to Repay Loans Faster?
You will make considerable savings in the long run by making repayments that are higher than your scheduled minimum monthly payment. If you pay a greater amount now, you will make a bigger dent in your outstanding balance. This way, your loan will be wiped off sooner than you think.
If you are interested in getting the burden of student loans off your shoulders faster, you can:
- Use the auto pay option and set a loan repayment amount that is higher than your current payment; or
- Make an additional payment at some other point in the month, separate from your monthly bill.
If you make recurring or single monthly loan repayments that are higher than your scheduled amount, $600, for example, rather than the scheduled $400, the company will automatically apply the extra $200 to your outstanding loan principal, which has the highest rate of interest.
For instance, if you owe $5,000 at 6.8% interest per annum and $10,000 at 4.2% interest per annum, the additional $200 will apply to the outstanding balance of the first loan. This is because it has a lower interest rate. This will save you considerable money in interest cost over time.
Repaying Multiple Loans Simultaneously
Many borrowers tend to pay off smaller loans each at a time, irrespective of the interest rate. In case you want to use the extra amount for a different loan, just let the company know. Email your instructions to the company. The instructions should include the account number of your loan. You should also mention the applicable rate of interest and your account information.
Your loan account will be deemed paid ahead. This means the additional sum of money will automatically apply to your next month’s repayment on the loan. If you sign up for the auto pay option, your monthly payment deductions will continue as per schedule. Make regular payments to ensure your outstanding balance decreases faster.
If you would like to negotiate a lower rate of interest, you can opt for student loan refinancing. This option can also provide you a shorter loan term or lower monthly payments.
Getting Student Loan Help
If you ever get into a sticky situation and realize you will not be able to afford your student loan payment, immediately email or call Great Lakes. This way, you can discuss your options.
Depending on the kind of loans you owe and your specific circumstances, the company can assist you in:
- Temporarily postponing your loan payments via forbearance or deferment.
- Switching to another student loan payment plan. For example, graduated plans enable you to repay a lower amount on a temporary basis. On the contrary, income-based plans link your monthly payments to your earnings. For instance, if you enroll in this plan, you may pay nothing if your income is nil.
In addition, the company can also help you identify whether you are eligible for student loan forgiveness. This step cancels the outstanding balance of your student loans if you have been engaged in public service for a certain time period. You can use the company’s Knowledge Center to get detailed information regarding various repayment options. You ca also access resources specific to students, parents and former students.
Contacting Great Lakes Student Loan
You can call Great Lakes at 800-236-4300 during weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. central time. In case you are on hold because of a barrage of incoming calls, you can ask somebody to call back as soon as a representative is available. It is advisable to have your account information and Social Security number ready. This way, you can use them for reference when you talk with customer services.
You can also follow the company on Twitter and Facebook. You can give comments or ask questions about the company’s various pages. However, personal and specific questions with respect to your financial circumstances are better over email or phone call.
On their social media accounts, company representatives respond with routine information everyone can learn or benefit from. This has accumulated into a repository of financial tips, knowledge, peer learning, student loan best practices and resources.
Email Great Lakes Student Loan at [email protected], or fill out an online email form. In case of an urgent inquiry pertaining to your student loan repayments during business hours, it is best to call.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with Great Lakes. This is especially important if you are in financial trouble and think you will not be able to make your payments. Although it is your responsibility to pay your student loans, Great Lakes can always help.