Person writing at a communal desk

Great Lakes' Free Tool Adds Early Engagement Outreach Campaigns for Schools

Portfolio Navigator Helps Schools Connect Current Students with Servicers for Repayment Planning Help

—Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc., a nationwide servicer of federal loans, recently added early engagement campaigns to their free portfolio management tool, Portfolio Navigator, to address the need for students to gain understanding of their student loans while still in school.

While recently released official cohort default rates indicate a downward trend in the number of students who defaulted on their federal loans, studies show that there's room for improvement when it comes to increasing current students' awareness of their debt load. Without understanding their loans, students may borrow more than they'll be able to repay—and many fail to complete their programs because they're unaware of repayment options that will be available to them.

13% of students don't know they have a loan. 37% of students underestimate their loan debt. 10% of students underestimate their loan debt by $10,000+. Source: Do you know what you owe? Students' Understanding of Their Student Loans (Journal of Financial Aid)

An early connection with their servicer helps students make informed academic and borrowing decisions that can help set them up for both academic and repayment success. As Great Lakes' Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Brett Lindquist points out, "It's not enough to help students avoid default. We want them to make wise decisions while they're in school to help them complete their programs and lead to later financial stability."

Great Lakes recognizes that many financial aid offices face a lack of resources to educate students about their loans, or to connect them with their servicers for such assistance. To address this need, Great Lakes recently unveiled two campaigns in Portfolio Navigator's outreach component, Action Center. One campaign helps schools encourage all of their current students to understand who their servicer is and why they should connect with them while they're in school. The other campaign encourages current students who have loans serviced by Great Lakes to create a Great Lakes website account for access to important loan and repayment information.

With the addition of early engagement campaigns to this free tool, Great Lakes—committed to helping students to access, complete, and repay their education since 1967—believes busy financial aid offices can help students succeed in completing their education and setting a path for financial stability, with minimal time, and no investment.

In February 2015, Great Lakes added to Portfolio Navigator the capability for schools to upload, view, and filter National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) data to use with Action Center. Feedback from financial aid professionals shaped development of the tool, and response has been positive by schools that previously lacked time and resources to do default prevention outreach. "In addition to allowing us to process communications for all servicers in one step, [Action Center] offers a variety of options to help meet the needs of individual schools," says Terry M. Micks, Loan Programs Coordinator at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

Financial aid professionals are invited to register for a free SmartSessions webinar, Portfolio Navigator: Your New Default Management Tool, to learn more and get started—or contact their Great Lakes representative. For more information about Portfolio Navigator and Action Center, as well as other default management, loan servicing, and private loan processing resources Great Lakes offers, visit schools.mygreatlakes.org.


News Releases

Great Lakes Donates $115,000 to 10 Adopted Schools in Local Communities
12/22/2017


Great Lakes' ScholarNet for Private Loans More Widely Used Than Ever Before
11/13/2017


Great Lakes Funding Development of Online Support Community for College Freshman Women
10/30/2017


Great Lakes Shares Lessons Learned from Summer Melt Texting Initiative
10/25/2017


Great Lakes Awards $525,000 in Anniversary Grants in Nine Communities Where Employees Live and Work
09/01/2017


Completion Grants Remove an Obstacle for At-Risk Students Nearing Graduation
08/16/2017


New Initiative Connects Remediation Reforms and Guided Pathways to Boost Student Success
08/15/2017


Great Lakes Awards $1,000 Scholarships to 200 Ohio Apprentices with Financial Need
06/29/2017


Great Lakes Awards $7.2 Million to Launch Emergency Grant Programs at Four-Year Colleges
06/15/2017


Great Lakes Sparking Change in Scholarship Delivery
06/12/2017


Montana Guaranteed Student Loan Program to Transfer Portfolio to Great Lakes
06/05/2017


Statement from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates Regarding Student Loan Collection Fee Policies
03/21/2017


200 Wisconsin Apprentices with Financial Need Awarded $1,000 Scholarships from Great Lakes
03/16/2017


Great Lakes Releases 2016 Philanthropy Report Highlighting $21.9 Million in Grants Awarded
03/09/2017


Great Lakes Invites Four-Year Colleges to Apply for Successful Emergency Grant Program
01/26/2017


USA Funds Transfers Ownership of Nation's Largest Guarantor to Great Lakes
12/07/2016


Great Lakes Commits $2.1 Million to Help 16 Community Colleges Create Internship Programs for Low-Income Students
12/01/2016


Great Lakes Commits $2.6 Million to Keep At-Risk Near-Completers on Track to Graduation
11/15/2016


Blackhawk Technical College Students Borrow $700,000 Less, Regain Financial Aid Eligibility
10/21/2016


Achieving the Dream to Enhance Coaching Services with $1 Million Great Lakes Grant
09/15/2016


Great Lakes National Scholarship Awards Over $2 Million to Support College Access
08/24/2016


Great Lakes Awards $1.5 Million to CCRC to Support Guided Pathways Reform in Ohio
08/18/2016


Successful 'New Mathways Project' Expands into Arkansas to Increase Math Achievement
07/14/2016


Great Lakes Career Ready Internship Grant Opportunity Now Open to
Two-Year Colleges

05/19/2016


Study on Student-Faculty Interactions Finds Multi-Channel Communication is Key
05/11/2016


Great Lakes Shares Lessons Learned from 2014-2015 Career Ready Internship Grant Partners
04/21/2016


New Great Lakes Grant Opportunity Invites Applicants to Address Barriers Preventing Near-Completers from Earning Degrees
04/05/2016


Student Loans of North Dakota to Transfer Portfolio to Great Lakes
04/01/2016


Great Lakes Releases 2015 Philanthropy Report Detailing $28.5 Million in Commitments
03/31/2016


200 Wisconsin Construction and Industrial Trade Apprentices Receive $1,000 Scholarships
03/09/2016


Great Lakes Shares Best Practices from Three-Year Emergency Grant Program
02/25/2016


Application Period for Great Lakes National Scholarship Begins February 15
02/15/2016


Great Lakes Funds New Emergency Grants Shown to Boost Community and Technical College Completion
12/10/2015


University of Pittsburgh Streamlines Private Student Loan Processing, Improves Student Service
11/19/2015


Great Lakes' Free Tool Adds Early Engagement Outreach Campaigns for Schools
10/27/2015


Great Lakes' Commitment to Producing More Undergraduate STEM Degrees Now Reaches $10.7 Million
10/22/2015


Great Lakes Launches Updated Education Philanthropy Website
10/15/2015


Great Lakes Commits Record $12 Million to Fund 7,000 New Paid Internships for College Students with Financial Need
10/08/2015


Great Lakes CEO Accepts White House Invitation to Join the College Promise Campaign Advisory Board
10/01/2015


200 Wisconsin Apprentices Will Earn $1,000 Scholarships to Purchase Tools for Their Trades
09/17/2015


400 MPS Grads Eligible for $5 Million in College Scholarships from The Degree Project®
08/13/2015


Great Lakes Introduces Newly Expanded Program to Increase Community College Graduation
07/09/2015


Great Lakes Shares Results of Applicant and Grantee Perception Survey
05/19/2015


100 Schools Using Great Lakes' Free Outreach Tool to Help Students by Connecting Them with Their Servicer
05/18/2015


Great Lakes Commits $28.6 Million During 2014 to Promote College Access and Completion
05/14/2015


Great Lakes Expands Grants for Colleges Committed to Making Internships More Equitable
04/30/2015


Great Lakes Commits $4.2 Million to Prepare More Students for College Math & English
04/23/2015


Great Lakes' Free Tool Helps Schools Improve Repayment Success for All Their Student Loan Borrowers
02/20/2015