Students learn a lot in college, both in and out of the classroom. It's a time when many young adults learn what it really means to be on their own. No one is there to wake them up for their early morning class, or remind them that a big project is due soon. A big part of college is "adulting."
Learning how to be responsible doesn't just include grocery shopping and paying bills. Adulting includes knowing the risks that come with living on your own, and the benefits insurance provides when the unexpected happens.
That’s where Santa Clara University stepped up to further educate their students about financial literacy, particularly by using a valuable, simplified way to protect their stuff with renters insurance.
Learning life skills before graduation
College orientation can be an overwhelming time for students and families, as they're provided with a lot of important information in a short amount of time. Renters insurance likely isn't something that's top of mind on this day.
That's challenging because while renters insurance is optional for campus living, it's highly recommended, says Gayle Bandy, Assistant Administrator at Santa Clara University.
"We believe our jobs as educators, even in the housing office, is to help them leave our institution and be able to do 'adulting' on their own," Bandy said. "And I think renters insurance is a big part of understanding what your risks are out on your own."
Finding an online integrated solution
Santa Clara University was looking for a renters insurance option that could be integrated with their existing online housing portal. This gives them another way of letting students and families know that renters insurance is important, rather than just featuring it on their website.
The school encourages families to think about the unexpected happening to them -- such as a pipe burst, residence hall fire, or property theft -- and consider their options. But without having renters insurance as part of the housing application, educators put the ownership on students and parents to go out and search for coverage options on their own.
Reputation made integration a no-brainer
The university partnered with GradGuard in January 2019. In October 2020, GradGuard's Renters Insurance was integrated into StarRez Portal X.
Bandy says something that really drew Santa Clara to GradGuard was the reputation GradGuard has built with other institutions and the relationship they have developed with StarRez.
"When we look at going into a relationship with a third party partner, we want it to be easy. We want it to be something we don’t have to think about a lot. We want something that just easily goes into our process and that’s what GradGuard did to us."
While the integration is fairly new at Santa Clara, Bandy says she and many of her colleagues are very excited about the program and partnership.
"I think that we have learned that the partnership with GradGuard is very positive," Bandy said. "You do all the work for us. You make sure that our students are getting all the information they need."
The program isn't just easy to set up for administrators, it's also easy for students to opt-in or decline coverage. Students are able to make their selection as they fill out their housing application.
A student benefit that's important to implement now more than ever
The idea of adding yet another task to your ever-growing to-do list during the pandemic probably sounds daunting. But integrating renters insurance into your existing software, whether it's StarRez, Adirondack, or RMS, doesn't require much work on your end. And it's more important now than it was previously. The pandemic has highlighted risks and uncertainty associated with college life, and how valuable it is to protect yourself and your belongings.
Santa Clara University integrated their program during the pandemic. For schools who might not have renters insurance at the top of your to-do list, she says she can't emphasize enough how easy it was to do.
"Implementing this is not additional work," Bandy said. "It's no hassle."
Bandy goes on to say renters insurance provides students with a valuable early lesson in how to be a responsible adult.
"Now they know, going out into the real world renting a property off-campus, this is something they really need to do," Bandy said.
If you're an educator and you're looking for another way to support students at your campus, implementing a renters insurance program probably isn't the first thing you think of. But the process is so simplified that doing so creates no additional work on your end. Santa Clara University heard about the benefits of the program from other institutions and took the plunge last fall. At no cost to Santa Clara, students learn a valuable life lesson that comes with adulting, and are able to protect themselves and their belongings in a matter of minutes.