If you got something in the mail from Great Lakes and you don’t recognize the name, you may be wondering if it’s legit. And that’s a reasonable thing to wonder. Chances are, if you have student loans, you get a lot of shady offers in the mail.
But don't throw out that Great Lakes envelope right away. Why? Great Lakes is, indeed, a legit company. In fact, they might even be your student loan servicer.
Great Lakes is a loan servicer and one of the largest guarantors and providers of student loans in the US, with over 10 million borrowers. They were recently acquired by NelNet.
Loan servicers act as intermediaries between borrowers and lenders; where the lender wrote the check for your loan, the servicer administers your account. Things they do include:
When your federal loan got issued, you were assigned a loan servicer to handle your loan. It’s not unusual for people not to be sure who their loan servicer is—even if they have thousands of dollars in student loans.
If you’re not sure who your loan servicer is, try the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). You can get information about all your federal loans through this site. You can also find out who your loan servicer by visiting My Federal Student Aid and logging in.
You’ll need some information to track down your loans on these sites, including identification info and your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID number.
You can get in touch with Great Lakes in a number of ways:
The company website states that the fastest way to get a response is to call them.
Now, about those other shady mailings you get on the regular.
Some companies will do anything to get your money—including offering to do things for you that you could do on your own (such as signing up for income-driven repayment) or making outlandish promises to get rid of your student loan debt if you’ll pay them a fee.
If you’re not sure whether a mailing you’ve received is a scam, here are some questions to ask.
If Great Lakes is your loan servicer, you can find out quickly by searching My Federal Student Aid or the NSLDS database, or giving them a call. Knowing your loan servicer will help you know which pieces of mail to open—and which ones to trash.
Still chipping away at that student loan? See how much you could save by refinancing.
Works with 275+ not-for-profit community lenders for higher approval chances
LendKey operates student loan programs for over 275 not-for-profit and community lenders across the country. By partnering with these lenders, LendKey is able to give consumers direct access to the best rates available from the most borrower friendly institutions. As the servicer of all loans obtained through its platform, you can rest easy knowing your personal information will be safe and that the best customer service team will be ready to answer your questions from application until your final payment.
Offers unemployment protection and career/coaching/networking
SoFi, which stands for “Social Finance,” was created by a group of Stanford business students who found themselves with a mountain of debt after graduation. They set out to change the student loan industry and help borrowers like themselves to get lower interest rates. SoFi has some of the lowest interest rates and, unlike the other lenders we reviewed, it has no maximum amount you can finance. However, Nevada residents can’t currently refinance with SoFi. Minimum loan balances are higher in Arizona, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania due to state laws. Additional state restrictions may apply.
For every loan they fund, they contribute to the education of a child in need
CommonBond was founded in 2011 by three MBA graduates from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who wanted to help their peers escape from high-interest student loan debt. Its original focus was on grad students, but it has since expanded to cover undergrads as well.
Of all the companies we reviewed, CommonBond has some of the best customer service. The company prides itself on being easy to reach by email, phone, or live chat. It offers networking events, expert panels, insider newsletters, and even has a program help borrowers who lose their jobs to find new ones. CommonBond also makes you feel good about choosing to refinance with them by donating money to an education nonprofit for each loan they write.
Get a personalized review of your refinancing options with CommonBond today.
Earnest empowers people with the financial captial they need to live better lives.
Using technology, data, and design to build affordable products, Earnest's lending products are built for a new generation seeking to reach life's milestones. The company understands every applicant's unique financial story to offer the lowest possible rates and radically flexible loan options for living life.
Click here to apply with Earnest and to see how much you can save.
Operates in all 50 states; 2nd largest student loan refinancing lender
Laurel Road is a national online lender with customers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Many of our non-bank competitors are not able to lend in all 50 states.Laurel Road has grown to be the second largest player in the student loan refinancing space in large part because of our reputation as the go-to low rate provider.
Special offers for medical resident and fellow refinance products
Splash Financial is a leader in student loan refinancing with new rates as low as 3.25% fixed APR which can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loans. No application or origination fees and no prepayment penalties. Splash Financial is in all 50 states and is intensely focused on customer service. Splash Financial is also one of the few companies that offers a great medical resident and fellow refinance product. You can check your rate with Splash in just minutes.
Click here to see more of Splash's offerings and to see how you can save money.