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National College Decision Day is the First Step Towards Completing College for Future Freshmen and Their Families

May 1, 2019

Phoenix, Arizona, May 1, 2019 – May 1st turns the page for millions of high school graduates who have selected the college or university where they are confident they will successfully complete their degree.  With slightly more than half of students who start college completing their degree, college families are smart to ask some essential questions regarding their investment in higher education and take steps to prepare to overcome risks that may disrupt their education.

GradGuard search tool makes it easy for college parents to protect their students and investment from the risks of college life.

“Today’s decision is the first of many important decisions students and families make during the next few weeks that can truly help their students not only pay for college but also protect this significant investment, said Bob Soza, Chairman of College Parents of America.

Paying for college is often the second largest investment college families make, as a result John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, an authority on college risks that works closely with more than 300 colleges and universities, recommends the following smart tips:

Know Your School Refund Policy: If your student has to withdraw from college due to a serious illness, injury or accident, it is unlikely that you will receive a 100% refund.  Only 16% of schools surveyed provide 100% refunds of tuition, and virtually no schools will refund the cost of academic fees, room and board.  Tuition insurance can provide a refund, however, when schools do not.  If you cannot afford the cost of an extra college semester, then it is essential to purchase tuition insurance coverage prior to the start of classes. The good news is that college families can protect their investment by purchasing tuition insurance starting at $33.75 for $2,500 of coverage per term.  

Confirm Health Insurance Coverage: Many colleges offer health insurance plans to students and require them to purchase or opt out by showing proof of alternative insurance. According to American College Health Association, about 10 percent of students get their health insurance through their school.  A college health insurance plan may make sense for some students. But if you have family health insurance, your college student can remain on a parents’ plan until the age of 26.   Be sure to confirm the requirements to use your student campus health clinic and be sure not to pay twice for coverage.

Understand the Risks of Living on Campus:  For many of the nearly three-million students who live in student housing, this is the first time they are living independently and they not aware that their college or university is unlikely to replace stolen or damaged student property. Clery Act campus safety reports indicate that an average of 2,000 fires are reported annually within on-campus student housing and data from the 2015 FBI Uniform Crime Reports indicate there were 69,502 property crimes reported at participating campuses. Though some parents may have coverage for their full-time students through homeowners insurance, this coverage is often not practical as it is subject to coverage limits, high deductibles and upon filing a claim may lead to an increased cost of your insurance.  For about $.50 cents a day, GradGuard’s college renters insurance contains an exclusive student endorsement that provides world-wide property coverage, a low-deductible and no credit check, making renters insurance a must have consideration for college families.

Fees continued, “College families are often unaware that the investment they make in a college education can be at risk and many are unaware where to start to find the protection they need.  As a result, it is essential to visit GradGuard.com to use our college insurance search tool to identify the insurance programs offered by your school that may contain unique pricing or coverage that can help students overcome unexpected events or financial losses that could disrupt their goal of completing college.”

About:  GradGuard is an authority in protecting the investment in higher education. By protecting students and their families from the risks from college life, GradGuard helps reduce the cost of college and promote greater student success. GradGuard’s modern tuition and renters insurance programs are valuable student benefits available through a network of more than 300 colleges and universities. Since 2009, GradGuard’s insurance programs have protected more than 650,000 students and families. For more insights on #collegelife follow @GradGuard

Other Student Life

Spring Cleaning for Your Bank Account

February 13, 2019

As February rolls in, New Years’ Resolutions start to drift off your to-do list. This is the perfect time to reset and realign your resolutions. Instead of cleaning out your backpack or promising that you will study more, take this time to review all of your recurring monthly subscriptions. Reconsider the value that they are providing you. As a college student, every dime counts! We are here to help you pocket as much savings as possible.

Let’s face it: no one wants to pay utilities on a monthly basis, but this is a necessity. Stay away from cancelling anything that provides you a financial safety net. This includes auto insurance, college renters insurance, student health insurance, money management apps (that you’re actually using), and more.

In this article, we are speaking more towards those pesky recurring payments for products and companies you once desired. As Marie Kondo, the author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, would say, “Does it spark joy in your life?” Follow these simple steps to de-clutter your recurring monthly charges.

Step One: Check Your Apple ID Subscriptions

Whether it’s a trivia app or bird-slinging game, everyone has their kryptonite that will make them pay $1.99/mo. for extra lives. You can check your subscriptions by going to settings > your name > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > view Apple ID > subscriptions.

Step Two: Check Your Entertainment Subscriptions

Notice your monthly streaming subscription hike up in price? Chances are you signed up for a free trial of an added perk and never thought to cancel it. Make sure to think about audiobooks, unlimited eBooks, and music as well.

Step Three: Check Your Online Shopping Subscriptions

When you have a monthly or annual membership fee from an online store for discounted products or free shipping, calculate its worth. Habits change. Perhaps you moved off campus and closer to a grocery store. Many companies will even offer you an incentive to keep the service, thereby lowering it and still saving you money. Some offer student discounts. Make sure you take advantage of these discounts while you still can!

Step Four: Check Your Bank Statements

Now that you’ve cleaned out your online subscriptions, print out two months’ worth of bank statements and highlight the charges you see occur twice. If you don’t recognize a charge, research what the company it is. Was this a free trial you forgot to cancel? Should you keep that gym membership, or use on-campus resources?

It is important to scrub through your financials on a regular basis to ensure that you did not forget to cancel a service you no longer need. Doing so will help you grow closer to achieving your financial goals.

At GradGuard, we know there are some subscriptions that we aren’t ready to give up. One thing that we all subscribe to is the value of protecting ourselves with insurance. It may not give us four hours of Friends repeats, but it does protect the TV that streams it.

Other Student Life

Friendsgiving 101: A step-by-step guide to hosting

November 21, 2018

With spooky season behind you and cozy season upon you, it’s time to remind your besties how thankful you are to have them in your life. What better way to practice gratitude towards your friends than with Friendsgiving? Whether your feast is inspired by Pinterest or a host of different family traditions, your friends will be sure to indulge. Pour yourself a cup of hot apple cider and start planning your very own Friendsgiving with these simple steps.

Step One: Create a Facebook Event

Weeks prior to Friendsgiving, send out a Facebook event invite. This allows for a guesstimated headcount. Be sure to plan the time around college football or NFL games for the fans among us. If you are in an apartment complex with a community center, be sure to reserve it in advance as it can fill up around the holidays.  Remind your friends to secure a designated driver or take an Uber or Lyft if they plan on having libations.

Step Two: Make a Google Sheet to coordinate dishes

Seven bowls of mashed potatoes? Let’s hope someone remembered to bring the gravy.

Avoid duplicated dishes by creating a Google Sheet. Divide the sheet into categories and provide staple dishes with corresponding columns for guests to claim the dish with their name. Share this by providing the link in your Facebook event summary.

Step Three: Prepare 

A college budget doesn’t put Friendsgiving off limits. Stores like the 99 cents only and dollar tree have plenty of utensils fit for a crowd. Feeling green? Encourage your guests to bring their own glass containers for leftovers and reusable utensils like these that GradGuard hands out at conferences.

Be sure to empty out your fridge to make room for all of the dishes. Make note of how long each dish will need to heat up and where it can be heated (oven, stovetop, or microwave). Set up stations for appetizers and drinks, the main feast, and dessert. Designate bins for trash and recycle.

Step Four: Clearly label the turducken from the vegducken

It’s not uncommon these days to transform Grandma’s classic green-bean casserole into a vegan-friendly recipe. When your guests arrive with their dish, hand them an allergen card. Here they can label the name of the dish and they can circle if its considered gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, or nut-free.

Step Five: Give thanks

Once all of your guests are seated with a mountain of food in front of them, it’s time for a toast. Remind your friends how grateful you are for having each one of them in your life. Give a cheers to the midterms being behind you and wish your friends luck in the remainder of the semester. They may think it’s corny, but have each person go around and say one thing about your collective friendship that they are most thankful for.

Step Six: Send your guests away with leftovers 

After everyone has loosened their belts a notch, have them get in line for one last round to fill their containers with leftovers until the pans are empty. Offer to clean the pan there or set a reminder to bring it back to them next time you see them.

GradGuard’s employees celebrate the company of one-another each year during a Friendsgiving with their sister company Bindable. From a Bindable Agent’s famous butterscotch bread to GradGuard QA Manager’s mac and cheese, the feast is an event to look forward to. We encourage you to bring Friendsgiving to your university dorm room or internship office, too!

Other Student Life

5 Books Every College Student Should Read

September 10, 2018

As college students, we all have plenty of reading and schoolwork to do. But sometimes you need to relax with a good book that you don’t have to pick apart and write seven-page papers about. You might not have time to go browsing at a bookstore, so you should know about the essentials. Below is a list of five books that every college student should read at some point in their educational career.

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This has been in the news a lot recently, as the film adaptation starring Emma Watson and Logan Lerman was just released a couple months ago. But this book, written in 1999, is a great coming of age tale. It follows Charlie, a shy, troubled boy, as he attempts to make his way through his first year of high school. It’s a poignant book and a modern-day classic. If you missed reading it when you were younger, definitely take the time to read it now.

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Adulting Other

Mini-Fridge, Mini Resolutions

February 14, 2018

New Year’s resolutions are hard enough as it is. As we are nearing mid-February, resolutions are beginning to diminish from to-do lists. With the temptation of those tantalizingly sweet pastries in the campus coffee shops, it is even harder to stay on track. It is time to take matters your own hands. There is no excuse to slip up if you create a mini fridge worthy of its own Instagram following. Here are some tips and tricks to maximize your mini fridge potential:

If You Share Your Mini Fridge, Shop with Your Roommate 

Sticking to a resolution requires support. If your roomie is not on board with your newfound goal, it is going to be that much harder to stick to it. Make sure to shop together with a clear mindset of how much room you have to share. Defining shared items will not only help you save on your grocery bill but free up additional room in such a confined space.  Do not allow temptation to cause you to delve into your roommate’s snack stash. Not cool.

Organize Your Mini Fridge

Organization doesn’t need to cost a dime. The surface area of your food can be diminished by:

  • Pre-chopping vegetables
  • Combining fruits together with a splash of lime juice
  • Prepackaging alternative cheese + deli meat for quick sandwiches
  • Keeping your soft drinks out of the fridge if you have an ice machine

Non-perishable Items are Your Best Friend

Keep non-perishable items in an organizer underneath your bed or next to the mini fridge. Great examples include microwaveable whole-grain rice, breakfast grains, soups, pasta, nut-butters, canned veggies, canned tuna and beans. Luckily these are some of the cheapest foods in the grocery stores.

The Dorm Kitchen Isn’t as Scary As It Seems

Have those pots and pans been in there since 2008? Probably, but that shouldn’t deter you from attempting your newfound cooking skills from those late-night Food Network binges. If you are lucky enough to have a communal kitchen in your dorm, utilize it!

As for those questionable pans, we would recommend investing in a silicone muffin pan. Not only will save you the calories from oil, you will minimize clean-up efforts. Your muffin pan options are endless: egg muffins, breakfast bites, banana bread, and frozen smoothie discs! All will be compact and easily stored in a mini fridge.

As easy as the Food Network makes it look, baking is a science that can be harder than Chem 101. Sites like Youtube and Tastemade give visual step-by-step guides on thousands of recipes. Worried about causing a catastrophe at your first attempt at the art of baking or frying food? That is why many universities recommend GradGuard to protect your liability in the event of an unforeseen accident.