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Great Lakes Higher Education Corp.
Great Lakes Higher Education Corp.
Overall Satisfaction Rating
1.27/5
  • 5 stars
    5
  • 4 stars
    4
  • 3 stars
    3
  • 2 stars
    16
  • 1 stars
    173
Based on 201 ratings
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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.

Great Lakes Higher Education Corp.
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216 Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. Consumer Reviews

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Rated with 4 stars
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 27, 2019

No company is perfect including Great Lakes, however I have found Great Lakes to be better run and set up to support students in repayment versus other companies out there. While processing my consolidation loan, I had called many times over with questions and concerns, and every time I was met with kindness and understanding. I always hung up feeling heard, receiving the information I needed.

I have also found their Facebook social relations folks to be amazingly helpful and often can get things done more quickly for you. For example, I made a six figure payment so I could bring down my loan amount to a more manageable size, and I was concerned after two days the payment hadn't cleared. I emailed the Facebook folks from Great Lakes and within ten minutes I had a response and an answer (can take an extra day to process if payments are made on weekends). Overall, I would say they are the best of the student loan repayment servicers out there, and are always ready to help when you need them. And yes, there can be a few bad apples in any business but I've only talked to one person with Great Lakes who I felt needed better customer service training.

I think realistically we as students need to be made aware of who is servicing our loans while we are still in college, making sure we set up online accounts so we can track our loan balances and interest accrued. By being aware of this and due dates before graduation we won't be blindsided later on. Personally I had all my servicers known, accounts set up, and due dates written down by the time I left college. I didn't want to wait for email reminding me to do this on the off chance there is an error and an email isn't sent. It is my loan and I should be responsible for it.

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 11, 2019

Great Lakes has been great! Consolidated all my loans into one monthly payment. Low interest rate. Great customer service. Receive a monthly email reminding me to make my payment so I have no problems staying current.

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Rated with 4 stars
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 26, 2018

It’s been 4 years of me working with them under the incomes driven repayment plan. (Part of the “Obama forgiveness program.”) I pay my bill and send my tax paperwork every year so the department of education is up to date with things. I read about 30 reviews of people saying the paperwork they ask for is crazy... it’s just a W-2 and your tax returns and the ironic thing is the Department of Education is the real one demanding it. Also for the 40 reviews complaint they don’t get paper statements or alarms the bill is due, please grow up. A one star review because you can’t maintain your bills like an adult is ridiculous. I have had smooth sailing with GL and I don’t have a complaint honestly. I have had one person in 4 years that was a mess to put it nicely and I just hung up and called again and got someone that knew what they were talking about.

12 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 31, 2019

Do not borrow from these people at all. I’ve asked for help time after time. They are lazy and make a lot of errors. They tell you right off the bat you make too much money to get a revised payment schedule. You are left scratching your head and wondering how you will put gas in your car. This is just too much to bear when life hits you with a traumatic event.

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Rated with 3 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 21, 2019

I had my loan reset for repayment based on my income. Never received any documentation in the mail. Very disappointed in their follow up. I missed my first payment & need to work with them again to fix.

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Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 19, 2019

I have a slightly abnormal situation in that I live abroad and I am married to a non US citizen. Every year it takes me MANY HOURS to renew my income based repayment plan. Many emails and phone calls with baffled representatives, repeated requests for my spouse's ss# (he doesn't have one). Every year it ends the same way - A confirmation email that they have received my documentation followed immediately by an email that says I'm getting kicked off the plan for not submitting my documentation. This is typically sorted once I share the confirmation email with another few people (more calls, more emails). The entire song and dance takes about a 4-6 weeks. They are an incompetent company, unable to efficiently perform one of their few duties. It's like this for 6 years.

3 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 14, 2019

In my case, my son calls from the Financial Aid office of his prospected college and says ... "Dad, could you JUST go on this site and JUST fill it out". (My fault for not asking more questions, I guess). So, 2+ years later I get a bill in the mail with MY name on the envelope, for my son's first payment. I then call Great Lakes to see if MY SON could make adjustments to the payment schedule, and the REP says to me, "Oh no sir, this is YOUR loan, not your son's." I've been reluctantly paying this for almost 2 years now and get frustrated every time I make a payment. PARENT ... PLUS WHAT? There is no Plus, other than my son now having a degree and a career.

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Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 30, 2019

Pay on time every month--pay early, in fact. Sent me a letter saying I lost a rebate from my school because I have not paid on time. What the hell? Applied for IBR. Chose my plan. Some girl changed my option because she thought I would like it better. She did this WITHOUT my permission. She was able to change it back, but I accrued several hundred dollars in interest. She said there was nothing that could be done about it. How the HELL can they make these changes WITHOUT my permission? I reapplied for my IBR months ago. Still not reflected on the website. Despite making payments for a year, I still somehow owe 2k more than I did last year.

5 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 30, 2019

Great Lakes is the most lazy loan service company. They don’t seek clients, the government just passes loan information to them. So their customer service skills are sub-par to say the least. Their representatives and account supervisors can’t perform basic math calculations and when you try to explain where they made a mistake they can’t comprehend what is being described to them. I’m going to seek a personal loan from a bank to pay off the Great Lakes student loans so I don’t have to deal with them anymore, and so they can’t collect more interest from me.

2 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 7, 2019

From start to finish it's all lies and total bs! I'm currently down for truck repairs. I drive for a living and contacted these clowns and told them soon as I'm back up and running I'd start paying again. They said, "Ok no problem." 2 days later I'm getting threatening calls emails and now attacking my credit score. Also you pay on 22nd they don't process payment for up to 14 days. Now they blame fed reserve. Ok now it's shutdown. How can they process payments while shutdown yet they continue to hassle and threaten you. Total scam. Needs to be shut down. Avoid at all cost.

2 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 29, 2018

My original loan was for $7747. After forbearance, deferred payments, small monthly payments etc. I finally settled into a career and began making on-time monthly payments of $118. By this time my balance was $9800. I have paid over $2000 and my balance is now $9500. At this rate, if I pay $118/mo, it will take me 32 more years and approx. $52,000 to pay off the remaining $9500. Unethical. Ludicrous. Infuriating. Money hungry. It’s mind boggling how this is even legal.

12 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 stars
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 28, 2018

I was recently reviewing my payback schedule and noticed that the end date on Great Lakes was not correct. My payments for 14mo would not cover the remaining balance. It took 3 attempts to explain the customer service representative of the situation. The fact of the matter is this, if I'm teaching the customer service representatives how to handle my loan and simple math, this terrifies me. There are a ton of student loans out there and I'm fortunate enough to understand money but knowing that there are people who don't scares me. The Student Loan crisis is one that I follow closely and I'm appalled that this situation happened to me and have empathy for all of those who have to deal with these. Please take a look at your loans and make sure to double check them whenever you can!

5 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 27, 2018

Lie, lie, lie. What they say and what they do are very inconsistent. They need to be investigated by the federal government. This company asked for paperwork regarding my income for income-driven repayment and I submitted it -only for them to tell me that by the time it was processed I had to resubmit. This happened 4 times. Then they told me that I was paid ahead by almost $3000 and that I will not have money withdrawn from my account for several months if not a year. These people lie and convince you to not pay on your loans and then charge you fees when you don’t pay your loans on time. Anyone reading this... I would not wish this company on my worst enemy.

7 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Oct. 26, 2018

They call me up constantly from (800) 236-4300 and ASK for my FULL SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. As a rule it is a REALLY BAD IDEA to ever ask for someone's full social security number. If any company is legitimate that claims to have my loan information they should ALREADY HAVE that information.

6 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Sept. 24, 2018

I began repaying $360 a month on the $31,000 Stafford Loan six months before my student graduated from college. By the time her first payment was due, I had already paid $1,810. In December, before the first "official" payment was due in January, a Great Lakes "customer service" person called to check in. He said I didn't need to make the January payment and that my new payments would start in March. So I did as he suggested. In February, I received a statement that did not indicate I had made any payments at all. Instead, it said I was BEHIND and further the balance was GREATER than my original balance with no indication that the balance had been affected by my payments.

When I questioned this, I was told that the interest had been "capitalized" and an additional $943 had been added to my balance. Even with that, the balance should have been lower by the difference between $1,810 and the $943 "capitalization" of the interest. They have a convoluted way of calculating payments and interest that always ends with me owing more than the original balance. I have continue to make payments on time -- and in more than is required. Yet, in almost three years, only $3,000 of the original (inflated) amount has been paid. I've called, written and my student has even signed notarized statements and powers of attorney to allow me to speak on her behalf. Yet the folks at Great Lakes cannot find any of those documents and I must resubmit them each time. In my nearly three years, I have paid right at $7,000, but my $31,000 original loan balance is now just over $28,000! What charlatans!

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15 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Sept. 16, 2018

Customer Service was not compliant with CA AB2251. I called Great Lakes because I checked my credit report and saw that my new loan balance was a whopping $87,000 up from $52,000 the last time I checked. At age 59 I have not found a decent job that pays to house let alone Student Loan. My principal was original $20,000 in 1989 and I have made $43,655 in payments but with the uneven economy, it doesn't look good. Per CA House Bill AB 2251 I should have been directed to the correct repayment plan that may give me a hope of relief or a reduced amount that is realistic for my poor financial situation.

Instead, I was told to simply keep reapplying for a deferral while the interest keeps accruing. At this point there is no way for me to pay off this loan and will have to fight for my Social Security as that will be garnished. I will never relieve myself of this debt before I die. I wish I would have never gone to U Of W and I wish I would have received real-world counseling from someone there before I got so leveraged. The US economy has also played a big role. Great Lakes lack of training or GL unchecked greed leaves my account untenable.

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13 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Sept. 15, 2018

This is in regards to my Federal Student Loan. Great Lakes is the Servicer. Great Lakes was the servicer twice for my account which started in 1989 and is now in the 3rd decade. I called and got zero help in determining which plan I could qualify with for forgiveness. I am and have been on Food Stamps and living occasionally out of my car and motels. I was informed that Great Lakes will take up to 1/3 of my S.S. benefits. I regret going to college and working my way through. Started with $20,000, paid $43,865 after tax, now owe $87,000 and climbing. My life has been negatively altered forever and all Great Lakes cares about is charging more fees. To date paid more in fees than my original principal. Thanks for nothing.

11 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Aug. 25, 2018

Website is frustrating, no way to receive paper statements in the mail. I don't mind making payments online, but it is totally incumbent upon me to remember each month when it is due. I pay 20-30 bills a month, it would be nice to have my statements mailed to me. I pay a lot of other bills online, including credit cards, and none of them have a problem mailing me statements. I'll be glad when I don't have to deal with this jerky company anymore.

4 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 25, 2018

When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, my (student loan) payment was delayed but I was unaware. GL emailed me and I called to see what was going on. I had never missed a payment in 7 years. They put my account in forbearance which it still is but I continue to make my payments as always. The more you communicate with them, the worse your situation becomes. They feel the need to do whatever they want, your requests are irrelevant. So I've learned the less I communicate with them the better off I am, just make the payments and see if they apply them to our account. There is no watchdog over this entity and they well know it.

13 people found this review helpful
Customer increased Rating by 2 stars!
Verified Reviewer
Resolution response: June 18, 2018

I called and Great Lakes said they will remove the forbearance. It was because I clicked into the consolidation option. I wanted to see what kind of rates a consolidation would give me but didn't confirm to finalize it. I'm not sure how this would've triggered for my loans to be in forbearance without any warning or confirmation from me. It's something that should be fixed but in the end, it's a misunderstanding. I wanted to delete my comment before publish, but now I can only resolve it. I'm relieved that the forbearance issue will be resolved soon.

Original review: June 18, 2018

I was on an income driven plan that would require me to reapply for yearly. It was only in June (mid year) that I called in to ask about how to pay off one loan at a time, focusing on the loan with the highest interest rate. Because the total payoff amount is usually different from what we see, I wanted to know what would be the total payoff amount for just one single loan (I have at least 8 to 9 loans with different interest rates). That was all the conversation was about. And yet, I received an email a couple of days later saying my application for forbearance was approved. That customer rep put my loans in forbearance WITHOUT my permission, NEITHER written nor verbal consent. How can they do this? This must be ILLEGAL!

Just because they think I may pay off my loans, they put me on forbearance for 60 days so that by the end of this time, my 10K interest will be added to my principal and any additional interest will be capitalized. I was doing perfectly fine on my income driven plan, no late fees because my minimum payment is 0! I was only thinking my family may help me pay off some of the high interest loans but it doesn't mean this will pan out. I am so ANGRY right now. I saw that email but didn't quite understand what forbearance mean until now, 2 weeks later. I am calling them to have this forbearance removed. I am praying they will remedy the situation or I will file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

I want to sue that lady rep. That was devious and horrible of her, to do something completely against my benefit and without my express permission. I want them to remove the forbearance and reinstate my old plan, but I don't know if their procedures allow them to do this. I'm so worried and anxious I cannot sleep and just waiting for 7 am to call them right away to fix this problem. If anyone knows how these things work, please advise! Is what they are doing illegal? Can a forbearance be canceled or removed without capping interest? Why the hell would I want to be in forbearance when my income driven plan monthly payment is 0? If this was done on purpose, then they are scam artists and need to be sued by the CFPB. I will update on the result.

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12 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: June 16, 2018

You cannot make an extra payment with these guys unless you do it ON your due date! You also can't pay off individual loan amounts without going through 100 extra steps to email and call and otherwise contact them for a specific pay off amount for a specific loan "token" (loan ID) that they then have to send you separately than the website. I tried to pay an extra payment two days after my due date and gave them permission to allocate 100% of it to a specific loan token only to have them allocate it as they chose to all of the loans since it was "in the new billing cycle."

I asked about moving the due date to alleviate that issue only be told that whatever the due date was would be the end of the billing cycle and that all extra payments must be made on the SAME DAY as your due date to count - and they only counted if they hit the bank on that day. I'm beyond irritated as I thought I had paid off a $200 balance about four times before figuring out what was going on. I'm waiting for a supervisor to call me back on Monday but I don't have high hopes for anything being allocated as I stated. If they don't reallocate or return my extra payment, I'll be calling my bank and reporting the misallocation of funds and asking them to retract the payment for me.

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15 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 15, 2018

I have been making on time loan payments for years. Recently I have been trying to target the smaller loans with extra payments one at a time to get them off the books. My regular monthly payment is $584. I have been able to get "paid ahead" according to them by three months. Yet confusingly in the same information box they say I am only "paid ahead" $668. Both things can't be true.

I wanted to make an extra payment today, but couldn't find the daily balance of accrued interest (yep, your interest is calculated and accrues every day. Mine is $7.21 a day). They don't make it easy to find that information. So I called them. While I had them on the phone, I asked them to explain how they distributed my excess payments. The lady was real nice, but the logic they use is convoluted, hard to follow, and seems to be designed to bamboozle the customer. After several frustrated minutes of trying to understand them, this is what I was able to figure out. I'm trying to make this as generic as possible so you can figure out your own situation.

I made a payment on the 14th of one month. This was counted as the payment for that billing cycle (due the 7th of the next month). Then I paid again on the 4th of the next month. Because that was before the 8th, that counted for a fat overpayment (after they took the daily accrued interest of course), but somehow doesn't count for the new payment that comes due the 8th, yet at the same time I am credited with being an additional month ahead (*shrug*). But when I paid again on the 2nd of the next month, that payment is credited to the previous month’s billing cycle, which somehow puts me an additional month ahead, but the extra monies I paid (about $120 per month) now only counted for $30 against my designated loan.

And if I try to make an additional payment today, to, you know, pay down a loan? It's not additional. I'm paying the payment for this cycle, due the 7th of next month, because the payment I made this month on the 2nd doesn't count for this cycle, it counted for the last cycle. This cycle I owe another $584 before anything I pay is considered an "extra" payment. So to pay $100 towards the principal on any loan, I have to pay around $700. Oh, and don't forget the proportion that is principal is reduced every day because the interest accrues every day. Got it?

Confused? Me too! After noodling it out, I finally understand their logic, but it is definitely not transparent. And I still have no idea why they claim I am paid ahead by three months, but my payments still only count for the billing cycle I'm in. When I asked, the lady said "that's in case you didn't want to make a payment for three months" which makes no sense at all as the daily accrued interest would total $650 after three months, which, incidentally now that I calculate it, is the same as the amount the claim I am paid ahead by. So, go figure. "Paid ahead" to them means how much interest you are allowed to build up before they come looking for you.

This is why people say dealing with them is like dealing with the Mafia. It is not possible to call them up and pay $100 towards a particular loan. They will not let you. Not until you have paid everything for the month. Then you can pay $100. After we take out the daily accrued interest of course. At $7.21 a day I'm no expert, but it seems to me that the rules are set up to make it as difficult as possible to pay off your student loan while maximizing profits to the loan servicers. A few months ago, I paid off a loan held by Nelnet. I found a place to lend me a small about so I could get Nelnet and their high interest rates and terrible customer service off my plate. Today I found out Nelnet bought Great Lakes. I expect the customer services to sink to a new low.

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15 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 19, 2018

Followed every instruction on the site for how to set up what happens if I pay excess... AS IN OVER AND ABOVE WHAT I OWE THAT MONTH SINCE GL DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF EXCESS! Made an excess payment...and the morons STILL applied it to all 12 loans instead of the one I’m trying to pay down with their robbery high interest! I called...girl says, "Yeah", I will need to call in on the exact date of a draft to make extra payments so they go where I want. So set an alarm! I have to be available to get on the phone the day of the autopay to do an excess even though it is 2018! Why is this difficult for these idiots! I read all the time about people sending extra & yet their balances never come down. This is the mafia! How are they allowed to do this! They are idiots!

12 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 29, 2018

These mafioso incarnates will hound and harass you, offering no real help with your loan repayment plan. You can send in supporting documents to try to get lower payments during hardships. Even when they are your only documents, given to you by your employer, and they will always say they are invalid documents. The documents they demand are not any sort of document someone would have at their disposal on a normal basis. They will wait until the last minute of your temporary forbearance to let you know YOU have failed to send in documents you have sent in several weeks prior, thinking the issue has been resolved. They will call, email, and text you threats multiple times a day. They pretend to sound empathetic all while digging your grave for you. NEVER take a loan out with these thugs, you will regret it!

12 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Feb. 16, 2018

We have recently been informed we have a college loan from 2009 that has gone unpaid. My child graduated in 2012. Never knew about the loan. Never on our credit report until just recently. But showed we were up to date on the loan? Original loan was 42000. Has now ballooned to 75000. They dropped the ball on their end. Now we are paying the price. Tried to get them to help. Basically said, "You're on your own. Good luck."

12 people found this review helpful
Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Feb. 9, 2018

My first reaction when I heard that my loans might be transferred to another loan servicer was, "Oh no!!! Nobody takes care of me like they do!" Great Lakes has serviced my loans for almost five years, and they have always been helpful and very kind through all the changes that I continually make given my line of work. The customer reps (phone) are patient and explain every step and option in detail so that I can get the best one. Really, thank you!

9 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 28, 2018

IMO this loan provider is nothing more than a scam. My student loan was in default resulting in an offset on my tax refund. I applied for a consolidation loan from these clowns. I was told that my loan would be funded on the 29th of January IF I waived my right to change the loan. This was perfect for my situation. The new loan would fund the same day as my refund. Which is Monday... Saturday I received an email saying that it would fund on the 30th. So I call the Dept of Education. They inform me that if that's the case my refund would refunded. Well it will but not to me or the Dept of Ed... But yes to guess who Great Nigerian Lakes.

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Jan. 24, 2018

For the last 3.5 three years my wages have been garnished. Each year I have called and asked for what the beginning balance was of this loan, and what is the balance of the loan at the beginning of a new year. No one can ever give me this information and the papers they send me in the mail does not explain anything. This loan service does not like to work with people, every time upon calling you get the runaround or it goes to a voicemail for you to leave a message in hopes someone calls back. For three and a half years I have tried to get my starting balance and my new balance and a statement showing how each payment is being applied to my account. I would not recommend this servers to anyone. If I hear the name Great Lakes Student Loan I would run as far away as possible. This company does not like to work with people, it is their way or no way. Run, run, run, when you hear this name as a student loan server.

12 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 23, 2018

In November 2017, I became unemployed. I contacted Great Lakes to let them know I was unemployed and unable to make my student loan payments. I had to send in my documentation proving that I was unemployed. I received an email stating my student loan payments would resume in March 2018 and my payments are more than unemployment. I called and talked to an absolutely clueless woman. She said “yeah we received your paperwork. It was rejected because it’s unclear.” She couldn’t tell me what was unclear — the documentation came from the state unemployment office. They postponed my payments for another 2 months while they further investigate. I’m unemployment. They see I’m on unemployment. I’m not bringing in the big bucks. I’m already stressed enough and now add this to the mix. This company is ridiculous.

11 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 23, 2018

Great Lakes is my federal loan servicing company. However, they are extremely mismanaged and offer very inconsistent answers. I applied for an Income Driving Repayment Plan (IDRP) and was told that my monthly payment would be estimated at $91. After filling out the necessary documents and submitting my paperwork, I received a bill for $339 instead. And so I called back and then was told that my application was never processed and that I have to start all over. Mind you, interest accrues daily so cause of their mistake, I have to pay extra interest.

When I redid the application, I was told that my monthly payment would now be $166 instead of $91. You would think with the same exact answers, I would get the same, if not similar, monthly payment. But no, my payment went up by $75. When I asked for the reason why, the representative simply stated that this was based on the information I provided. 1 + 1 equals 2 today and 1 + 1 will equal 2 tomorrow as well. Which leads to my point – if I provide the SAME EXACT ANSWERS to the questions as I did previously to the SAME EXACT QUESTIONS asked previously, why would the two results be staggeringly different? Anyway, this company has got my life strapped down for the next 24 years since my loans won't be paid off until I'm 48 years old.

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15 people found this review helpful
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Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. Company Information

Company Name:
Great Lakes
Company Type:
Private
Year Founded:
1967
Phone:
(800) 236-4300
Website:
www.mygreatlakes.org
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