The Office of Loans and Scholarships at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) announced an increase in the maximum amount of money United Methodist students can borrow to pursue their education. Students can now borrow up to $10,000 per calendar year (January through December) with a lifetime maximum of $40,000 from the United Methodist Student Loan Fund.
Previously students were allotted $5,000 per calendar year with a maximum lifetime total of $20,000 during a four-year college career. With one of the lowest education loan interest rates in the U.S., GBHEM is offering students an opportunity to avoid more costly loans and decrease the amount of education debt acquired.
“GBHEM’s Office of Loans and Scholarships has maintained our commitment to providing United Methodist students with affordable options while pursuing higher education. We will continue this commitment and are proud to provide low-interest loan options to help students avoid excessive education debt,” explained Allyson Collinsworth, executive director of the Office of Loans and Scholarships at GBHEM.
Student loan debt is one of the highest forms of debt for individuals, totaling more than 1.45 trillion for students in the U.S. alone, loan interest rates are an important factor when considering how to pay for college. Year-over-year federal student loan interest rates are increasing. Federal loan interest rates increased from 4.45-7 percent to 5.05-7.60 percent between 2018 and 2019. GBHEM loan interest rates have remained the same and range from 3.75 percent to 5 percent, which is up to 1.3% percent lower than the federal rates.
United Methodist Loan Rates
- 3.75 percent fixed for the Smart Loan non-deferred rate, in which the student begins repayment within the month after the loan is disbursed
- 4 percent fixed deferred rate for students attending a United Methodist college or university. No early repayment is required for this rate
- 5 percent fixed deferred rate for United Methodist students attending a non-United Methodist institution with no early repayment required
Federal Student Loan Interest Rates
- 5.05 percent fixed for Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans (Undergraduate Students)
- 5.05 percent fixed for Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans (Undergraduate Students)
- 6.60 percent fixed for Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans (Graduate or Professional Students)
- 7.60 percent fixed for Direct PLUS Loans (Parents and Graduate or Professional Students
Fall loan applications are open now through November 15, 2018. Scholarship applications for the 2019-2020 academic year open January 3, 2019 – March 7, 2019.
For more information about the low-interest student loans and scholarships available through GBHEM, visit gbhem.org/loans-scholarships.
About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.