GradGuard for Higher Education

John Fees

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2017 Trends & Topics for Student Financial Services

Posted by John Fees on Apr 24, 2017 5:22:54 PM

                       
 

Over the years of working with more than 200 colleges and universities, we have learned that there are many higher education conferences that are valuable to attend to see colleauges and customers.  One of the most useful and relevant conferences is the Professional Development Group's annual Bursar conference.

This year's conference is near Jacksonville and features a terrific set of education panels and discussions.  Of particular note, is the time that PDG dedicates to discussing the trends that impact schools and also the work involved to share benchmarks and best practices among schools.  There is a sincere interest of everyone attending on reducing the costs of college for students and their families, helping students make informed decisions and promoting greater college completion.

As one example, is from the  The 2017 Survey on Student Withdawals & Refunds. This report reveals that nearly half of schools reporting an increase in student medical withdrawals and as a result more schools than ever are providing the opportunity for their students to protect themselves through tuition insurance. 

In addition to the focus on reducing costs, the conference includes a useful series of discussions on the importance of helping college students and their families make informed decisons.  Join industry veterans John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, and Craig Lockwood the Managing Director of Tuition Management Systems as they lead a discussion on the timely topic of Decision Design and how student financial services professionals are "Helping Students and Families Take Informed Action".  

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Topics: Tuition Insurance, Best Practices by Colleges, Transparency, college completion, Bursars,

2017 New & Improved - College Renters Insurance

Posted by John Fees on Mar 31, 2017 7:07:06 PM

I love the spring. The last day of March, however, brings the reality that Major League Baseball spring training is ending and the hot Arizona summer will soon be upon us.

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Topics: college theft, renters insurance, Student Risk Management, student risk, Student housing, ACUHOI, college renters insurance, college risk, business operations,

March Conference Season & Data That Leaders at NACUBO, NASPA and Ellucian can Agree On

Posted by John Fees on Mar 19, 2017 1:12:48 PM

March is a busy month for our higher education colleagues.  With the NACUBO Student Financial Services conference, NASPA's annual meeting and Ellucian Live occuring all during the same month, many of us spend the month traveling between valuable industry gatherings.  

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Topics: student health, Tuition Insurance, tuition refunds, Higher Education, nacubo,, Tuition Protection Plan, naspa

45% of Schools Surveyed Report an Increase in Student Medical Withdrawals

Posted by John Fees on Mar 13, 2017 6:05:00 AM

The 2017 Survey on Student Withdawals & Refunds has revealed that nearly half of schools survyed report an increase in student medical withdrawals. 

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Topics: student health, tuition refund insurance, Tuition Insurance, tuition refunds, nacubo,, Tuition Protection Plan, naspa

NPR Story on student Who did not complete her degree due to illness and is now defaulting on her student loan

Posted by John Fees on Feb 2, 2017 12:15:39 PM

National Public Radio published this story on student loan defaults and begins with a former student who did not complete their degree due to a medical illness.

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Topics: student health, Press, Tuition Insurance

The Biggest Crisis in Higher Ed Isn't Student Debt, It's Students Who Don't Graduate

Posted by John Fees on Nov 2, 2016 11:55:26 AM

This is a follow-on to a LinkedIn post I created in 2014 and Titled: The Real Issue: Failing to Graduate is Costly. The statement remains even truer today. The National Center for Education Statistics confirms that the "6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor's degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2008 was 60 percent."

What has changed is an awareness and a commitment by leaders in higher education such as Arizona State University President, Dr. Michael Crow who recently published a noteworthy article titled. "The Biggest Crisis in Higher Ed Isn't Student Debt, It's Students Who Don't Graduate"

Dr. Crow correctly argues "the greater crisis: the fact that more than half of those who start college fail to finish. Think about it: Tens of millions of people in the US are saddled with student debt and have no degree to help pay it off....In too many cases, they may never recover, leaving them feeling frustrated and bitter, disenfranchised and unable to find a way to better jobs and greater opportunity. Too many, saddled with debt and lacking a degree, feel trapped."

That statement is consistent with the 2014 quote from the New York Times "The vastly bigger problem is the hundreds of thousands of people who emerge from college with a modest amount of debt yet no degree. For them, college is akin to a house that they had to make the down payment on but can’t live in."

As an Arizona State University graduate and active in increasing college access and completion rates through College Success Arizona, I am pleased to read about the success of unique programs that Dr. Crow highlights such as eAdvisor and Major Maps. In addition, he reminds us of the value of corporate partnerships such as the College Achievement Plan created between ASU and Starbucks that aims to help Starbuck's employees their degrees.

In addition to the innovative approaches ASU has taken, more can be done to improve efforts to promote greater student success. Three specific topics that interest me that are worth greater discussion.

  • Understanding Pipeline issues - specifically the academic readiness of students who enroll in college with insufficient skills to complete college level requirements. Articulating these common expectations is not just about a test score but about making sure that national curriculums meet international standards for literacy and numeracy.
  • Understanding Family support - Academic achievement often reflects more complex factors such family socio-economic and educational attainment. Research from College Parents of America (where I serve as a Director) indicates that students with family support are more likely to graduate than those that have little to none.
  • Understanding Risks that can Disrupt an Education - Next to the ability to afford college and complete the academic work, students report that "life-got-in-the-way" as the third reason why they may not complete a degree program. Growing efforts by schools to anticipate and provide protection from these unexpected events is noteworthy. Three small examples include efforts to provide robust residence life programs, student health, and counseling programs.
 

It is useful to broaden the discussion regarding student success and to give greater focus to the larger, more enduring problem of college completion. This is a big part of why Bill Suneson and I founded GradGuard. Our mission is to promote greater student success by helping to protect the investment students and their families make in a higher education.

GradGuard's student benefit programs help students and their families overcome the financial losses that can result from student illnesses, injuries, addiction, the death of a tuition payer as well as theft and even property damages.

Thankfully, more than 200 schools recognize the value of providing GradGuard to protect their students and provide convenient opportunities to enroll in our Tuition Protection Plan and College Renters Insurance Plan to help reduce the financial losses that may otherwise interrupt a student's path towards graduation.

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Topics: student success, college life, Student Risk Management, student risk, Best Practices by Colleges, leadership, college completion, college risk

ACUHOI -  Business Operations Conference

Posted by John Fees on Oct 11, 2016 9:00:14 PM

It was wonderful to see so many colleagues last week attending the annual ACUHO-I Business Operations conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Arizona is home for many of our GradGuard team so it was terrific to host our many school clients near our headquarters in Phoenix.

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Topics: college theft, renters insurance, Student Risk Management, student risk, Student housing, ACUHOI, college renters insurance, college risk, business operations,

NACUBO Annual Meeting - Ensuring Student Success

Posted by John Fees on Jul 25, 2016 3:35:24 PM

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Topics: student success, Tuition Insurance, Refund Policy, Higher Education Policy, Transparency, leadership, college completion, Disclosures, Higher Education, nacubo,

No Need for Hoverboards at ACUHO-I or on Campus

Posted by John Fees on Jul 10, 2016 2:38:01 PM

Our GradGuard team is looking forward to the annual ACUHO-I conference this week in Seattle.  The annual ACUHO-I meeting is the best gathering of leaders in student housing and residence life.  Given the value of residential life to increasing college completion rates, GradGuard invests in supporting this community of higher education and housing professionals.

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Topics: renters insurance, Student Risk Management, student risk, ACUHOI

2016 Career Opportunities at GradGuard

Posted by John Fees on Jun 9, 2016 5:37:20 PM

Are you interested in working with mission driven company that is dedicated to colleges and universities and the students they serve?  We are currently hiring and offer exciting career opportunities for talented and motivated professionals.  

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Topics: Jobs

College Life Protected

Insights on student risk

GradGuard for Higher Education examines how unexpected losses can affect student success, bringing you the latest in best practices and trends for safety on and off campus.

Here you'll learn more about:

  • Risks on and off campus
  • How schools are using benefits programs to protect and attract students
  • Effects of loss on student outcomes

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