|United Methodist loans can now be repaid online|
By Vicki Brown*
Sept. 12, 2007 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)
newly launched online repayment system will make repaying United
Methodist student loans easier and improve efficiency in processing
scholarships and loan applications.
"We are moving into the 21st century," said Angella Current-Felder of
the Sept. 1 online launch by the Office of Loans and Scholarships at
the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
"This is the first step in making all of our services available
online and much more convenient for those repaying loans or applying for
college aid," said Current-Felder, executive director of the Office of
Loans and Scholarships. The system was developed with SunTrust Bank.
Beginning in 2008, United Methodist students also can apply for scholarships and loans online.
In addition, students will be able to go online and track the status
of an application to see if it is complete. For instance, a scholarship
applicant can learn if a letter of reference is missing or if the
application is approved pending verification of enrollment.
"This new system … will enhance the effective and efficient processing of scholarships, loans and loan repayments."
The new system, called Colleague and developed by Datatel Inc., also
will allow frequent e-mail communication with applicants, said Allyson
Collinsworth, scholarships administrator.
"In the past, we sent a letter saying these items are missing. They
will still get snail mail, but with the new system, they will get
constant e-mail reminders about what is missing," she said.
The enhanced technology will be used to verify an applicant’s church
and annual conference and will make it easier to produce reports and
analyze data about who gets loans and scholarships. In addition, it will
enhance communications with church pastors and annual conferences about
scholarship and loan programs.
"This new system will facilitate communications with United Methodist
constituencies and provide online access to United Methodist students
attending colleges, universities and seminaries. It will enhance the
effective and efficient processing of scholarships, loans and loan
repayments," Current-Felder said.
Loans, scholarships and offerings
As of March, students have been able to borrow more money at a lower
interest rate, according to Current-Felder. The amount a student can
borrow was doubled to $5,000, and the interest rate was dropped to 5
percent. As of the end of August, more than $1.7 million of the $1.8
million allocated has been loaned to students needing financial help for
the fall semester of 2007.
Offerings from Student Day, observed the last Sunday in November,
support other United Methodist scholarship and loan programs. Last year,
the board awarded $3.5 million in scholarships to 2,800 United
Methodist students and loaned nearly $1 million to college students.
Since 2000, about $13.8 million has been loaned to 5,671 United
Methodists attending college.
To learn more about United Methodist loans and scholarships, visit www.ghbem.org.
United Methodist churches can order resources for Special Sunday
offerings by calling United Methodist Communications at (888) 346-3862
or visiting www.umcgiving.org/ss.
*Brown is an associate editor and writer in the Office of
Interpretation, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry
Online Repayment System
Office of Loans and Scholarships
United Methodist Student Day
United Methodist Higher Education Foundation