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SLB Online Success: Over 1,500 online applications during first week of new web application system.
Posted: Friday | January 20, 2006

 

SLB Online, the Students’ Loan Bureau’s new state-of-the-art web-enabled loan application system has recorded over 1,500 online applications during the first 5 days of operation. In contrast only about 19 students have trickled into the Bureau’s offices to apply.

“This has been a historic first for Jamaica and the Caribbean region. SLB Online has been at least 2 years in the making”, says Lenice Barnett, Executive Director of the SLB. “We are excited at the efficiency and productivity gains, which the innovation is already bringing to our operations”, she added.

By bringing loan financing services nearer to the student-borrower, the SLB hopes to ultimately eliminate the last-minute rush and bottleneck in the application process, making time spent in line to submit applications a thing of the past. Students will now only be required to come to the Bureau’s office, by appointment, to submit the supporting documents required for their loan applications.

Overall, it is now considerably easier for the over 8,000 tertiary students who apply for loans from the Students’ Loan Bureau every year, particularly those in rural Jamaica, to do so from the convenience of home or the school library!

Students can access ‘SLB Online’ by logging on to www.slbja.com, and following the simple instructions to fill out and submit their applications. A special application tutorial is built into the system to provide online assistance and a    customer help desk, has been set up to assist applicants.
 
Over the past decade, the Students’ Loan Bureau has been achieving record performance outputs, disbursing over 55,000 loans totaling over $3.6 billion, while significantly expanding its services to incorporate the Northern Caribbean University and a number of other tertiary education institutions, such as the Caribbean Maritime Institute and the Caribbean Institute of Technology.

Since its establishment in 1970, the SLB has also provided over J$680 million in grants to needy students. “Now with the implementation of ‘SLB Online’, we are looking forward to redefining our services to bring the utmost in customer delight to our clients. We repeatedly tested the system among university and college students before we launched, who had nothing but praise for the ‘user-friendliness’ and convenience of SLB Online”, maintains Mrs. Barnett.

The Students’ Loan Bureau covers the full cost of tuition fees of every approved loan applicant, making budgetary provisions every year for increased tuition fees. Funds are disbursed directly to each institution on behalf of successful loan applicants.


Of the 6,433 persons who applied for student loan financing last year, 5,876 of them, or 9 out of every 10 loan applicant, received loans to cover the full cost of their tuition fees. Grant-in-aid was awarded to 1,724 very needy students to assist in cost of living expenses.
In 2005, total expenditure on loans was $802 million, while grant-in-aid to the neediest of tertiary students stood at $78.7 million, as the SLB widened the approval net for more students in the face of rising tuition fees and the general socio-economic difficulties being faced by many students.

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