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Loan FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Who may borrow?

Applicants who meet the following criteria:
• U.S. citizen and permanent resident borrowers must be an active, full member of a United Methodist church for at least one year prior to application.
• Non-U.S. citizen borrowers must be a full member of a United Methodist church for at least three years prior to application.
• Borrowers must be at least 18 to complete the application process.
• U.S. citizen and permanent resident borrowers must be enrolled in an accredited school at least half-time in the United States.
• Non-U.S. citizen borrowers must be enrolled in a United Methodist related college, university or seminary at least half time in the United States.
• Borroweers must maintain at least a “C” average (2.0 GPA).
• Borrowers must have a cosigner for the loan who is a citizen of the United States or has legal permanent resident status. The cosigner will be contacted and required to complete a portion to the application. NOTE: Cosigner will be required to provide proof of income, and if the borrower is currently employed, proof of income will be required as well. Acceptable documents for proof of income are your last pay stub, W2 or tax return.
• Have all loan funds certified by their educational institution before funds are released to the school. No exception.

How much may be borrowed?

Students may borrow up to $10,000 per calendar year (Jan. – Dec.) from the United Methodist Student Loan Fund. The maximum allowed per lifetime is $40,000 per applicant. 

The cosigner will be required to provide proof of income, and if the borrower is currently employed, proof of income will be required as well. Acceptable documents for proof of income are your last pay stub, W2 or tax return. 

Is a cosigner required?

Yes, cosigners are required for all loans. Cosigners will be required to provide proof of income. Acceptable documents for proof of income are your last pay stub, W2, or tax return. Should the borrower be unable to repay the loan, the cosigner is fully responsible for repayment.

PLEASE NOTE: The following persons ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE cosigners: husband or wife of the borrower, a student, a borrower who has an open account with the United Methodist Student Loan Fund, the borrow’s fiancé or fiancée, and a pastor, unless it is the borrower’s parent. Cosigners must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, of legal age and financially able to repay the student loan in the amount requested and approved from this loan application. 

IMPORTANT: Prior loan recipients should use the same cosigner for all loan requests to prevent delay in approval.

What credit score is required?

Loan approval is not based upon credit scores. Credit history and income are evaluated.

When is the application deadline? 

Loans are available on a first-come, first-served basis until available funds are exhausted.

Click here to check for opening and closing dates.

Why do you need to contact my financial aid director?

GBHEM contacts your school’s financial aid director on your behalf to confirm that the amount you are borrowing does not exceed your cost of attendance. It is also important that your financial aid director is aware of your loan because it may affect other financial aid that you receive.

How do I determine who to email my loan certification form to? 

Call your school’s financial aid office or bursar’s office and ask them who is responsible for certifying private loans. Obtain the name, phone number and email of the person so that you can submit the loan certification to them when you accept the loan through our online system. It is the borrower’s responsibility to follow up with the university to ensure that the loan certification is completed. This is required in order to satisfy the requirements of the loan.

Why does my loan have to be certified by the school?

Your school certifies the amount you qualify for to ensure you do not borrow more than you need. The certification confirms the borrower’s eligibility for a loan after reviewing the student’s registration status, associated cost of attendance and other financial aid eligibility. A lesser loan amount may be certified depending upon the school’s financial aid policy. GBHEM will contact you if we receive confirmation from the school that your loan has been certified for less than the requested amount.

If approved for a loan, when will I receive my check?

After your loan is approved, you will receive an email notification of the approval terms, along with instructions on how to request your school’s financial aid director/ loan representative to certify your loan prior to receiving loan documents. Your school will certify your loan and verify your enrollment.

Once the loan certification has been received, the promissory note and other required documents will be mailed to your home address. The borrower and cosigner are required to sign the original promissory note and the cosigner must sign their section in the presence of a notary public. It must then be mailed back to the GBHEM office. Upon submission of these items, the loan check will be requested within seven days.

Where will the check be sent?

All loan checks are made payable to the student borrower. All checks will be sent to the school’s bursar’s office or financial aid office.

What are the interest rates and repayment terms?

Option A: 5% fixed interest loan with deferred payment option.
Option B: 4% fixed interest loan with deferred payment option (only available for students attending United Methodist schools).
Option C: 3.75% “Borrow Smart” fixed interest loan with payment beginning the next month after check disbursement.
A loan origination fee of 1.072% will be added. The fee will be paid once repayment begins on the account, and interest is not charged on the fee amount.

What are the legal obligations?

A promissory note signed by the borrower and a cosigner legally binds both to the repayment terms specified in the note.

Interest accrues on the principal loan balance from the date the loan check is disbursed and continues until the loan is paid in full.

The borrower may repay the loan at any time without penalty. Please note: Accrued interest is paid before any amount is applied to the principal.

Is the interest tax deductible?

Yes, interest is tax deductible. You will be sent an interest tax statement by the end of January each year for any interest paid in the previous year.

How do I know if my loan application is complete?

• Allow five to seven business days after submission for your online status to update.
• You may monitor the status of each requirement on your home page at
o Not started: the form has not been requested or started.
o Started: the form has not been submitted.
o Submitted: the form has been submitted.
o Not received: the attachment has not been received.
o Processing: the attachment has been received and is being processed and verified.
o Accepted: the attachment has been verified and accepted by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. (ISTS), a firm that specializes in managing sponsored loan and scholarship programs.
o Requested: the form request has been created, but the form has not been started.
o Complete: all required forms and attachments (if applicable) have been received and your loan application is under review and assessment.

When and how does repayment begin?

• For Option A, 5% (non-UM school) or Option B, 4% (UM school), payment begins six months after graduation, withdrawal from school or the date when you begin attending less than half time per your institution’s half-time policy.

• For Option C, 3.75% Borrow Smart, repayment begins the next month after a loan check is disbursed.

All payments are due on the first day of each month. Loans are considered late after the fifteenth and may be assessed a late penalty fee, not to exceed 15% of the late payment.

There are three ways to repay loan debt on a monthly basis: authorize GBHEM to automatically debit you bank account; pay via the GBHEM website; mail a check to the address provided. Learn more about loan payment here.

In an effort to be green and keep our administration and mailing costs down, we urge everyone to receive monthly statements by email.

How do I update my address or email?

If you are a current borrower, you must change your address in two places. Update your information on the profile page at and follow the email directions to update your contact information with the Office of Loans and Scholarships. You must update both places to guarantee we have your current information.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are in repayment and paying on-line through e-pay, changing your address at the bank does NOT update your profile in our office.

What is the E-Sign Consent?

This consent is used to allow us to communicate with you electronically during the application process, and it allows us to send your monthly billing statements and annual tax documents directly to your email. Failure to consent will result in our inability to process your loan application.

Who do I contact if I have other questions?

Loan Eligibility Questions:
For additional information or questions regarding the loan program, please contact the GBHEM Office of Loans and Scholarships by email at or phone at (615) 340-7344.

Technical Applications Questions:
For additional information regarding the loan processes, contact ISTS by email at or toll free at (800) 914-8389. When emailing, please indicate your inquiry is in regard to the GBHEM Loan Program and provide your username. ISTS offers support administering the online application and any technical questions involved in the process.

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