Great Lakes Higher Education Corp.
ConsumerAffairs Unaccredited Brand
Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates is a non-profit corporation with more than 1,300 employees, all committed to changing lives for the better through higher education. We’re one of the country’s leading guarantors and servicers of student loans, serving millions of borrowers, the U.S. Department of Education, more than 6,000 schools, and 1,100 lenders nationwide. We provide support to make higher education accessible, the financial aid process simpler, and the possibility of paying for college real. We know student loans, inside and out.
I mailed my payment to Great Lakes over 17 days ago. They still did not received the payment? The post office gave me tracking number that my envelope was delivered 15 days ago, this means only one thing. Great Lakes keep these envelopes for 28 + days to make sure my % interest will apply for the following month. I am with debt of $9.000 but there is thousands of people like me. Let's do the math!!! This is FRAUD!!! I spoke to account manager and he said he doesn't know where the payment is. They haven't received it YET. Post office confirmation of delivery 15 days ago. HMMM??? Really Great Lakes??? I think I am hiring attorney to look into WHY this is happening at Great Lakes? No one to go get mail? No one to open received mail? Fraud.
I was duped into taking out a predatory loan back in 2007 for a school that has since been shut down for their predatory schemes. I went to ITT Tech for about a semester and a half before I realized that the school was a complete scam. Anyhow, I signed a Promissory Note in 2007 for what I thought was just one loan from Sallie Mae/Navient Solutions. I had no idea how the student loan system worked and that is an entirely different complaint. It turned out that the school took out 5 loans total for different amounts. Anyhow, I quickly defaulted on the loan because I felt like I was duped and I wasn't going to pay $7000 for a worthless education. I paid much more than $7000 but that was just the loan portion. The school made me bring my entire Montgomery G.I. bill to them and then I still owed them another $3000 on top of the loans that they already got.
Anyhow, when I defaulted, I learned very quickly just how powerful these Mafiosos are. They threatened to garnish my wages and I quickly decided to just make a deal with them and pay them. However, it seemed like no matter how much I paid them, my balance never went down. Somewhere along the way I was not able to make the payments anymore. Then next thing I knew, Great Lakes had my loans. I seen that they were reporting to my credit. I sent them a letter asking them for the proof of indebtedness. They can't provide it in its entire form. All they have is a signature page with absolutely no details on it. I told them that I did not sign that and I want to see the entire contract with my social security number, address, phone, and etc on it. They can't provide anything other than the signature page. I've been afraid to challenge this in court because it appears they are under an entirely different set of laws than normal creditors.
If this wasn't a federal loan, this would have to be deleted due to lack of evidence, since there isn't any pages with the details of the loan or personal information of the recipient of the loan. Anyhow, I am still looking into litigation but I am not certain how this will turn out. I am also fighting this from an identity theft angle since I don't believe the signature on the one page is mine.
2.5 years ago I began researching the best repayment plan for my student loan which was slightly upwards of $50,000. After much research and calling Great Lakes to speak with multiple representatives, I decided that paying the full amount of $608 a month was the best option and I set up the payment on Autopay to receive a discount of 5% over the lifetime of the loan.
It was explained to me by a Great Lakes representative that I could make an additional payment, after the initial monthly payment was satisfied, and the additional payment would go entirely towards my principal if I mailed in a check and included a note earmarking the check for PRINCIPAL ONLY. I am now in a financial position to make an additional monthly payment in December, so I called Great Lakes just to be sure that the additional payment would go entirely towards principal - to my dismay, the representative told me that the additional payment would NOT go towards my principal, it would be applied to the next billing cycle and autopay would not recognize the additional payment so essentially I would be making 2 payments for 1 month though both would go towards a percentage of interest and principal.
The representative told me that the Federal Government changed the rules and they have no control. I asked where I could view the "updated" policy and information on the Great Lakes website and she said nowhere, though if you try to make an additional monthly payment online, it will tell you that the payment is being applied to the next billing cycle. She said that if I did want to make an additional monthly payment, I would need to make it on the due date of my current payment and then it will be applied to principal only - but she cautioned me that the Federal Government could change the rules at any time (and I assume that the new policies would not be made available to view online).
I will NOT make an additional payment, as I DO NOT trust that Great Lakes will apply my additional monies as I intend. I will instead continue saving the money and as the loan get closer to being paid off and I have saved enough, I will apply the entire savings towards completely paying off the loan in a lump sum. Working with Great Lakes has felt like a dishonest experience - ugh.
I have been paying off my student loan for 6 years. My total loan was for 40,000. I have put at least $10,000 into sporadic payments over the years, and have been paying anywhere from $220-$400 every month for the past two years. My balance is still over $39,000. It never goes down. This place is terrible to work with, I am certain they are ripping us off.
My husband was injured on the job and forced to apply for disability. After five years of homelessness and agony because he was unable to work, the disability came through in Jan of 2017 (this year). The first 2 months the money deposited for his disability was the proper amount, but when the 3rd month came we were surprised to find out there was a garnishment of over $250.00. After investigation we found that Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation were the culprits behind the offset, claiming they were collecting for the Dept. of Education for a student loan. Problem is, he didnt attend ANY colleges and never applied for any loan. The DOE informed us they had no record of him owing anything, that they had no record of him at all.
Of course we called GL and they gave us four different agencies and banks they were supposedly collecting for. We called every agency and surprise they had no record of him or any loan. Again we contacted GLHE demanding they send proof, a week later there was a typed letter from them with the name of this school he supposedly attended back in 2007. We called the University and they had no record of my husband, BECAUSE HE NEVER ATTENDED COLLEGE IN 2007!! And yet, because we live in a state (Wisconsin) with laws that protect these predatory collection agencies, (thank you Scott Walker), they're allowed to garnish wages, Social Security and SSDI checks without needing to provide proof of debt or even a judgement.
Great Lakes Higher Education has stolen money every month since March of this year from a disabled citizen... And my family are not the only ones affected by these scam artists. What is most shocking is GL has a contract with the DOE and there's absolutely NO oversight, NO regulations, complete lack of due process. Those of you who were trying to better themselves by getting an education and have fallen victim to these scam artists, my heart truly goes out to you.
This company has stooped to such a level as to steal from those on Social Security and Disability, prey on low income families who cant afford legal assistance. What's worse?? They're shielded by the very legal system established to supposedly protect and uphold the constitutional rights and safety of us, the working citizens. I know it's hard, but don't allow yourself to be intimated and fooled... Record every correspondence, demand records, keep and make copies of those documents, research state and federal law regarding student loan debt collection. We have contacted those in the Senate and Congress who do not take this matter lightly and are presently investigating the matter. Contact advocates, local officials, even news outlets. Enough is enough.
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My student loans are 2% and 4% interest and created in 2014 and shortly after purchased by GL. It's 2017 and they're the SAME amount. I'm set up for the automatic payments through their site for the wimpy discount (I don't see it??) and I'm "paid ahead" until May 2018 even though I've selected the "uncommon" allocation to have all my extra payments go towards principal. Yet, I can't figure out how a $6000 student loan is still $6000 three years later with extra payments...
Remember my 2 and 4% interest rates? Well out of a scheduled $85 payment, $21 dollars goes to interest. And they fight to justify it (failingly and pathetically). And if I pay extra, even though I've allocated to have it directed at principal, it just 'pays ahead" and apparently disappears. And for some reason I can't get them to supply me with an itemized statement with Loan totals so that I can see why my end principal loan hasn't decreased. But that $60 still should have applied right? Heck if I can see it. At what appears to be a 25% Student Loan it would be cheaper for me to pay off the entire thing with a Credit Card. What sort of place has this become???
My daughter has 2 student loans in repayment. She recently lost her job and didn't pay last month's on time. Since we co-signed for her, we started to receive phone calls. Her monthly payment is $235, but when they call they tell you that you owe $470. I questioned this since the extra $235 isn't due for another 20 days. Their excuse is it is now in the next billing cycle. I don't know about anyone else, but you ca harassing us for a payment that isn't even due yet. So this weekend I went on and paid for her the $235 past due amount. I have a confirmation # and I'm still getting phone calls looking for last month's and what isn't due yet. This has to be illegal, I would love if anyone knows where I can file a formal complaint about this practice.
I graduated with my Master's in 2016. It almost marks 1 year since my original Income-Driven Repayment Plan request was submitted. Every month or every other month they contact me saying they are missing something. I have documented every phone conversation, every email, every form I've submitted. All the while, they are billing me for monthly payments upwards of $1,700/month and my credit is trashed because of this. They do nothing to correct or remedy their mistakes and I as a borrower that had no say in their acquiring my loan, am taking the hit. How do they get away with this? And how is it fair that we, those carrying student loan debt, have no recourse in these instances???
My student loan was sold from ACS to Great Lakes. Great lakes automatically and without my permission put my loans into deferment. Great lakes also could not locate my student loan payment that was made to my previous lender while in transition. The staff was unable to help in any way and while they offered an apology they did nothing to fix the situation. If your loan is sold to Great Lakes, I recommend that you refinance with a more reputable institution.
Great Lakes processed Loans that were not Student Loans in my name that I did not sign for nor did I receive any funds from them at all. Even after I made them aware of this, they Defaulted the Loans, that I did not sign for, and placed the several defaulted amounts on my credit report. They claimed that the Police told them that it was me. They never acknowledged that my signature was not anywhere to be found. Then further, tried to garnish my wages to pay for someone else's loans!!!
Great Lakes, has for the past two years failed to accept and investigate documented allegations that I fraudulently received my federal financial aid, which would be a felony. I have emailed, called, spoke with supervisors, called back and they absolutely refuse to pull the levers that would compel an investigation over these allegations. At the same time constantly billing me to pay it off. Education and federal student aid is a racket. Look at Corinthian colleges that have been shuttered for their fraud scheme. Just because Cal State San Bernardino is involved, Great Lakes, continues to refuse to do their due diligence.
Great Lakes Fails at accurate accounting... They consistently fail to apply my payments to my loans. I spend hours multiple times a year sorting this out on the phone. I stick to my guns when they say the problem is on my end. I have consistently made the same payment amount for year for each account--yet they always seem to mess up. Excruciatingly Frustrating!!! I don't have the time to deal with these folks each month and then have to follow after each conversation only to see it hasn't been correct--then they finally acknowledge the problem is on their end and will be fixed n 3 days. MUST be a broken record/refrain they teach their agents to state. It smells of fraud, diversion and scam!!! Stay away. Unfortunately, when the US Dept of Ed took all private loans to 3rd party administrators I didn't have a saying going to GL. My interests went from 3% to 8% and TERRIBLE service.
Great Lakes has not been helpful at all when it comes to my attempts to repay the massive student loan debt that my parents took out in my name. I am on IBR, and to calculate my payments GL does not consider any other factors besides income. This means, to them, that your student loan payments must apparently take priority over your rent, food, transportation, and healthcare. If, due to any of those reasons, you cannot afford the payments they've calculated based solely on your income, then there is no other option except forbearance. Once you reach the limit on your forbearance, the only other option is defaulting. We are screwed.
I have dealt with Great Lakes for a few years now. I pay my bill each month when my statement comes in the mail. At least once a year, my monthly bill won't come. The next month I will get a past due notice from them. Each time I call they have no explanation of why I did not receive a bill in the mail. The next month I get a bill again like usual. However this hurts my credit score. This also disqualifies me from any gov repayment programs! To qualify for gov repayment programs you have to make consecutive payments. Does anyone else have this problem?
Seriously, it is not hard to take money and apply it to a specific loan. However, Great Lakes has a very difficult time with it. I started paying off my loans while I was still in school, Dec 2016, through my grace period, 02 2017 to the present 04 2017, and in that time I had to call 20 times just from Dec. to Jan. and my grace period does not end until July. For some reason they cannot read emails, they have to be sent from the borrower to the finance people, to disperse the money to the desired loan. So not only have I had to call them a ridiculous amount of times but I have had to email them. A new problem is when they decided to update the system and not email the borrowers so that we don't get upset when our ENTIRE ACCOUNT INFO CHANGES!! I magically owed them more money and had more loans (the ones I already paid off) than the day before.
Seriously, I have had more problems with this company than I had with any other business. Additionally, the staff seems to be trained differently because they do not seem to agree on the information they give you. I would call and get different answers of why something happened to my account and honestly it is a true headache and very time consuming. I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent dealing with this. Most of the personnel is nice and tries to help, but it does not seem as though they are trained properly to apply money to the loans. They have no trouble taking the money but there are extreme problems on reading emails and representatives notes on how to disperse the money. Plus, there is no way for them to pay me back from their mistakes like other business. If I ever take out another student loan, I will make sure it won't be from this company.
Great Lakes irresponsibly and fraudulently allowed a loan to be placed in my name for almost 30,000. I've never heard of them or dealt with them, never signed anything never spoke to them over phone or emailed or mail no communication in any way about this loan. Some company named Forgiveness Processing illegally made a FAFSA id in my name and consolidated loans in amount of 30,000. I had one loan of 4 thousand bucks with Sallie Mae ten years ago paid in full. Last year I received an email saying a loan was in process and I called the department of education and had two fraud cases made two different case numbers. Reported the fraud, and called and emailed this Great Lakes and made them aware it's fraud, not me. I also put the whole thing on medical discharge for 90 days, medical discharge papers say loan is froze nobody can do anything for 90 days. This was an extra precaution is all.
Now a year later these bastards are sending me a loan renewal email, the whole system is a government scam. It's the crooked Rothschilds who own these banks and our country is in debt to them, college is a scam to charge us all with the country's debt. Don't go to college. It does nothing for you but make you a slave to debt. You're never going to pay it off. They find a way to charge you the rest of your life. And there's nothing you can. They're all thieves.
I have been dealing with these people for years now. They will lie and say you only owe a certain small amount in forbearance if you sign up for it and then you will have 10 times the amount of money that they said you would owe. It is ridiculous. They are a complete scam. If you try to get angry on the phone with them then they will get angry back. The customer is not always right in their eyes. I send them an income driven repayment plan in the mail 3 times and they still didn't recognize that it was there. This is so they could send you a bill that you couldn't pay each month. They won't send you an e-mail recognizing this until after it is done. The entire company is corrupt. Please do not use them for student loans. I have so much more I could write that shows how corrupt it is but I might wait till later.
Last May as I do every single year I put in the paperwork for my ex husband's student loans to be in forbearance and amazingly this year these "people" lost the paperwork. So they defaulted him and in turn stole my tax refund. He didn't work last year and they will not do a default reversal because they are greedy and they know they are wrong. I even sent in proof that we had filed because not only did I do it on paper but I also sent it in an email which I forwarded to Jared in the escalation department. Amazingly I have heard nothing back. If your loan is with them get it out NOW.
I am paying off my daughter's loans. She has been attending graduate school for TWO years part time. I received an email saying her deferments have been approved. We never applied for a deferment and never informed them that she was attending graduate school part time, or the name of the school. The reason I did not apply for a deferment was a result of previous bad experiences on my own student loan that ended up with significant interest being racked up and added to the loan. I responded stating that she never informed Great Lakes she was attending school part time, she never identified the school and certainly did not apply for a deferment. In fact she is graduating in two months.
I found the response sent back to her to be beyond belief. Great Lakes stated that they "learned" of her enrollment and it was their practice to place students on automatic deferrals. They also stated the complaint about not wanting to pay interest was met with the response that not much interest would accrue. Finally I was told that their practice is to automatically Place students on deferrals. She now has to file a request to "opt out of this service". I also now have to wait for them to return the form to do so.
The practice of receiving information from an outside source where and when she was attending school is of great concern. I find the practice of sending an email saying that "your deferment has been approved" when no application was made quite deceiving. She was in graduate school two years and this is just occurring. This makes me think that this a relatively new practice. Despite their claim that the there is not that much interest, the company's spending the money to track borrowers and make set up deferments would suggest there is significant profit made from this practice.
In my opinion, as long as servicing federal student loans is a for profit business with little oversite by the government, these types of abuses will continue. Now there is talk of getting rid of any consumer watchdogs for this business. Given the number of complaints on the internet by people who are ACTUALLY MAKING ALL PAYMENTS on these loans, I would strongly encourage borrowers to carefully monitor their loans and all website correspondence so they can "opt out" of unrequested changes in their payment status before they accrue additional interest. AS for Great Lakes, I am deeply dismayed. After surviving the Sallie Mae fiasco I considered Great Lakes one of the better service providers. All I can say at this point is BORROWER BEWARE!
I have had a college loan from Great lakes for about 4 or 5 years and when I refinanced my mortgage and paid the loan off it created a credit balance. The check for the payoff was from the mortgage company. Great Lakes refused to remit the credit balance to me and held my money for 30 days. They want their money on time or they will harass you, but they will hold your money as long as they legally can! We had the payment automatically deducted from our bank account for all those years and were never late for a payment. I paid off 11 accounts, college loans/credit cards/personal loans, all in the same manner and all the other companies sent me a refund check as soon as they received their money.
I would never again use Great Lakes as a servicing agent for college loans or any loans. When I called customer service and asked for an estimate refund date they kept saying, "It is pending call back next week." I did this for 3 weeks before I could talk to a supervisor that told me that they would hold my money for 30 days because this is the length of time a bank could wait to cancel their check. No customer service is better than the joker I spoke to. They simply do not care about their customers!!
When I was attempting to pay off a loan, their website makes it impossible to do so without calling the company. I called the company in December and was told if I paid the 'current due balance' amount on that date it would prorate it to be paid that day and accrue no additional interest. This was incorrect. I have a small balance due that I attempted to pay off today. This company makes paying back your loans near impossible. I was told I had to make 3 monthly payments ($300) to pay off a balance that was less than $100. Their system couldn't allocate it any other way. Funny how literally every other loan site is able to give you this ability online but they can't even do it over the phone. They just repeat themselves over and over and offer no help. Go to FedLoan - they are SO nice and very helpful and it's SO easy to use their site!! And their employees actually know what they're talking about - which is a lot more than I can say for this company.
As a holder of subsidized and unsubsidized loans at 2.75% and 6.25% respectively let me assure you that this company does not allocate payments the way they state on their website. They claim that after your monthly payment is met any extra payment is applied first to accrued interest then to the loan with the highest interest rate. I make extra payments and track them religiously. After making one such extra payment last November I logged into their website to track the payment dispersal. Lo and behold that extra payment was dispersed across my loans and not exclusively to my higher interest loan. After I called to correct this matter I was told “Trust us. The payment was applied correctly.” and that the HTML of their website was displaying incorrect information. “Trust us.” they say. I don't think so. I will be making one large payment to pay off my higher interest portion so all that will remain will be my subsidized loans at 2.75%.
I don't have enough info on their website and deferring a loan for a year caused 10,000 more in debt. Paying the loan down doesn't seem to lower payments. Not being able to lower interest is corrupt in my opinion.
I have been paying monthly for 13 years and my balance is almost the same as the original balance. Almost nothing has gone toward the principal. I have spoken with many people at Great Lakes, none of whom are able to explain why or offer any help. I finally said to a supervisor, 'So, you're not able to help me at all?' And he replied, 'No, I'm not'.
I received an automated call today about my forbearance paperwork being late - I NEVER got paperwork or email. I called, wasting money I don't have, to get it situated. Now that they evidently changed the time frame on the repayment. I am still on unemployment, which I'm close to losing because it's nearly run out. I have been dealing with these people for years now and I never will be able to pay it, especially when the Repugnantcans decimate Social Security.
This company is a complete and total ripoff. I am not sure how they get away with doing business the way they do but you have a better chance of paying off a $30,000.00 credit card bill at 19% interest at a lesser amount than you do a student loan at 6% with these people. We borrowed $30,000 and have paid back $23,000 so you tell me how we still can owe $22,000.00. When you call you can NEVER get a straight, UNDERSTANDABLE answer from anyone and the answers vary from person to person. Something is underhanded here. Stay away!!!
I have had issues with great lakes for years. If anyone has had experience successfully correcting issues with them or at least tried and failed I would love to hear your story. Please contact me. All the information given is misleading and it is as if the people I speak to are deliberately trying to mislead me about the reasons I have accrued capitalized interest. I believe the status changes, that I did not approve, has led to miscalculation and increase in interest (the capitalized interest). I would like them to correct the status changes that resulted in the cap. interest so it can reflect what I really owe. I have called them and tried to correct these issues for years yet they still continue to change statuses based on whatever their internal protocol is. I finally have the time to look into my payments, account status changes, etc and would like to fully commit to correcting these issues.
It is important for people to know that the paid ahead status that they offer can be taken away without notification. In my case, I paid ahead by three years (I made a single large payment) then I took another class which put me in non-payment status. After I finished my final course and went back into payment status I was no longer considered paid ahead, so that three year buffer I gave myself was just gone. Yes, the money went to the principal so the loan was reduced, but I no longer have the luxury of skipping a payment if I need to even though I should be three years ahead of schedule.
I've read the reviews on here by all of you so I am writing this as to what you should do when dealing with Great Lakes. I went to grad school 10 years after undergrad and all my undergrad loans were handled awesome. It took 8 years to pay off 90k but I always received paper statements and had great customer service experiences. When my grad loans got assigned to Great Lakes I had an oh crap moment cause I've heard they are the worst. So my advice to you all if you have internet is to be logging in and looking at your information DAILY.
I get it, they have a track record of sucking. After I graduated and my loans came out of deferment I continue to be on their website and track my daily interest and payments on an excel sheet. It's just become part of my morning routine now. Because I track daily, I know about how much my account is accruing (or should be) and if the number isn't in line I know they are screwing with something. In my last year with this company on separate occasions my account has gone to zero randomly, they have added 100k to my balance for a day, and wiped the principal paid off all of my payments. I had some freak out moments but the issues were resolved in a few days. I knock on wood I don't have any issues in the future trying to pay these off way early but as of right now I just recommend you all get used to getting nothing from them... Do the work, log in online daily because you have to police the account yourself.
Great Lakes has an entirely worthless website which will not allow users to log in. It repeatedly generates a "Problem Displaying this Page" error. This error persists across all browsers and devices, using both desktop and mobile applications. Such a blatant unresolved error is incredibly unprofessional and shows a lack of care and consideration for their clients. They obtain customers without their consent by purchasing loans and have no qualms about charging exorbitant interest rates which are well above what is reasonable considering the market, yet they fail to even provide a functioning and accessible website. I am entirely dissatisfied with the institution.
Great Lakes expert review by Barbara Friedberg
Great Lakes is a non-profit organization that helps students make college a reality. The company partners with the U.S. Department of Education and private lenders to facilitate successful student loan repayment.
Services: Great Lakes works with more than 6,000 schools and 1,000 lenders to help students and their families navigate the student aid process. The firm services federal student loans and provides educational customer service.
Student educational resources: The knowledge center helps students understand the wide variety of student loan options. Great Lakes’ robust website includes special guidance for military. Their repayment resources explain how to navigate paying back the student loans.
Payment services: As a student loan servicer, Great Lakes offers payment plans, loan consolidation services, loan forgiveness programs and more.
Best for: Undergraduate and graduate students, seeking knowledge and information about the student loan repayment process.
Personal Finance Contributing Editor
Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS is a former investment portfolio manager with decades of financial experience. Friedberg taught Finance and Investments at several universities. Her work has been featured in U.S. News & World Report, Investopedia, Yahoo!Finance and many more publications.
Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. Company Information
- Company Name:
- Great Lakes
- Company Type:
- Year Founded:
- (800) 236-4300