Does Your Campus Provide 100% Refunds?
Colleges and universities are grappling with ongoing challenges, including the pressing issue of college refunds. There is a need for transparent refund policies and education on the importance of tuition insurance in protecting students' investments. Throughout the pandemic some of these issues were exposed and even though COVID-19 is controlled now, we are still dealing with other factors that affect college students.
The Perfect Storm of Challenges
Here’s what is going on campuses nationwide:
Rise in student mental health conditions: Mental health concerns among college students have surged, demanding attention and support.
Escalating college costs and student debt: The burden of student debt and increasing college expenses add to the financial strain on students and families.
Limited availability of full refunds: Most institutions do not provide full refunds beyond the initial weeks of the academic term.
Unforeseen events often disrupt students' education, such as serious illnesses, injuries, mental health conditions, chronic illnesses, or the death of a tuition payer. These circumstances frequently lead to medical withdrawals and substantial financial losses for both the students and institutions.
Students reporting anxiety are up 77% and those reporting depression are up 67%, according to the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment, 2021.
Insufficient refunds for medical withdrawals can devastate students and families. A 2022 College Confidence Index survey found 66% of parents report they are unfamiliar with the refund policies of their college or university. More than half (52%) report it would be difficult for them to pay for the cost of an extra semester.
Transparent refund policies can prevent costly surprises
Transparent refund policies are crucial in preventing unexpected financial burdens. Institutions should proactively communicate their policies and provide electronic verification of notice. Transparent policies reduce adversarial collections, improve retention rates, and lower the costs of appeals processes and refunds.
To protect students from financial losses due to medical withdrawals, institutions can offer GradGuard's Tuition Insurance. By integrating GradGuard into existing payment portals, institutions can enhance transparency, reduce costs, and assist students and families in protecting their college investments.
Steps Towards Improvement:
Evaluate your school's refund policy, as most institutions do not offer refunds beyond the fifth week of classes.
Identify where the refund policy is published online and ensure easy accessibility.
Integrate notice of the refund policy within the billing process, collaborating with billing software companies for seamless implementation at no additional cost.
Empower students and families to make informed decisions by offering GradGuard's Tuition Protection Program, which partners with major payment and billing providers in higher education.
Now is the time for you to reevaluate the refund policies and acknowledge the impact of student medical withdrawals on your campus. Transparent policies and tuition insurance play a vital role in protecting students' investments, fostering transparency, improving retention rates, and reducing costs associated with appeals processes, providing peace of mind and an effective streamlined process for your staff.