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Great Lakes Student Loans Review 2022: Is It the Best Option?

GOBanking Rates Score

Quick take: Great Lakes is one of the best federal loan managers available. It offers a wide range of payment options and borrowers have several verticals to communicate with the support team.

  • Loans
  • Payment
  • Features
  • Customer service

How did we calculate this?


  • Flexible payment options
  • Good customer support
  • Educational resources

The inconvenients

  • Complaints about app functionality
  • Ongoing trial

Great Lakes Student Loan Overview

Great Lakes provides student loan services to millions of students. A loan officer does not own the loan or set the rates. This is an institution chosen to handle customer payments and queries on behalf of the US Department of Education.

Great Lakes has partnered with over 6,000 schools and 1,000 lenders to provide assistance to all of its members. It also has professional financial aid representatives to help students plan loan repayments from start to finish.

Main characteristics

The Great Lakes have several notable characteristics. Here is an overview of each of them.


For the most part, Great Lakes services federal loans, but offers private loan processing solutions with two partner brands: FastChoice and ScholarNet.

As a federal lending agent, Great Lakes does not set interest rates. The current fixed rate for federal undergraduate Stafford loans is 3.73%, but is expected to increase to 4.99% for loans disbursed July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.


Payments by student borrowers can be made in several ways, including:

  • Mail
  • Check
  • Call
  • Website
  • Application

Great Lakes allows borrowers to set up flexible payment options such as autopay and income-based payment plans. It will also provide guidance on deferring payments and changing due dates.

Additional Features

Great Lakes provides borrowers with alternative recourse when it comes to deferring, deferring, or instituting new repayment plans. These options are available when unemployed or when a borrower serves in the military.

Teachers in low-income communities, full-time government workers, and people with disabilities may also qualify for Great Lakes Student Loan Forgiveness under certain circumstances.

Customer service

Great Lakes has a team of financial aid professionals ready to help borrowers with anything they need. The primary contact number for Great Lakes is (800) 236-4300, although it offers a number of other contact methods for customer inquiries. Borrowers can also get in touch by:

  • Mail
  • E-mail
  • Fax
  • Live chat support through its web platform
  • Social networks: Facebook and Twitter

Great Lakes has 3.8 stars on the Google Play Store, but there have been complaints about basic functionality and errors when connecting.

How Great Lakes Student Loans Stand Out

Great Lakes stands out for its educational materials and customer support resources. The platform is relatively easy to navigate and offers customers freedom of choice when it comes to managing student loans.

Comparable Great Lakes Options

Here’s a closer look at how Great Lakes Student Loans compare to other Designated Servicers.

Great Lakes versus Mohela

Great Lakes has more comprehensive customer service than Mohela. Great Lakes has live online chat support, while Mohela does not. Great Lakes keeps its phone lines open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and Mohela only operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the same days.

Great Lakes vs. HESC

Great Lakes and Higher Education Servicing Corporation (HESC) both offer private and federal student loans. However, HESC only works with a handful of providers, while Great Lakes partners with ScholarNet and FastChoice, which offer a range of solutions.

ScholarNet connects borrowers with all major private student loan providers. FastChoice compares all choices, giving borrowers more customization and flexibility.

How to register

To apply for a federal student loan, the borrower must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as a FAFSA.

Borrowers do not have the option to choose or change their Federal Student Loan Manager, but if they choose to consolidate their loans, they can indicate a manager preference in the application.

If a borrower is assigned Great Lakes as a student loan servicer, they can create their account online. They will need to fill in basic information such as their social security number and date of birth to acquire an ID.

Who are Great Lakes student loans for?

Great Lakes is ideal for those who need convenient customer support as it allows them to manage all student loans in one place. Borrowers benefit from flexible payment options, professional support, and access to the Great Lakes Knowledge Center, which provides relevant and ongoing student loan information.

Final grip

Overall, Great Lakes is one of the top performing countries when it comes to servicing federal student loans. For private student loans, borrowers may want to explore other options. But generally, it works well for those who want to manage their loans in one place.


Here are some questions people ask about Great Lakes and its student loan services.
  • What Happened to Great Lakes Student Loans?
    • Currently, Great Lakes is still under contract as a student loan servicer with the US Department of Education. However, as of March 2022, Great Lakes Student Loans began to transfer to its parent company, Nelnet.
  • Is there a Great Lakes student loan lawsuit?
    • Yes. The verdict has not yet been pronounced. A borrower sued Great Lakes for increasing principal and interest balances during the government’s pause in student loan repayments.
  • Are Great Lakes Federal or Private Student Loans?
    • Great Lakes primarily handles federal student loans, but also handles private student loan processing.
  • Is Great Lakes a government student loan?
    • Great Lakes does not own the loan, but does service federal loans, which are government funded.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Great Lakes. Any opinions, analyses, criticisms, evaluations or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by Great Lakes.

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About the Author

David is a qualified financial adviser in the Republic of Ireland. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business and entrepreneurship, as well as more than five years of investment experience.