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Navigating Student Loan Servicing Changes: Great Lakes to Nelnet

If you’re a borrower with federal student loans serviced by Great Lakes Higher Education Corp., you may have encountered changes in recent times. Great Lakes is in the process of transferring its loan portfolio to Nelnet, another federal student loan servicer. Here’s what you need to know about this transition and how it may impact you.

Transition Timeline: March 2022 to June 2023

Great Lakes initiated the transfer of its loan portfolio to Nelnet in March 2022, and this process is expected to conclude by the end of June 2023. If Great Lakes is your loan servicer, you should receive notifications about the impending transfer two weeks before the actual transfer date. Subsequently, Nelnet will notify you once the transfer is complete, providing you with a new federal student loan account number.

During the initial 120 days after your transfer date, Great Lakes will continue forwarding payments to Nelnet. However, it’s crucial to set up a new online account with Nelnet once the transfer is finalized, requiring you to establish new payment preferences.

Preparing for the Transfer

If your loans are currently serviced by Great Lakes, consider taking the following steps to prepare for the transition:

  1. Download Payment History:
  • Save your history from your online account or request a copy from Great Lakes.
  1. Update Contact Information:
  • Ensure your contact information, including your address, phone number, and email address, is up-to-date.

Post-Transfer Actions with Nelnet

Once your loans are successfully transferred to Nelnet, you can benefit from various services provided by Nelnet. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Register for Online Access:
  • Register for online access to your new Nelnet account, allowing you to manage your account, access monthly billing statements, and make payments.
  1. Enroll in Autopay:
  • Take advantage of Nelnet’s autopay feature, which automatically deducts payments from your bank account. This may also qualify you for a 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  1. Income-Driven Repayment:
  • Explore income-driven repayment options by completing the necessary forms with Nelnet. This allows you to align your student loan payments with your income.
  1. Deferment and Forbearance:
  • If needed, request deferment or forbearance through Nelnet, allowing temporary suspension or reduction of payments while maintaining good standing.
  1. Payment Processing:
  • Nelnet will handle the processing of your monthly payments and any additional payments you choose to make.

Credit Reporting Considerations

If you’re one of the borrowers whose federal student loans, managed by Great Lakes, encountered credit score fluctuations amid the automatic forbearance period that began in March 2020, there might have been inaccuracies in the reporting. Great Lakes is actively addressing these issues, and it is advisable for borrowers to review their credit reports to ensure the accuracy of information, crucial for managing money and savings effectively.

Contact Information for Assistance

If you have questions or need assistance, the following contact information may be useful:

  • Nelnet Customer Service:
    • Phone: 888-486-4722
    • Hours: Weekdays (8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET)
    • Website: nelnet.com/welcome
    • Email: Complete the online form
  • How to Complain about Great Lakes:
    • Contact Great Lakes directly at 800-236-4300.
    • File complaints with Federal Student Aid Feedback System, state attorney general’s office, state consumer protection office, and congressional representative.
  • Settling Disputes:
    • If complaints don’t resolve the issue, contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group.
    • Phone: 877-557-2575

Navigating these changes may involve some proactive steps on your part, so staying informed and taking necessary actions will ensure a smoother transition.

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