student success
NACUBO Annual Meeting - Ensuring Student Success
By John Fees on Jul 25, 2016

John Fees

John Fees is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of GradGuard™. Fees is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he received a bachelors of science degree in History and is also a graduate of Harvard Business School where he completed a Masters in Business Administration. John Fees lives in Phoenix, Arizona and is married to Melissa Soza Fees, Ph.D. and is the father of five children. He is the Treasurer for the Arizona College Success Arizona, a Director of College Parents of America, Founding Director and investor in Tonto Creek Camp which provides service leadership experiences to 8,000 students annually. He is also an active member of University Risk Management and Insurance Association and the Professional Insurance Marketers Association.

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The 2016 NACUBO conference in Montreal was very impressive. My first NACBUO annual meeting was in 1997 so I have seen many evolutions in themes and topics.

This year's conference was among the best I have seen as it featured productive discussions on the core of most institutions - college completion.  The content was diverse and substantial on how student financial services and business offices are helping to ensure greater student success.

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Industry conferences, particularly in higher education, can be productive moments to understanding trends impacting multiple schools.  It is clear to me that higher education professionals are deeply committed to reducing the cost of compliance and improving transparency.  This trend is evident in the outstanding content featured in many presentations but particularly in this Monday afternoon session.

Ensuring Student Success Through the Business Office -  by this talented panel:

Christine Blakney - Managing Director of Student Business Services, Texas Tech 

Gina Curry Assoc. VP for Financial Services, California State University, Sacramento, 

Charmaine Daniels Director of Student Accounts, Georgia State University,

Hung V. Le Associate Vice President and University Registrar, Pepperdine University, 

The discussion was very helpful and address the topic of why so many students leave institutions prematurely.  They correctly identified a number of reasons: academic difficulties, health-related issues, and—of course—financial obligations. Although most institutions prohibit students from registering if they have an outstanding balance.

These panelists are all members of NACUBO’s Student Financial Services Council will share how their offices—and others—are leveraging data and technology and contributing to their institutions’ efforts to ensure students remain enrolled and achieve their goals.

Conclusions:
After attending such a content-packed conference, it is sometimes hard to know where to start when one returns to campus.  Here are my observations made particularly for Bursars, Student Financial Services and Chief Finanical Officers:
  1. Evaluate the cost of your refund policy? If your institution does not provide 100% refunds for student medical withdrawals, evaluate how your school manages tuition refunds and disclosure requirements. Determine how your instutition verifies that students have been adequately informed and provided "notice" of your policy.  Common_Practices_3_Data_Points_copy.jpgProvide an opportunity for families to protect themselves from financial losses through tuition insurance.
  2. Download and share the study and one page Tuition Refunds & Disclosures Infographic.
  3. Speak with any of our friendly team of professionals at GradGuard to see if we help.

 

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