GradGuard for Higher Education

URMIA - The Case for Student Renters Insurance 

Posted by John Fees on Mar 20, 2018 6:17:19 PM

I shared this post recently with for the March edition of URMIA Insights - (University Risk Management and Insurance Association).  The message, however, is important for other leaders in higher education and particularly for those in student housing and student financial services. 

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Topics: student success, college theft, college fire safety, Dorm Life, renters insurance, apartment living, college life, dorm living, College Life Protected, Student Risk Management, student risk, Renting, Best Practices by Colleges, Higher Education Policy, Renters Liability, Student Benefits, insurance, Risk Management, Campus Fire, Student housing, ACUHOI, Higher Education, college renters insurance, URMIA

2018 NACUBO SFS - Tuition Refunds & More

Posted by John Fees on Mar 13, 2018 7:03:00 PM

Today it was my pleasure to join Mike Reynolds of Auburn University to present at the annual NACUBO Student Financial Services conference.  It is always good to share the stage with a higher education veteran and true student financial services professional.  Mike and I had some 

We shared our experiences and research regarding:

Common & Emerging Best Practices for Disclosing and Managing Tuition Refunds.  

Our presentation focused on the growing impact/frequency of student medical withdrawals and the increasing cost of the financial losses experienced by institutions and families.  The discussion aimed to 

  • Understand national research / benchmarks for how schools disclose their refund policies & manage student withdrawals 
  • Understand how schools are reducing the costs and risks of administering tuition refund appeals process
  • Understand how schools are implementing tuition insurance programs to reducing the financial losses caused by students withdrawals.

It isn't always possible for schools to afford the cost of attending an industry conference in person, so I am pleased to share the slides from our discussion through the link below. 

Download the NACUBO SFS Slides 

The slides provide a summary of the industry research and also a review of the experience at Auburn University and other schools who have chosen to embrace a fully transparent approach to disclosing and managing tuition refunds. Given the growth in student medical withdrawals it is prudent for schools that do not provide 100% refunds to provide notice of their institutions refund policy.   

The research contained in the presentation provides a useful baseline for schools to benchmark their own experience in managing the growing cost of refunds.   You don't need to read the research or the slides, however, if you take a moment to consider the following conclusions of the presentation. 

If you are serious about reducing the cost of student withdrawals to your institution and the families you serve, then we recommend that you consider the following practical next steps:

Recommended Next Steps

1. Evaluate your institutions refund policy.

2. How are students provided “notice” of the refund policy?

3. Is your current refund policy administered objectively?

- Avoid subjective & arbitrary administration

4. What is the cost of administering your current policy?

- Confirm you do not accept student health records without a HIPAA release.

5. Adopt a fully transparent disclosure process and offer tuition insurance protection.

 

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Topics: student success, Student Life, student health, Financial Literacy, tuition refund insurance, Tuition Insurance, student risk, Refund Policy, Best Practices by Colleges, Transparency, college parents, tuition refunds, Student Benefits, Higher Education, Bursars,, nacubo,, business operations,, Tuition Protection Plan, college refunds,

Reducing the Cost of College Student Withdrawals 

Posted by John Fees on Mar 4, 2018 2:44:28 PM

If you are like many college and university officials, you are facing a growing number of student withdrawals.  

Student withdrawals are a costly event for everyone. Institutions depend on the funds that students pay in tuition and fees. Students and their families may suffer a financial loss as well as from the trauma of unexpected event such as an illness or injury that disrupts an academic term.

Our research indicates that very few schools provide 100% refunds to students who complete a withdrawal mid-term. Even when a hardship exists such as the death of a parent or substance abuse incident it is uncommon for colleges to provide 100% refunds.

As a result, we are pleased to announce that the GradGuard Tuition Protection Plan from Allianz Global Assistance is now available to schools who are looking to provide refunds to students who are forced to withdraw from school due to illnesses, injuries or other  covered reason.  

The Tuition Protection Plan is offered only to school partners who enter into a non-exclusive participation agreement.  This agreement assures your students that they will receive the enhanced coverages schools expect and students need.

Speak with us to learn more about why our modern tuition insurance programs are an important student benefit and a valuable form of protection.  

Learn More About GradGuard's Tuition Protection Plan from Allianz. 

 

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Topics: student success, Student Life, student health, tuition refund insurance, Tuition Insurance, student risk, Transparency, tuition refunds

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,

Reducing the Cost of Withdrawals

Posted by GradGuard on Nov 14, 2016 12:09:44 PM

If you are like many college and university officials, you are facing a growing number of student withdrawals.  

Student withdrawals are a costly event for everyone. Institutions depend on the funds that students pay in tuition and fees. Students and their families may suffer a financial loss as well as from the trauma of unexpected event such as an illness or injury that disrupts an academic term.

Our research indicates that very few schools provide 100% refunds to students who complete a withdrawal mid-term. Even when a hardship exists such as the death of a parent or substance abuse incident it is uncommon for colleges to provide 100% refunds.

As a result, we are pleased to announce that the GradGuard Tuition Protection Plan is now available to schools who are looking to provide refunds to students who have to withdraw from school due to a covered reason.  

The Tuition Protection Plan is offered only to school partners who enter into a non-exclusive participation agreement.  This agreement assures your students that they will receive the enhanced coverages schools expect (coverage for addiction, high risk activities or death of a student that lead to a student withdrawal) and a lower price.

Learn More About GradGuard's Tuition Protection Plan from Allianz. 

 

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Topics: student success, Student Life, student health, tuition refund insurance, Tuition Insurance, student risk, Transparency, tuition refunds

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,

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

Helping Schools Protect Students

Posted by Steve Fucci on Apr 21, 2016 3:12:37 PM

In our work with college and university officials we often hear two topics that are a great concern.  Officials are concerned about bad press regarding student crime and campus safety.  They also worry about media coverage regarding the growing cost of college. 

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Topics: student success, renters insurance, student risk, Student housing

"Transfarency" by Southwest Airlines / Transparency for Students

Posted by John Fees on Nov 16, 2015 10:20:21 PM

Have you noticed a new strategic marketing campaign created by Southwest Airlines? If not, you can check the entire campaign on their website.

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Topics: Travel, Parents, tuition refund insurance, student risk, Transparency, tuition refunds, Student Benefits, regulation

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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