Important Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Last updated August 31, 2020

Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, along with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Federal Student Aid, is monitoring the coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency.

On March 20, 2020, the Secretary of Education directed the office of Federal Student Aid to provide the following relief on ED-owned federal student loans:

  • suspend loan payments
  • stop collections on defaulted loans
  • set interest rates to 0% for a period of 60 days

On March 27, 2020, Congress passed, and the president signed into law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provides for the above relief measures through September 30, 2020.

On August 8, 2020, President Trump directed the Secretary to continue to suspend loan payments, stop collections, and waive interest on ED-held student loans until December 31, 2020.

We are working to update accounts as soon as possible, and appreciate your patience. You can log in to your myGreatLakes account at any time to see your loan status.

You can also visit Federal Student Aid's coronavirus (COVID-19) information page at StudentAid.gov/coronavirus. The page includes information about relief to federal student loan borrowers, including those who have defaulted on their federal student loans. Please visit the page regularly for updates.

Temporary Relief for Your Federally Owned Student Loans

If you have qualifying student loans, you do not need to take any action to have benefits from the CARES Act applied. These benefits were applied automatically, effective March 13, 2020.

  • No payments through the end of year. You will not have to make payments on your federally owned student loans through December 31, 2020.
  • No interest will accrue (accumulate). The interest rate on your federally owned student loans was reduced to 0%, effective March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Additional Important Information

  • IDR recertifications are now due on or after March 31, 2021. Income-driven repayment (IDR) annual recertification due dates occurring between March 13, 2020, and March 31, 2021, are all now due no sooner than March 31, 2021. We will send notification of your new recertification due date before it is time to recertify. If you are on an IDR plan and your income has changed significantly, you can apply now for a new monthly payment amount that would start after the administrative forbearance ends on December 31, 2020.
    • Example 1: If your IDR recertification was due on May 15, 2020, the new recertification date is May 15, 2021.
    • Example 2: If your next IDR recertification was originally scheduled to occur on February 15, 2021, it is now scheduled for February 15, 2022.
  • If you wish to continue making payments, to save money in the long run, you can make payments anytime during the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance. Log in to your account to make a one-time payment.
  • Payments, including those through Auto Pay, made between March 13, 2020 and December 31, 2020, can be refunded. To request a refund, please contact us.
  • If you want to opt out of the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance, please contact us. By opting out, payments will be due every month and you'll receive either online or paper billing statements, depending on your communication preference you have selected on your account. No interest will accrue through December 31, 2020. If your account becomes 30 or more days past due, Federal Student Aid requires that we reapply the administrative forbearance.
  • If you are on Auto Pay, the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance will stop your Auto Pay payments. If you want to continue Auto Pay during the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance, you can make that happen. To do so, go to Payments > Auto Pay and modify your settings by entering new amounts and selecting new payment dates. This enables you to have payments of the amount you specify withdrawn while you're still in the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance. Please note that prior to the end of this administrative forbearance, we'll reach out to tell you how much your scheduled monthly payment through Auto Pay will be after the forbearance ends on December 31, 2020. You can also continue your Auto Pay payments by contacting us to opt out of the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance.
  • Months in forbearance count toward forgiveness. The number of months your loans remain in the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance WILL count toward IDR and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) forgiveness, provided all other qualifying factors are met, even though no payments are required to be made through December 31, 2020.
  • The relief forbearance is a non-capitalizing forbearance. Exiting the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance will not cause outstanding interest to capitalize. However, if your loans were in a deferment or forbearance status before March 13, 2020 (when the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance began), your outstanding interest may capitalize after December 31, 2020. It depends on your individual situation. Please call us so we can look at your specific circumstances.

FAQs for Great Lakes Borrowers

Yes.

Yes. To opt out, you can contact us. If you opt out, payments will be due every month and you'll receive either online or paper billing statements, depending on your communication preference you have selected on your account. No interest will accrue through December 31, 2020.

If you opt out of the forbearance and then experience a change in income, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss options, such as enrolling in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan to lower your payments or opting back in to the administrative forbearance that ends December 31, 2020.

Continuing to make payments through December 31, 2020, could help you pay down your loan balance more quickly because the full amount of a payment will be applied to principal once all interest accrued prior to March 13, 2020, is paid. There is no penalty for partial (less than the normal regular monthly payment amount) payments during the forbearance. If you want to make payments during the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance, simply log in to your account and select Pay Online or use our mobile app. You can also mail payments to the U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 790321, St. Louis, MO 63719-0321. Be sure to include your Payment Reference Number on your check. Note, you will not receive a monthly billing statement during the forbearance, but you can view your account details when you log in to your account.

Auto Pay is suspended during the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance. If you want to continue Auto Pay during the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance, you can make that happen. To do so, go to Payments > Auto Pay and modify your settings by entering new amounts and selecting new payment dates. This enables you to have payments of the amount you specify withdrawn while you're still in the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance. Please note that prior to the end of this administrative forbearance, we'll reach out to tell you how much your scheduled monthly payment through Auto Pay will be after the forbearance ends on December 31, 2020.

You can also make one-time payments online by logging in to your account and selecting Pay Online or by using our mobile app. You can also mail payments to the U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 790321, St. Louis, MO 63719-0321. Be sure to include your Payment Reference Number on your check.

While you can apply for IDR or a deferment while the six-month COVID-19-related administrative forbearance is in place, your request would NOT take effect until January 1, 2021, which is the day after the administrative forbearance ends. Applying now may help you by allowing you to base your IDR on your current income and by getting your application processed before the multitudes who will wait until payments are due again.

If you would like to enroll in an IDR plan for the first time, visit StudentAid.gov/idr, choose "Apply Now," and start the application.

If you are on an IDR plan and your income has changed significantly, you can update your information and get a new payment amount based on your current income. To do so, visit StudentAid.gov/idr, choose "Apply Now," and then start the application by choosing the button next to "Recalculate my monthly payment." After the administrative forbearance ends on December 31, 2020, your monthly payments will resume at the new amount.

No. A non-capitalizing administrative forbearance was applied to your account to bring it up to date before the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance was applied effective March 13, 2020. Exiting the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance will not cause outstanding interest to capitalize. However, if your loans were in a deferment or forbearance status before March 13, 2020 (when the COVID-19-related administrative forbearance began), your outstanding interest may capitalize after December 31, 2020. If you are interested in avoiding the capitalization event you may contact your servicer in advance to remit payment(s) to satisfy the interest owed prior to March 13th. Please contact us so we can look at your specific circumstances.

Yes, your loans will be placed into administrative forbearance. Cancer treatment deferment annual recertification due dates occurring between March 13, 2020, and March 31, 2021, are all now due no sooner than March 31, 2021. We will send notification of your new recertification due date before it is time to recertify. When the administrative forbearance ends on December 31, 2020, you will be placed back into the cancer treatment deferment.

Example 1: If your cancer treatment deferment recertification was due on May 15, 2020, the new recertification date is May 15, 2021.

Example 2: If your next cancer treatment deferment recertification was originally scheduled to occur on February 15, 2021, it is now scheduled for February 15, 2022.

Yes. However, if you consolidate, after the 0% interest rate period ends on December 31, 2020, the interest rate on your loan may be higher than what you were paying before you consolidated your loans. In addition, when you consolidate, any outstanding interest will be added to your principal balance (capitalized). If you consolidate, you will also lose credit for any qualifying IDR or PSLF payments you may have previously made. You can call us at (800) 236-4300 for information about how your loan balance, interest rate, and total amount to be paid would change if you consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

You will receive administrative forbearance (and your loans will remain at the 0% interest rate mentioned in the section above this one) for any period after your loans enter repayment between March 13, 2020, and December 31, 2020. For example, if your loans entered repayment on April 15, 2020, you will receive a forbearance from April 15, 2020, through December 31, 2020, and the interest rate on your loan will be 0% during this period. This means that your first payment will not be due until after December 31, 2020. You will receive a billing statement about three weeks before your payment is due showing your due date and the payment amount. Note that entering repayment is a capitalization event, which means any interest that accrued on your loans prior to March 13 will be capitalized (added to the principal balance) at the end of your grace period. You can make payments during the forbearance and prior to entering repayment if you wish to avoid capitalization of some or all of the outstanding interest that accrued on your loans prior to March 13, 2020.

The 0% interest period and administrative forbearance are currently set to expire on December 31, 2020. We'll notify you via mail or email to remind you that you will need to start making payments again. Make sure your contact information is up to date in your online account.

Additional Coronavirus Information

The health and well-being of our associates and customers is very important to us. We've been taking proactive steps to protect our associates and communities and are prepared to serve our customers as the situation evolves with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

If You're Impacted

Our call centers are fully staffed by our associates who are working from the safety of their home. If you have questions, call us at (800) 236-4300 or TTY: 711. Our hours of operations are Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Central time.

Please know that you can also access your accounts 24/7 on our website, mobile app, or automated voice response system to:

  • Check your account balance and loan status
  • Find out when your next payment is due
  • Get confirmation of a recent payment
  • Make a payment
  • Request a deferment or forbearance
  • Request a repayment plan change, such as income-driven repayment (IDR)
  • Get your IRS Form 1098-E for the amount of student loan interest you paid last year
  • Update your contact information

Find answers to other questions you may have in our Knowledge Center.

It's our goal to provide the best service possible to you. We're in this together. We're here if you need us.