Lowering Student Loan Payments with Great Lakes

Student loans are a common way for individuals to finance their education, but sometimes the burden of repayment can become overwhelming. For borrowers with loans serviced by Great Lakes, there are several options available to help lower monthly payments and make repayment more manageable. In this article, we will explore various strategies and programs that can assist borrowers in reducing their student loan payments through Great Lakes.

Understanding Great Lakes

Great Lakes is one of the largest federal student loan servicers in the United States, working with borrowers to manage their federal student loans. As a loan servicer, Great Lakes is responsible for collecting loan payments, processing paperwork, and helping borrowers understand their repayment options. It is essential for borrowers to be familiar with Great Lakes and the services they offer to effectively navigate the process of lowering their student loan payments.

Options for Lowering Student Loan Payments

1. Income-Driven Repayment Plans

Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans are designed to make monthly loan payments more affordable by adjusting them based on the borrower's income and family size. Great Lakes offers several IDR plans, including:

- Income-Based Repayment (IBR): Payments are set at 10% to 15% of the borrower's discretionary income.
- Pay As You Earn (PAYE): Payments are capped at 10% of the borrower's discretionary income.
- Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE): Payments are generally 10% of the borrower's discretionary income.

These plans can be particularly beneficial for borrowers with high loan balances relative to their income, as they can significantly reduce monthly payments.

2. Consolidation

Consolidating multiple federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan can also help lower monthly payments. By consolidating, borrowers can extend the repayment term up to 30 years, resulting in lower monthly payments. While this can reduce the immediate financial strain, it may increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan.

3. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

For borrowers working in public service or non-profit organizations, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program can be a valuable option. By making 120 qualifying payments while working full-time for an eligible employer, borrowers can have the remaining balance of their Direct Loans forgiven. Great Lakes can help borrowers navigate the requirements of the PSLF program and ensure they are on track for loan forgiveness.

4. Temporary Forbearance or Deferment

If a borrower is experiencing temporary financial hardship, Great Lakes may offer forbearance or deferment options. These allow borrowers to temporarily pause their loan payments without accruing late fees or damaging their credit. While these options do not lower monthly payments in the long term, they can provide temporary relief during times of financial difficulty.

Steps to Lower Student Loan Payments with Great Lakes

1. Contact Great Lakes

The first step to lowering student loan payments with Great Lakes is to contact them directly. Borrowers can reach out to Great Lakes via phone or through their online portal to discuss their options. Great Lakes customer service representatives can provide guidance on the available repayment plans and help borrowers choose the best option for their financial situation.

2. Submit Required Documentation

Depending on the repayment plan chosen, borrowers may need to submit documentation such as proof of income or family size. It is essential to provide all required paperwork promptly to ensure the timely processing of the request to lower student loan payments.

3. Stay Informed

It is crucial for borrowers to stay informed about their repayment options and any changes in their financial situation. Great Lakes regularly communicates with borrowers about their loans, but it is also advisable for borrowers to proactively monitor their loan status and be aware of any updates or deadlines related to their repayment plans.

Potential Benefits and Drawbacks


- Lower Monthly Payments: By lowering student loan payments, borrowers can free up funds for other essential expenses or savings goals.
- Avoid Default: Making payments more manageable can help borrowers avoid defaulting on their loans, which can have severe consequences for their credit score and financial future.
- Loan Forgiveness: Programs like PSLF offer the opportunity for borrowers to have a portion of their loans forgiven, providing long-term financial relief.


- Extended Repayment Period: Extending the repayment term through consolidation or IDR plans may result in paying more interest over the life of the loan.
- Income Reporting Requirements: IDR plans require borrowers to recertify their income annually, which can be cumbersome and may lead to changes in monthly payments.
- Eligibility Criteria: Some programs, such as PSLF, have strict eligibility requirements that borrowers must meet to qualify for loan forgiveness.


Lowering student loan payments with Great Lakes is achievable through various options such as income-driven repayment plans, consolidation, and loan forgiveness programs. By understanding these options, submitting the necessary documentation, and staying informed about their loans, borrowers can effectively manage their student loan repayment and alleviate financial stress. It is essential for borrowers to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each option carefully and choose the strategy that best aligns with their financial goals and circumstances. With proactive communication and a clear understanding of their options, borrowers can navigate the process of lowering student loan payments with Great Lakes successfully.