Communicating with student loan borrowers helps support the successful repayment of loans and can improve an institution’s cohort default rate. If staffing limitations prevent your institution from connecting with your borrowers, partnering with external vendors may be the solution. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on July 30, 2013, leaders from two institutions discussed how they are using outsourced staffing solutions and software to perform early outreach, regular communication, personal counseling, and follow-up to ensure borrowers are successfully repaying their education loans.
Corporate Manager; Credit, Collections and Default Prevention
Centura College (Va.)
We use USA Funds Borrower Connect to send out our letters, emails, and calling campaigns. Also, we can keep notes in the system, which is very beneficial when talking to students, especially when they change from going from forbearance into repayment or deferment into repayment. This has been very effective for us. Developing a relationship with the student is key when promoting default prevention. The software has helped us monitor the student when they’re in delinquency and to identify these high-risk students early on. USA Funds Borrower Connect has given us and helped us utilize great skip tracing tools. We use this when we’re looking for students’ contact information. We now feel that we can help every student.
We’ve been using USA Funds Borrower Connect for two years now. We started at our corporate level and we’ve moved it to all of our campuses. We find that a lot of students will come back to their schools for placement or transcripts. We’ve gotten our schools to log into USA Funds Borrower Connect to see if a student maybe has some wrong contact information, is possibly delinquent, or to try to help them connect to their servicer. It’s been a big help and a time saver for us. There are so many servicers and some students have multiple servicers. We do utilize the monthly letter with USA Funds Borrower Connect and the email campaigns. Formatting and sending the letters used to take us all month to do to and now it takes us less than two days, certainly cutting back on time. We’ve also been using the USA Funds Borrower Connect InTouch for about four months and we found it to be very successful, especially with late stage delinquencies.
One of the things we’re working on with USA Funds is to come up with measurable success at the campus level. The way we are doing this is determining the number of students who have missed that first payment, students who are delinquent, how delinquent are they, and those who go into forbearance or deferment. One of the key things we found when dealing with challenges is to make sure all the information is reported correctly, by checking with the students who are starting their repayment and making sure they’re startinging repayment when they should be. USA Funds Borrower Connect not only double checks that information, but also checks that the servicers have the correct information as well. We also work with former students who have attended other schools and take responsibility for them. We’ll follow up with them throughout the loan process, even if they move on to other schools. Even if the student consolidates their loans, we’ll still follow up with them and teach them financial literacy.
Financial Aid Counselor
Garrett College (Md.)
Even though our campuses are totally different, Tracie and I are doing a lot of the same sort of practices, like reaching out to our borrowers, reaching out to the students twe currently have, and having USA Funds work with borrowers who have left our institutions. We’ve been working USA Funds and the USA Funds Borrow Connect software since 2011 and have been working with USA Funds Borrower Connect InTouch for less than a year. A recent report about the class of 2013 says 70 percent of those graduates have an average student loan debt of $35,200. That combined with a decrease in the number of enrollments across the nation creates trouble ahead for all higher education institutions, but the products that USA Funds have can help everyone’s schools.
Before we were using USA Funds Borrower Connect, we were like every other institution. We were working off the financial department’s delinquency reporting and we were printing those letters monthly. I was hand addressing the envelopes to try to spur the readers to open them and actually pay attention to them. We were including a NASFAA informational letter talking about what delinquency was, what default was, and what the consequences of default were. That was a very labor-intensive operation. We were trying our best with the limited amount of time and staffing we had, but we were seeing very little results. Then we started using the USA Funds Borrowers Connect software, which automated this process. The letters were much easier to print and populate. It gave us the ability to email a group of students with a touch of a button and I could email the entire list of students in the delinquency report in five minutes, which before would have normally taken me a day to two days to do. It definitely did increase the efficiency of the operation and we were doing everything we could, but we knew we could do better.
We were then given the chance to try USA Funds Borrowers Connect InTouch software and that honestly has been a lifesaver for us. We have cured many of our skip tracing students that the department servicers haven’t been able to keep up with. It’s really been a good thing in that sense. We have definitely seen results with the software. What it has done mostly is allow us to be more proactive and less reactive with our borrowers. We basically let USA Funds handle the borrowers who have already entered repayment. That really frees up our office and our time to be more interactive with borrowers. We can walk them through the process, have more personalized introduction counseling, pay more attention to exit counseling, and focus on financial literacy more.
USA Funds Borrower Connect InTouch Team Lead
USA Funds Borrower Connect InTouch is the platform for USA Funds Borrower Connect and it houses student loan information for your school. USA Funds Borrower Connect InTouch services can also assist with carrying campaigns out to contact your student loan borrowers on your behalf. At the school’s discretion, we carry out requested communication campaigns without needing additional staff from the institution; it’s all housed here. Our main goal is increasing borrower outreach; we want to make sure the borrowers understand their loan obligations and responsibilities.
Many students nowadays do not truly understand the various repayment options available to them if they fall delinquent. We want to put them in an affordable, achievable repayment plan that will offer long-term success. For the borrowers, we want to make sure the plan we place them in matches their current financial situation. We do advise the borrowers of all our loan servicers and make sure they have all their information, how to access their account online, etc. We believe in early outreach, as our emphasis is really in those early stages of repayment to make sure borrowers start off on the right foot. Another key benefit of our services is that we offer a full monthly report to each of our customers that gives borrower level detail of the performance we had and the measurement of success.
To watch this web seminar in its entirety please go to http://www.universitybusiness.com/ws073013