Great Lakes: A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make Extra Payments


My previous blog post on making an extra payment in FedLoan raised some questions on how to make extra payments in Great Lakes. I've enlisted the help of Kristina from @bbbrandnewww, Michelle from @frugalkittens, and Nadine from @raisingtidwells to help make this blog possible. Thanks, ladies! 

 Great Lakes' website explains their supposed process for applying extra payments. There have been mixed experiences from Great Lakes student loan holders as to whether that's the actual truth. If you're ever unsure of the process or something isn't right when you try to pay on a single loan, reach out to them asap to get the issue resolved.

Contact Great Lakes 

Whether you're following the debt snowball or debt avalanche, targeting your student loans individually is the most effective way to pay off your debt. Instead of spreading an extra payment across all loans, focus on one loan and throw every single penny at it until it's paid off. Then move onto the next one. 

 Debt snowball: paying off debt from smallest to largest balance no matter the interest rate 

 Debt avalanche: paying off debt from highest to lowest interest rate

Step 1 

Log into the Great Lakes portal. If you do not have an account, you will need to create one.Cyber Security Tip: use a strong password and change it every 90 days. While you might not care about people logging into your account to make a payment, keep in mind that your bank account information, home address, email address, and phone number are all stored in the Great Lakes portal.

Cyber Security Tip: Use a strong password and change it every 90 days. While you might not care about people logging into your account to make a payment, keep in mind that your bank account information, home address, email address, and phone number are all stored in the Great Lakes portal.

Debt Free in Sunny CA Amanda Williams


I'm Amanda. My husband and I paid off $133,763 of debt in less than four years! During our journey, I realized what my true passion was in life: helping others become debt free and reach financial independence. You can learn more about us here.

Step 2

Navigate to Manage Payments section and select make a payment

Note: Make your excess payments after your scheduled payments have been paid. Always choose Custom Allocation to target one loan instead of the standard, unless you are using the debt avalanche method. 

Step 3 

Select the account you want to pay on. Enter Other in the Payment Type section, the amount you wish to pay, and select continue. If you are paying off your account in full, select Pay Off Account

Step 4 

On the excess payment page, select Custom Allocation and enter 100% on the loan you want to pay on. Select the one time option, so only this payment is applied to the individual loan. Check the box to understand how the payment is being processed and then select continue.

If you are paying off the loan in full, you can find the payoff amount in your account details under the specific loan section.

Debt Free in Sunny CA Honeycomb Debt and Savings Tracker

Step 5 

The summary screen will display the excess payment allocation that you entered. Confirm the information and select the Submit Payment button. 

Step 6

Choose the bank account you wish to use and select pay from


A Payment Confirmation page will show up detailing your payment information. Payments are posted on the business day they are scheduled as long as they are paid before 5 P.M. Central time. Payments can take several days for the amount to reflect on your account.

Things to be aware of:

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    • You can set an automatic overpayment preference, but it is not recommended if you are actively paying off the excess amount 
    • Make your extra payments after your scheduled monthly payments 
    • The Account Details section is the only area you can obtain an individual loan's payoff amount.It is unknown if Great Lakes has a limit on the number of payments you can make each month. @bbbrandnew has made ten payments without any issues. 
    • Great Lakes has a free app for iPhone and Android. You can make payments from your phone. It doesn't show a detailed breakdown of your loans when you login, but you can see it by going through the steps of making a payment. 

    There you have it! That's how you make a payment on an individual loan with Great Lakes. I hope this blog post was informative.

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      About Amanda Williams

      Amanda Williams is owner and founder of Debt Free In Sunny CA: A company inspiring financial literacy and debt free living. Josh and Amanda paid off $133,763 of debt in 3.7 years. She has built a dedicated, engaged, and loyal audience of thousands from the ground up. The #debtfreecommunity hashtag was created under Amanda's direction and has generated an online movement, bringing thousands together on a daily basis.