If you have a student loan, there’s a good chance you might not have ever heard of Ascendium. They began servicing FFELP (FFEL Program) loans from Great Lakes in 2018. Great Lakes customers with Direct Student Loans probably never even noticed all of this took place.Maybe you did notice and were curious – maybe you saw a new statement, or you pulled your StudentAid file and saw a loan servicer you didn’t recognize. In this article, we’ll explain what happened, who it affects, and how to access your student loans from the servicers and guarantors involved in the Ascendium, Great Lakes, Nelnet, split/acquisition.
Ascendium (Ascendium Education Solutions), formerly Great Lakes, is a student loan guarantor. They are also a philanthropic organization, business solutions provider, and assist with student debt help through Attigo. If you were previously with Great Lakes, you might now see information about your student loans from Ascendium instead.Ascendium is no longer in the Direct Student loan business. Their only involvement with student loans is as a guarantor for Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans. FFELP loans were discontinued in 2010. However, a large number of people still require servicing for FFELP loans.FFELP loans are made up of Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, and Federal Consolidation Loans.Accessing your FFELP student loans — if you go to ascendiumeducation.org and try to access your FFELP student loan information, you’ll probably find the website a little confusing. There isn’t a way to log into the website to view your FFELP loan. Instead, you’ll need to call Ascendium or wait for your next statements to arrive by mail. You can reach Ascendium at 800-236-2700 or [email protected] loan default help — If you click on the loan default section on Ascendium’s website, it will redirect you to https://defaultloanhelp.com/dlh/homepage.html, which is also an Ascendium branded website, specifically designed for student loan default help.If you are looking for your new student loan servicer, visit https://studentaid.gov.
You can reach Ascendium customer service through the following:Phone number: (800) 236-2700Hours of operation: 7-6 Mon-Thurs and 7-4:30 on Fri (CST)General mailing address:Ascendium Education Group2501 International LaneMadison, WI 53704Email/online contact form: [email protected]
If you have a Direct Student Loan serviced by Great Lakes, you probably haven’t noticed any change or even heard of Ascendium. In 2018, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services was acquired by Nelnet.This left a few divisions of Great Lakes behind that continued operating as a stand-alone entity. These remaining divisions were renamed to Ascendium. The move to Nelnet was seamless for Great Lakes customers. As you’ve probably guessed, Great Lakes also kept its name. Great Lakes customers still go to https://mygreatlakes.org to manage their Direct Student Loans. There’s no mention of Nelnet unless you go to the About page, where you will see “Welcome to Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc. (Great Lakes), an affiliate of Nelnet Diversified Solutions, LLC.”Unlike Ascendium, you can fully manage your Direct Student Loan by logging into the mygreatlakes.org website. Payments can be made there as well.As mentioned above, Great Lakes services Direct Student Loans. Specifically, it services Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. These used to be called Stafford Loans or Direct Stafford Loans.Make sure you read this article: Problems with Great Lakes Loan Servicing
You can reach Great Lakes customer service through the following:Phone number: (800) 236-4300Hours of operation: 7-9. Mon-Fri (CST)General mailing address:Great LakesPO Box 7860Madison, WI 53707-7860Email/online contact form: Contact form
Nelnet is the company that acquired Great Lakes Direct Student Loans business. Like Ascendium, Nelnet is a service-based company that does several different things. It is a student loan servicer and specializes in consumer finance, telecommunications, and K-12 and higher education.By logging into the Nelnet website, you can fully manage your student loan, including making payments. Make sure you also check out Nelnet Student Loan Servicing Problems.
You can reach Nelnet customer service through the following:Phone number: (888) 486-4722Hours of operation: 8-10. Mon-Fri (EST)General mailing address:NelnetP.O. Box 82561Lincoln, NE 68501-2561NelnetP.O. Box 82578Lincoln, NE 68501-2578Address for sending payments:U.S. Department of EducationP.O. Box 2837Portland, OR 97208-2837NelnetP.O. Box 2970Omaha, NE 68103-2970NelnetP.O. Box 2877Omaha, NE 68103-2877Email/online contact form: Contact form
Sadly, you aren’t allowed to choose who services your loans. But you can get a new loan (which may end up at a new loan servicing company). However, it might not be the smart thing to do. There are a lot of risks with student loan consolidation or student loan refinancing.If you have old FFEL loans and want to get a Direct loan, you can consolidate to a Direct Consolidation Loan. This will allow you to get access to programs only available to Direct Loan holders (like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or even the coronavirus student loan relief programs).
So there you have it. In a nutshell, Nelnet acquired Great Lakes’ Direct Student Loans (leaving behind its FFELP loans) which then turned into a company called Ascendium. While that sounds awfully confusing on the surface, thankfully existing Great Lakes and Nelnet customers will continue to keep their same account numbers, online portals, and payment processes.