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What a year it’s been. Time flies when you’re doing what you love!

It’s been a while since we’ve posted an update on the great things happening at Student Connections, but it has been an extremely eventful year! As you may know, Loan Science acquired Student Connections from Strada Education Network in June of 2018. We’d like to take a moment to reflect on our growth and share with you some of the changes we have made.

In every aspect, this opportunity has been a game changer for both Student Connections and Loan Science. Through the acquisition, our team now has two locations – Austin, TX and Indianapolis, IN. It has allowed us to expand our borrower reach, grow our client list, and has also allowed us to work with Loan Science’s talented product development and customer experience teams to expand support to schools and students.

On the software side, we now have access to two incredible default prevention platforms – OneLook and Borrower Connect. One known for being a data powerhouse; the other known for an unbeatable user experience. We now have access to the best of the best – making this the perfect partnership. Even more exciting, it has allowed us to add to our team of borrower advocates. By arming our staff with the tools that have helped to make Loan Science successful, we have more than doubled our productivity.

We’ve made significant investments in coaching, training and counseling the cross-site borrower advocate team. We start every day with a location-based LEAN meeting that gets the team focused on our goals for the day and gives everyone the opportunity to discuss ways to improve. Our approach is simple: Locate, Contact, Counsel. We work hard to develop strategies and campaigns to get borrowers on the phone with us. Our borrower advocates take the time to understand the borrower’s situation, explain the various options available to them and come up with a plan to get the borrower into a successful repayment status.

The Student Connections and Loan Science family firmly believes that no borrower should default on a federal student loan. Income-based repayment plans are designed to help ALL borrowers. We stress the importance of repayment and work directly with the borrower and servicer to get them on the path to successful repayment. We have heard some critics broadly define default prevention companies as “forbearance shops”. We are in the business of proving them wrong and making a real difference in borrowers’ lives. Our mission is to help every borrower find the best solution for their situation.

What’s Next

Beginning May 1, 2019, Loan Science will begin using the Student Connections name for all financial wellness and default prevention business. That means all of our borrower advocates will identify themselves as calling from Student Connections. The Loan Science name will not be going away, but Student Connections better describes the support we provide to help students navigate their college funding and loan repayment options.

We are working hard to combine the Loan Science and Student Connections systems into a common data, reporting, analytics and CRM platform for schools to use to track results and other key activities. We expect to have more exciting news about this over the summer.

We’ve recently built an artificially intelligent chatbot that we will use to help borrowers who do not want to talk on the phone but still need our help. This is vital because the student lending world serves more than 40 million borrowers, many of whom have grown up using tools like smartphones for virtually all of their financial needs. It’s time that the student lending world evolves to be able to serve borrowers in ways that they prefer.

That’s all for now. Our promise is to continue to provide updates with our progress and as always, we look forward to your feedback.