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Monthly Archives: December 2013


Understanding Default

NEVER ignore delinquency or default notices from your loan servicer.  If you don’t make your monthly loan payments, you will become delinquent on your student loan and risk going into default. Contact your servicer immediately if you are having trouble making payments or won’t be able to pay on time. Learn about federal student loan default: Find out what may happen if you default, what steps you can take to keep your loan from going into default, and what your options are for getting out of default.


Identity Theft

Protecting Your Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Your personally identifiable information, or PII, is any information that can be used to uniquely point to who you are. Some examples of PII are your Social Security Number, driver’s license number, and credit card number. Keeping your PII safe is important for many reasons, one of which is keeping your identity secure. If your PII is compromised, scammers can use it to gain even more PII. If that happens, they can assume your identity to make purchases or exploit your bank account.

The first step in keeping your PII secure is to verify that people are who they say they are. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank, for example, don’t hand over your PII without asking any questions. Instead, ask the caller to verify your other information, and have them give you a phone number where they can be reached. If they are hesitant to do either of those things, there’s a good chance you are dealing with a scammer.

Unfortunately, you can’t always trust your caller ID, either: Scammers can “spoof” a company’s phone number, meaning that when a scammer calls, the actual company name will show up. So, be sure to ask them verifying questions!

You can take additional measures to secure your PII, such as shredding documents with sensitive information, mailing important documents from the post office instead of putting them in the mailbox, doing your online banking from a privately used computer, and leaving your Social Security card in a secure spot in your home.





Use our calculators to plan your household budget, determine your monthly payment amount, and explore deferment and forbearance options to postpone your payments.

Planning and Budgeting

How much money will you spend on books? What about food, rent, and utilities during college? Use the Planning and Budgeting Calculator to see how your expenses add up so you can best estimate how much you may need in additional income or student loans to cover your costs. Remember, only take out the amount in loans that you need—your financial future will thank you. Calculate your college expenses.

Income-Based Repayment

Want a lower payment now and a larger payment when you’re making more money? This plan could be right for you. Learn more about this plan. Calculate your payments on this plan.

Income-Contingent Repayment (for FDLP loans only)

Want a payment based on your income, family size, and interest rate? This plan takes these factors into consideration, potentially allowing you more flexibility in your monthly budget. Learn more about this plan. Calculate your payments on this plan.

Deferment & Forbearance

You may not be able to make monthly payments right now—and that’s okay. The federal government allows for many different deferments and forbearances that could postpone your payment, and one may be perfect for your unique situation. Learn more about deferment and forbearance options. Calculate interest that will accrue during a deferment or forbearance.




The Different Types of Student Loans

To find out about federal student loans, visit Federal Student Loans 101. This page gives an overview of topics like who can get federal student loans, the different types of student loans, loan interest rates, how to apply, and information about various loan servicers (including Nelnet).

To view an in-depth comparison chart of different federal student loans including information about loan amount limits, which loans are subsidized (meaning that the government pays the interest while the student is in school or deferment), and whether the loan requires a credit check, take a look at the Types of Federal Loans.

Your child will not need to pay back their loans while in school. However, during that time, they have the option of paying on their loan interest. This is beneficial in that it reduces the amount of interest that is added to the principal balance of unsubsidized student loans (this process is called capitalization).

Please Note: If your child borrows Federal Stafford Loans, they’ll have a six-month grace period after they graduate or drop below half-time status before they must begin paying their loans back. During this grace period, they should find out who their loan servicers are, choose a repayment plan that works for them, and possibly explore loan consolidation, which can give them one easy-to-remember payment per month.



The Path to Repayment

As you leave school, understanding how your student loans will impact your finances can help you successfully manage your loans.

This timeline teaches you about what happens during your grace period and the steps to take along the path to repayment.

Start the repayment path

7 Months

Great Lakes is your federal student loan servicer. That means we’ll be your advisor as you repay your loans. The idea of making loan payments might be a little overwhelming, but you have time to get ready. Federal student loans come with a six month grace period. It’s a window of time after you leave school when you aren’t yet required to make payments. Now is a good time to start thinking ahead a few months to prepare for that first payment.

  1. Still in school or returning soon? If so, please update your enrollment status to let us know.
  2. Make sure we have your active email address. As you move on, you may be done using your school email address. Sign up for account access and update your contact information.
  3. Save money by paying interest.
Estimate your payment
4 Months

Your grace period is about half over. It’s a good time to estimate your monthly payment amount and review all of your repayment options.

  1. Making on-time payments builds good credit, which can be a factor when applying for a job, securing housing, or buying a car.
  2. Log in and select Repayment Plans from the Quick Links for level and graduated plan estimates. Other repayment plans are also available—some based on how much you’re able to pay.
  3. Plan ahead for trouble. Special repayment options may let you postpone payments.
Select a repayment option
2 Months

It’s time to decide how you want to pay back your student loans. You determine whether you begin making full payments or pursue an income-based plan that could possibly lower your payments to $0.

  1. Log in and select Repayment Plans from the Quick Links for level and graduated plan estimates. Or view income-based options.
  2. Unless you select an option, we’ll set you up with the level repayment plan. It consists of monthly payments that stay the same over a maximum of 10 years.
  3. If you’re unable to start repaying your loan, take action now! Don’t wait. Select Postpone or Lower Payments to explore postponing your payments with deferment or forbearance.
Review your payment schedule
30 Days

Your six month grace period has ended and you’re about a month away from your first payment due date. You’ll soon get a payment schedule from us that details your repayment terms. If your grace period flew by and you didn’t select a different repayment option, we set you up with the level repayment plan. It consists of monthly payments that stay the same over a maximum of 10 years.

This is a good time to make sure we have your current contact information and to sign up for automatic monthly payments.

  1. Make sure we have your active email address. As you move on, you may be done using your school email address. Log in and select Edit Your Profile to update your contact information.
  2. Ensure your payments are always on time by enrolling in Auto Pay to have your monthly payments automatically withdrawn from your checking or savings account. Your lender might also offer an incentive for making automatic payments. Select Auto Pay from the Payments menu.
Payment reminder
14 Days

You’ll be making your first scheduled payment in a couple weeks. If we have your current email address, we’ll send you monthly payment reminders, including the payment amount and due date. Otherwise, we’ll mail you a payment reminder letter each month.

  1. Make sure we have your active email address. Log in and select Edit Your Profile to update your contact information.
  2. Visit the Knowledge Center to explore additional helpful materials.
First Payment Due
0 Days

Your first scheduled student loan payment is due, but the path doesn’t end here. Successfully repaying your student loans helps you build a solid financial future and Great Lakes will be here to help you every step of the way.

  1. Log in and select Payments to review your payment options.
  2. Learn solid money management skills with Financial IQ®.
  3. We realize things in life can change. If they do, you can also change your repayment option. Log in and select Repayment Plans from the Quick Links.
  4. Contact Us with questions or concerns, any time.
Grace Period Begins

No Longer in School
Grace Period Ends
6 Month Grace Period

Accruing Interest

Depending on the type of loan you have, interest can build up (accrue) while you prepare for repayment. If you’re wondering how this will affect your loan



Save Time, Gain Convenience

We designed the Great Lakes Mobile app to give you another way to manage your student loans.

Make Payments and More

  • Make or schedule student loan payments of any amount you choose
  • Use an existing payment account or create and store a new one
  • Sign up for account access—no need to visit our website to get started
  • Take advantage of the app’s clean and intuitive design

Stay Informed

  • Receive payment reminders and confirmations
  • View account details like your balance, interest, lender, and status
  • Easily track payment history

Remain Secure

  • Secure identity confirmation
  • Robust encryption technology


Default Prevention

The Missouri Department of  Higher Education promotes default prevention and debt management initiatives related to student loan borrowing and repayment. Objectives       include increasing the awareness of financing options for postsecondary education, reducing debt among postsecondary students and parents, increasing enrollment retention, reducing loan defaults, and generally increasing students’ knowledge about     their personal finances.

Implementing default prevention and student success programs on campus are:

  • Smart for schools! Successfully educating student loan   borrowers can help reduce your institution’s default rate and prevent potential   sanctions against your institution, such as losing federal program eligibility   for student loans,  Pell Grants, and other Title IV aid programs.
  • Smart for borrowers! Default prevention activities also   improve the student loan borrowers’ knowledge of their rights and responsibilities. Extending   default prevention to implementing financial   literacy and debt management programs on   your campus also contributes to the overall financial health of Missouri’s   students, parents, borrowers, and citizens.

Top Ten Best Practices in Default Prevention

Brought to you by the MDHE’s Default Prevention Grant program team.

    1. Organize a Default Prevention and/or Student Success Team. Help the team   start strong by requesting default prevention training from the MDHE and reviewing a new printed publication, The Smart Approach to Campuswide   Retention and Default Prevention Efforts. This pamphlet was created   for Missouri’s postsecondary staff and administrators to assist with developing and promoting more cohesive retention, student success and default prevention plans. Additionally, Missouri institutions may  attend the MDHE’s free Default Prevention Day offered in May.
    2. Profile your institution’s defaulted borrowers, and put programs in place to   specifically address at-risk populations at your school.
    3. Make retention part of default prevention efforts. Focus on academics as well   as providing personal or financial counseling for at-risk students.
    4. Emphasize the benefits of paying interest on   loans while still in school. Use the MDHE’s free publication Planning for Financial Success to get freshmen   borrowers off to a good financial start. To order MDHE publications, visit our online   order form.
    5. Develop a “loan reminder” presentation/counseling session for returning loan   borrowers each year. Results of a 2009 MDHE survey of delinquent and defaulted   borrowers indicated that more than 50% of borrowers borrowed more than they   expected. Help future borrowers avoid this mistake!
    6. Conduct budget and financial management workshops in classes or include it in the new student orientation process.   Seek and use outside resources, such as the MDHE, to help make these workshops   as interactive and memorable as possible. Complete our new online   speaking and event request form to arrange for a financial literacy workshop   for your students.
    7. Provide a personalized calendar during exit   counseling (mark dates such as the half-way point of the 6-month grace   period, end of grace period, and first repayment due date). Include   comprehensive student loan debt information (total amount owed, estimated   monthly payment amounts, etc.) as well as loan holder contact   information.
    8. Provide lifetime job placement assistance.
    9. Include financial aid and retention staff in student withdrawal process.
    10.   Use creative techniques to contact students and borrowers.