David Mainenti has been focused on student success for as long as he can remember at Long Island University (LIU). The private university with campuses in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island has made a concerted effort to boost graduation rates and student success stories.
Mainenti, the Associate Vice President for Student Financial Operations, wanted to escape the school's cumbersome appeals process. He says LIU reversed hundreds of thousands of dollars of tuition and didn't have much consistency regarding what warrants a refund and what doesn't.
"With mental health... We're not doctors; that's not our job," Mainenti said. "It just became very, unfortunately, subjective, in terms of trying to figure out who's lying, who's not lying, who owes, who doesn't owe."
Mainenti describes a problematic situation that is not unique to higher education administrators. To promote fairness and reduce burdens, he sought a student insurance solution to reduce the number of appeals significantly.
GradGuard's Seamless Integration With TouchNet
Not all student insurance solutions are the same. After searching for years for a solution where administrators didn't have to collect a fee, Mainenti says he was happy to learn about GradGuard, which integrates seamlessly with TouchNet Bill+Payment.
"Once we found out how simple everything was, we were really pleased," Mainenti said.
LIU added the integrated solution in July 2022. As a result, all students are presented with the option to purchase GradGuard's Tuition Insurance when they log in to their Student Account Center to review their tuition and fees for the upcoming term. The benefit is optional and presented through the Consent Manager feature of TouchNet Bill+Payment. Prior to purchasing or declining coverage, students must acknowledge they read and understand the institution's refund policy.
Mainenti says he's heard from many parents who bought the policy and said it was fantastic that it was offered.
"There's clearly a market for the product with parents who understand the risks associated with going to college and maybe not being prepared," Mainenti said.
How Tuition Insurance Fits into LIU's Push for Student Success:
- Boost graduation rates - Graduation rates increase when students return from a leave of absence.
- Promote fairness - All students are presented with the option to purchase tuition insurance. There's no more need for a subjective appeals process when claims for withdrawals are handled directly by GradGuard.
- Complements existing refund policies - GradGuard's Tuition Insurance can provide up to 100% refund when schools don't, assuring that any accounts payable are paid.
Given the rising cost of college and how affordable GradGuard's plans are, Mainenti thinks families are smart to consider purchasing a plan.
Tuition insurance isn't necessary for every student and family. But it's a smart consideration for those looking for a way to safeguard their investment in higher education and can't afford the cost of an extra semester should an unexpected covered medical withdrawal arise.
Promoting Student Success
Tuition insurance is one piece of Long Island University's proactive, comprehensive approach to student success. Mainenti believes it's rooted in not sending students' accounts to collection agencies. College is one of the largest investments a family will ever make. It's too big to leave unprotected. Moreover, when students leave school and owe money, getting sent to collections has a lasting negative impact.
"For the undergraduates -- these kids -- sending them to collections, reporting them to a credit bureau, that's a pretty dirty thing to do to somebody who may or may not have even understood what they were getting involved in when they were 18," Mainenti said.
Mainenti's goal for LIU is to track students who take a leave of absence and eventually return.
Recommendations for Other Schools
Long over are the days of the burdensome appeals process at Long Island University. Mainenti says partnering with GradGuard has fit well with the school's overarching mission of promoting student success, retaining students, and making sure they don't drop out and owe the school money.
Mainenti believes other schools can benefit significantly from the program.
"It's a simple product; it sells itself," Mainenti says. "You're not really involved I the process."
GradGuard's Tuition Insurance takes the guesswork out of evaluating what happens to students when they need to leave school. Instead, when students are covered, they can focus on getting better and returning to school.
GradGuard's tuition insurance program can provide peace of mind to students and families. The program can help students and families recover the cost of tuition, fees, and room and board if a student is forced to withdraw from school due to a covered reason.