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  • Writer's pictureSarah Camp

ELM Helps The University Of Kentucky Find The Right Balance


  • School Size: Large

  • Affiliations: Public

  • Tuition: 20,000-30,000/year

  • Favorite ELM Feature: Just Certify

  • Use Case: Personnel Change Gives Opportunity


ELM helps the University of Kentucky find the right balance for their alternative loans

It is said that timing is everything, and it couldn't be more true in this case. For years, ELM talked to the University of Kentucky about considering ELM as a partner to support them with their alternative loans.

"Financial Aid Offices are busy, and private loan processing is only part of what the staff does throughout the year, so improving that process is not always top of mind. Building a relationship with the University of Kentucky came about in a somewhat familiar way," explained Raina Chezem, AVP, Growth & Development.

Having past experience with the ELM team and systems, Executive Director Kathy Bialk was supportive of her staff's interest in meeting with the ELM team for a demo of the ELMOne system.

The Assistant Director and Federal Direct & Alternative Loan Coordinator for the school's financial aid office, Amy Stiltner, immediately told her co-workers that she wanted to work with the ELM team after the demo.

"I knew this system would move us forward with our processes and be something that would allow us to process faster. Also, the ELM team, the whole time, was tremendously helpful," said Amy Stiltner.

The University of Kentucky certifies thousands of loans year-round, so working efficiently on certifications and disbursements is crucial. And for most schools, alternative loans are not something they think about simplifying. But once they do, schools see the benefits and efficiencies gained by consolidating all of the private loans into a single getaway.

Raina also said, "Once Kathy and Amy decided to take a closer look at ELM, and at what those improvements can be, it was so rewarding to watch the University of Kentucky make the switch and immediately begin sending such positive feedback. I look forward to our ELM team providing ever-improving experiences to the university for many years to come!"

Mutual respect turns to the start of a great relationship

Sarah Asad from the ELM Resources National Service Center team asked for the chance to be the concierge point person for the school.

"I jumped at the chance to work with them because I immediately felt a connection. I grew up in that area and knew that we would hit it off immediately," said Sarah.

Onboarding during the holidays

An implementation call happened in December, during which both teams talked about timing and setup for the school's processing needs. Once the details were agreed upon, the ELM team supported Amy and the staff.

"Communication was key," said Sarah, "I made sure to check in regularly to make sure they had everything they needed along the way."

The school determined that the best time to make the switch would be in February, giving them the time needed for setup, testing, and training to ensure a smooth transition. Even though the average onboarding with ELM is only a few days, the school chose to launch in early 2021 to get past the holidays in order to focus on processing their new loans.

"The implementation was tremendously and surprisingly easy. ELM was there every step of the way with numerous check-ins and meetings for anything we had questions on. They were hands-on and available, and I am so happy that we went forward with switching to ELM. " said Amy.

The next step for the University of Kentucky will be to transition from manual processing to complete private loan process automation once they are ready — and ELM will be there to support.

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