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Adapting to the New Normal: What College Will Look Like in 2021

November 23, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and forced colleges to change their approach to education. In-person classes would put both teachers and students at risk of catching the virus, so a lot of colleges had to switch to remote teaching. It seems that we will have to stick to remote learning for the coming year as pharmaceuticals still race to create a vaccine for the virus. You can expect colleges to adapt to different ways of holding classes, add new tasks for educators, and introduce new rules as they navigate growing challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Hybrid Learning

Many colleges have announced that they will continue to conduct classes virtually, especially as the number of cases continues to grow. However, once the vaccine for COVID-19 hits the market, you can expect them to adopt a hybrid model of learning. This model is a mix of in-person and virtual classes.

It will be a challenge at first for colleges to return back to only in-person classes. They will most likely have to ensure that all students on campus have been vaccinated – a reason why many institutions might not go back to the usual ways of teaching immediately. Some of the colleges and universities have already started using the hybrid model of learning in the fall of 2020, and the number of them will only grow next year, since experts predict the COVID-19 vaccine should be available mid-2021.

More one-on-one time with educators

Lecturers will likely be expected to put in extra time with virtual office hours to make up for the lack of in-person classes. Switching to remote learning has not been easy for students. There are many distractions online that can get in the way of learning during a virtual class, which means lecturers will have to put in more effort to keep students engaged and, at times, even dedicate more of their own time to one-on-one sessions with students, to gauge how much they have learned and if they need any additional help.

This of course will not be easy for lecturers to do, so it will be interesting to see the role of the college administration to hold them accountable and motivate them to invest even more time in their students.

Precautions like never before

In the scenario that a vaccine is made public and colleges go back to in-person classes only, there will probably have to be extreme precautions, some of which we have seen being applied throughout 2020. You can expect the number of students per class to stay trimmed down, so they can be socially distanced inside the classrooms. Everyone will be asked to wear a mask and limit physical contact. Colleges will also need to improve their medical centers to ensure they can respond to any major outbreaks that may arise.

Precautions will not only be limited to the classrooms. Libraries, dorms, and other spaces on campus will adopt precautions to ensure students, faculty, and other employees on campus are safe.

Like most industries, colleges continue to adapt to the changing circumstances of the pandemic. Until COVID-19 is controlled, you can expect colleges to stick to remote learning with limited, if at all, face to face interaction between faculty and students. 2021 hopes to bring some light with many hopeful that a vaccine will be introduced soon. But only time will tell.

BIO: With years of experience as a content strategist and creator, Anita Sambol has a ‘super-power’ of being a clear human voice for brands when talking to their audience. One of the projects she currently enjoys the most is being a content associate to EU Business School, where she’s also including her own experience from student and business life.

Health

Bloomberg: Tuition Insurance Sounds Great, Unless it Doesn’t Cover Covid-19

November 16, 2020

As Covid-19 outbreaks continue to pop up nationwide, college campuses are no exemption. Naturally, college parents are anxious about their kids’ health. Olivia Raimonde, Janet Wu and Katherine Chiglinsky took a deep dive for Bloomberg into the health and financial worries of Covid-19 and college.

The feature, ‘Tuition Insurance Sounds Great, Unless It Doesn’t Cover Covid-19’ includes an interview with a GradGuard member, Marcy Fischer, about her decision to send her daughter to Emory University with Tuition Insurance. Covering her daughter’s tuition and off-campus lease comes to about $30,000 per semester.

“You know, if they just get sent home from school and go virtual, that’s one thing,” Fischer, who lives in Massachusetts, told Bloomberg. “But if they were to get sick and have to withdraw from university for the semester, we’d be out that money.”

To cover the risk of losing tens of thousands of dollars, Fischer bought a tuition insurance plan from GradGuard, she told Bloomberg. The plan can cover what would have been otherwise lost tuition expenses and other fees if a student is too sick to finish the semester.

Atlanta-based Emory University is one of the nearly 400 colleges and universities that partner with GradGuard to offer college students and their families the best rate and coverage for tuition insurance. Fischer was able to protect a semester’s worth of expenses, $30,000, for around $300. Any student attending a four-year non-profit college or university can purchase a policy, however, the policies are underwritten by Allianz Global Assistance and are more costly if purchased directly online.    

Interest in tuition insurance has jumped significantly over the year, as the pandemic made the financial risk of college even more apparent, according to John Fees, CEO of GradGuard.

“Families are more aware than ever before of the risks of paying for college,” Fees said.

Epidemics and pandemics are typically excluded from GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance coverage. However, until further notice, GradGuard is choosing to accommodate claims for students who completely withdraw from school due to becoming ill with Covid.

In addition to Covid, Bloomberg goes on to explain that tuition insurance can also cover withdrawals due to other types of illness, including mental health conditions.

But it’s important to note that tuition insurance won’t cover costs if a school moves from in-person classes to online-only learning.

“It’s a medical withdrawal, not a change in how schools teach,” Fees said. “It’s not a business interruption insurance.”

GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance is an affordable way for college students and families to protect what’s often the second-largest investment in their lives. Covid outbreaks on college campuses highlight further proof of how costly it can be for these families when a student is forced to withdraw.

Health

A Healthy Student Is a Successful Student

October 23, 2020
The importance of your mental and physical health in college

Physical and mental health are just as important as academic achievement when you’re a college student. Considering the health crisis that our world is currently in, college students should realize the importance of good health and how it can impact their academic performance. Here are some ways to make sure you’re staying healthy.

Mental Health and Academic Performance


Many college students can probably recall a time in which they underestimated the impact of mental health and clarity when it comes to their academic performance. While many college goers focus heavily on making good grades, often times, this includes pulling all-nighters to study and finish big assignments and not participating in other activities outside of school. What they don’t realize is how these elements could potentially hurt their grades rather than helping them to succeed. Implementing these habits will add on unnecessary stress in the long run and make it harder to focus on your assignments, which may result in unsatisfactory academic performance.

Perfection isn’t always possible

Remember that it’s okay to miss a few points on an assignment or exam. What’s important is that you completed the work to the best of your ability and made sure to include all pieces of information your professor or instructor requested.

Utilize a calendar

Use a calendar or planner to keep track of your daily tasks, assignments, and exams. Many of the phones and computers that students use today have apps with the ability to track and manage their schedules and set reminders. Write down what the assignment is, its due date, and when you plan to have it completed. If possible, always try to complete an assignment before its due date, just in case any last minute changes need to be made.

Don’t skimp on sleep

Rest! Getting the proper amount of sleep as a college student is crucial. With the help of a calendar or planner to track your assignments, you’ll find that those all-nighters and late night study sessions will become few and far between.

Make time for friends and get involved in extra activities outside of class. Having a great group of reliable friends throughout college is more beneficial than you may think. Take time to enjoy things you like to do, meet new people, and get involved in campus clubs or activities.

Physical Health and Academic Performance


For most students, being away from home for the first time can pose a challenge in making sure their physical health is a priority. If you’re not taking care of yourself, your academic performance may begin to decline. One of the most relevant challenges in regards to physical health as a college student is eating habits. Chances are, there aren’t many healthy options on college campuses when it comes to dining. Another challenge college students often face is finding time to exercise and stay active.

Choose healthy options

This may seem easier said than done considering that many college campuses do not offer a variety of healthy options. Lighter snacks and meals will help keep you focused and ready to learn. Sometimes eating heavier meals throughout the day will cause fatigue and make it harder for you to focus.

Move your body

Find time to get active and exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours in the gym everyday. Students can stay active by taking walks around campus, spending a half hour in the gym on different days throughout the week, and maybe getting involved in sports teams or clubs on campus.

Look good, feel good!

Take a few extra moments in the morning before class to make sure you look presentable, rather than rolling out of bed and showing up to your lecture in the same clothes you fell asleep in the night before. Getting ready will you give you an extra boost of confidence!

When you’re in college, it’s up to you to take care of your mental and physical well-being. Start with small changes in your everyday life and see how you feel.

Health

Healthcare Financing Resources for Low-Income College Students

September 21, 2020

Let’s face it: learning is its own reward, yes. But you’re in college primarily to build a better life for yourself and your family. You might be getting your education to escape the life of struggle that you have watched your parents endure.

But building a better life ain’t cheap. And, right now, what money you have goes mainly to school and to the essentials of living. Ponying up for private health insurance might feel like a luxury you can’t afford right now. 

Yet without that coverage, you’re also probably tempted to let your regular healthcare fall by the wayside. After all, you’re young and your physical and mental health care just might not feel like a priority right now. That is, not until you really need it. 

This article shows you how to finance your healthcare when you’re a college student living on a budget.

Know Your Options

When you’re looking to finance your healthcare, the first thing you should do is explore your eligibility for coverage under your family’s plan or through your university health system. In many cases, full-time college students can qualify for coverage under a parent’s group health insurance plan up to the age of 26.

If that doesn’t work out, you might be eligible for lower-cost student health insurance coverage through your college, university, or trade school. The chances are especially good if you enroll in a work-study program through your school.

Don’t Forget the Marketplace or Medicaid

If it turns out you are not eligible for coverage under your parents’ or school’s plan, don’t despair. There are still options. For example, depending on your income, you might qualify for Medicaid, which will allow you to enjoy good benefits at a relatively low monthly premium. 

The maximum income cutoffs for Medicaid, however, can be pretty stringent. If you’re above the threshold but still don’t earn enough to bear the often ridiculous costs of private insurance, you might be able to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

With the ACA, the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from nearly 16% to just over 9%. Through the Marketplace, you can choose the level of coverage you want or need — and the premiums you can afford.

Don’t Forget the “Extras”

Getting good healthcare is about more than funding your medical care. It’s also about taking care of the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.  And that should include everything from mental healthcare to dental care. 

After all, life is stressful, and going to college on a shoestring budget is especially so. But getting care doesn’t have to be expensive. Case in point: you have a lot of options today for accessing low-cost therapy. This includes online therapy apps to help you access immediate, on-demand support from the safety of your own home if you are battling anxiety or depression.

And while you’re taking care of your body and your mind, you mustn’t forget your smile! Living on a budget doesn’t mean you have to put off your dental care. Even if you’re in need of a non-essential or cosmetic procedure, such as a crown or veneer, there are funding options that don’t require you to break the bank.

If you set up a budget and cut out some of the extras you’re spending on unnecessary fees or on little luxuries, like your morning coffee run, you can probably cover the cost of your new smile or your other healthcare services pretty easily.

The Takeaway

Going to college on a shoestring budget is tough. But it doesn’t mean you have to do without the physical, mental, and dental healthcare you deserve. From finding coverage through your school to tapping the resources of the ACA to taking advantage of online therapy apps and dental financing, there are options available to ensure you receive the care you need.

Health

Health Preparedness Tips for On-Campus Life

September 3, 2020

When you’re in college, living on campus can feel like a right of passage. It’s a great time to gain independence, have fun, and develop friendships you’ll have for a lifetime while enjoying the convenience and benefits of living where you go to school. 

Unfortunately, campus life looks a bit different this year. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges across the country have suspended in-person classes and have required students to leave campus. 

Some schools have closed their doors temporarily, while others will be shut down for on-campus living for the remainder of the school year. While the goal of the shutdown and the encouragement for social isolation is to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus spread, it can be a difficult transition. You must head home or go somewhere else for now. 

Whether you return to campus before the school year is over or you’ll be back next semester once things calm down, this is a good time to reflect on your health and wellness and what you can do to keep yourself safe, strong, and healthy. 

Managing Your Mental Health

Mental health is one of the biggest concerns facing college students today. Since many students across the country are being forced to stay home, issues like anxiety and depression are becoming more prevalent. 

Making your mental health a priority is a key factor to get you through this pandemic, but it’s also important when you return to campus. While college is an exciting and fun experience, it can also be overwhelming at times. Learning how to manage your stress levels can prevent you from getting sick. 

There are simple, everyday habits you can start to reduce stress: 

  • Get more sleep
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Talk to someone about your stress
  • Manage your time
  • Meditation/Yoga
  • Keep a journal

You can keep up with those habits as you get back to school and use them for the rest of your life to manage stress..

If your current stressor is being stuck at home, online learning might feel like your biggest hurdle. If you’re trying to adjust to online learning and having a difficult time, there are a few tips to make the experience less stressful: 

  • Create a designated learning space
  • Stick to specific hours of the day to study
  • Avoid distractions
  • Set personal goals

Give yourself permission to stumble. This is a learning experience for everyone and a time of great uncertainty. Don’t put pressure on yourself, and eventually, things will begin to fall into place and feel less stressful. 

Developing Healthy Habits Now

Exercising is a great way to stay healthy when stuck at home. Thankfully, there are no rules or regulations in place about going for a run outside or working out at home. 

Exercise can give you more energy, boost your mood, and reduce stress. Get into a daily routine that you can keep doing once you get back to campus. Adding a workout to your day has many benefits and can keep you focused when you’re back in school. 

It’s also a good idea to watch your diet while away from campus. It’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits when convenience food is so easy to come by, and apps like GrubHub and Postmates will deliver food right to your door. Making healthy nutritional choices will improve your mood and energy levels and lower your risk of illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. 

Being stuck at home means it’s the perfect time to brush up on your cooking skills! Practice making healthy meals for yourself that could be made in a dorm room or communal kitchen. Making quick, easy meals that are also good for you will keep you motivated when it comes to making healthier food choices on campus. 

Reducing Your Risks

The Coronavirus can impact anyone, but it’s most deadly among those with pre-existing conditions or with lung and respiratory issues like those who regularly smoke or vape. Vaping has become hugely popular across the country, but the chemicals in many vape solutions can cause serious lung problems. 

Smoking has also been a health concern for years. It can contribute to lung cancer and heart disease. With the spread of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to quit cigarettes and vape pens. Keeping your lungs healthy and clear will reduce your risk of being seriously impacted by Coronavirus if you happen to contract it. 

Developing healthy habits and staying away from vaping and cigarettes will help you build a  strong immune system, which, in turn, will help you combat the disease. This is why it’s so important to keep these tips for general health and wellness in mind. Now is the time to start taking your health seriously so you can make better choices for your mind and body. Starting these habits now will make them easier for you to stick with once you’re back on campus. 

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Health

How To Make Connections in the Era of Covid-19

August 1, 2020

It is no surprise that in the face of Covid-19, countless changes have had to be made to maintain the goals of the different facets of university life. Changes of learning, changes in teaching and most importantly, changes in community are being formed to better supplement the lack of in person connection. 

In all of this chaos, especially for students entering college for the first time, meeting people and finding friends can feel like an impossible task but luckily there are ways to quickly and effectively not just meet, but actually connect with others. 

Find Gateways

The first way is not a destination but more of the first steps and gateways that can lead to the end goal and these are the school sponsored or facilitated conversations. These can take the form of a discussion on Canvas, a school sponsored app like ZeeMee or in the classes themselves. While the conversations within these settings are most often stale, they provide an area where you can meet people and then form separate group chats aside from that. 

Social Media

The second area of importance are the various social media platforms available. Things such as finding roommates by going to instagram and looking for people that are the same year and college as you, snapchat group chats, twitter, or reddit, the possibilities on these sites have the doors, you just need to open them. 

Make Yourself Accessible

The third way is the thing that people get wrong most often and that is because they forget that they need to make themselves easier to find as well. Hardly anyone has a large group of friends going into a University so by making yourself easier to find on any of the mediums above, and doing things like listing or showing your interests will help others that are in the same position find you.

At the end of the day, all it takes is some effort and information to be able to make friends easily and quickly in this unknown environment so while this post is meant to help students with the information, it is only half of the solution to solve this complex problem students are facing. 

Health

Managing Your Mental Health in College

July 22, 2020

Mental health is becoming an increasingly big issue on college campuses. Many students struggle with the change and stress of college life. It can be valuable to investigate what you can do for your mental wellbeing. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is important to seek out resources available to you.

Here are some ways that you can better manage your mental health in college:

  • Visit your school’s counseling center

If you are having mental health concerns, you can always contact your school’s counseling services. Many schools provide free counseling or counseling at a reasonable rate. They can help you talk through whatever is troubling you or refer you to psychiatric services if needed. 

  • Utilize online resources

There are many resources available online to help you learn more about mental health and obtain support. U Lifeline, a project of the JED Foundation provides valuable support tailored to college students. Their website offers both resources and a helpline. Their website also provides a screener for students to evaluate their mental health and access their school’s resources. 

  • Practice meditation and exercise regularly

Meditation is a great way to center yourself and improve your mental health. It can be helpful to have tools that you can implement when you feel overwhelmed such as taking a few minutes to breathe or going for a quick run. 

  • Reach out to your loved ones

If you are struggling, take time to reach out to your support network. This can be Facetime with your family at home or even talking with new friends from college. Staying connected with others and communicating your feelings can relieve stress and prevent loneliness. 

  • Take time for yourself

When your calendar is filled with schoolwork and social events, it can be hard to find time to be by yourself. Set aside some time to be alone and recharge. You can go for a walk or go to a coffee shop and just take time to relax and reflect.

These are just a few suggestions on how to manage your mental health in college. You can find what works best for you and your experience. Find out what resources are available to you through your school and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Health Other

How Being Eco-Friendly at College Can Save You Money

July 10, 2020

Embracing a greener lifestyle is a great way to improve your carbon footprint and help leave a positive impact on the world. But did you know that it can actually save you money, too? Here are some easy ways you can benefit financially from a more eco-friendly college experience

Avoid Single-Use Anything

If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch the plastic water bottles and to-go coffee cups and opt for a more sustainable option. Every single minute, the world uses one million plastic water bottles, so do what you can to help cut back on that. Take it a step further with reusable grocery bags and avoiding disposable utensils.

Temperature Control

One of your sneakiest expenses can be hiding in your utility bills. Bouncing back and forth between temperatures can be costly, as well as bad for the environment. During warmer months, you’ll probably be tempted to crank the AC in order to stay cool. Instead of turning down the thermostat, you can keep your room cool without using as much energy by getting blackout curtains. You should also make sure that you’re only turning the light when you’re in the room and need it on. Check your air vents, or talk to your landlord or property manager, to make sure they don’t have any dust or debris buildup that could hinder your home’s cooling efficiency. 

Go Digital

Instead of taking notes on paper, try using your laptop or tablet instead. Not only will this save paper, but you’ll be spending less on notebooks and pens. You can even voice record your lectures and listen to them later on. 

Change Your Commute

Consider riding your bike to work. Not only will you incorporate a fun workout into your day, but you’ll also be helping to relieve stress. It can also help you save money on transportation expenses like gas and auto maintenance. If a bike ride doesn’t work for you, look into other options like carpooling or taking public transportation.

Re-think Your Textbooks

Tired of expensive textbooks that you’ll never use beyond that one course? Look into used book options! Many websites and local bookstores offer buy-back programs on previously-used books. Not only will this help you save money in the beginning, but it also gives you the potential to earn money back once you’re done with it. Another great option is to use digital versions of textbooks. Oftentimes you can buy downloadable copies right from the publisher, for pennies on the dollar of what the paper textbook would cost. An added perk? Many of these include updated annotations or dictation, so you can better follow and understand the content as you go. 

Get Thrifty

Why pay full price on anything when you can get great items for a fraction of the cost? Whether you’re looking for a quirky piece of furniture or new clothing, you can find just about anything in thrift stores if you look hard enough. 

Turn it Off

Turning off or unplugging electronics that you’re no longer using is one of the easiest ways to curb your use of power. Hit the lights when you leave a room, and unplug chargers when you’re done using them. Then take it one step further and cut back on your water usage while you shower, brush your teeth, or do the dishes.

Working towards a greener lifestyle doesn’t have to be an overnight thing. It’s a process, and it’s okay to take as much time as you need to ease into it. Making small changes through the day can lead to lasting effects down the line that your planet, and wallet, will thank you for. 

Health Other

How To Incorporate Meditation Into Your Routine

July 2, 2020

Meditation is a great tool that allows students to destress and integrate moments of stillness into their everyday routines. It may feel intimidating to start a meditation practice, but you do not need to meditate for long periods of time or have a completely blank mind to be meditating correctly. Meditation can become a part of your day in subtle ways that will make a big difference. Here are some examples of ways you can integrate meditation into your daily routine. 

  1. Meditation Apps

If you have an interest in meditation you have likely heard of apps such as Headspace and Calm. These apps provide both short and longer meditations that will meet you where you are comfortable. Guided meditation is used by both new and seasoned meditators. It can be helpful to be guided through the process of meditation to maximize the time you are setting aside. 

  1. Enjoy your food

Mediation is not all about breathing. You are able to find mindfulness when setting aside time to be present and engage your senses. The time you spend eating can be utilized to create a moment of stillness in your routine. If you set aside a moment to eat one of your meals alone without any distractions you can more fully focus on the taste of what you are eating. 

  1. Take time to breathe during your chores

As a busy student, you may not have time to set aside time for meditation. A lack of time does not have to stop you from starting a meditation practice. You can meditate in simple ways like when you are walking to your next class, when you are doing the dishes, or even brushing your teeth. As long as you are being mindful of your task, there are so many possibilities for moments of meditation.

  1. Listen to music

Music can have a great impact on your state of mind. It can be valuable to take time to listen to soothing music and calm yourself. If you are feeling anxious over an upcoming exam or any other troubles, listening to music can quickly help to regulate your mood. 

  1. Mindful exercise 

Exercise is a great way to put aside time to center yourself and get in touch with your body and mind. Yoga is one form of exercise that emphasizes focusing on breath and stillness. Other forms of exercise such as strength training and cardio also include a focus on the breath and your body’s movement. You can also see what fitness resources are available at your school. There are also many virtual workouts available for free on apps such as Nike Training Club and on youtube. 

Meditation does not need to feel unattainable. You do not need to go all-in and meditate for 30 minutes away in total silence. Small moments of mindfulness add up and can improve your overall well being. Life as a student can be overwhelming so it is important to know the best ways for you to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. 

Health Other

These four common medical conditions affect thousands of college students

June 26, 2020
Student medical conditions on the rise

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of college students across the country to adjust to online-only learning. Although the virus has disrupted classroom instruction, the reality is that every year, ordinary medical conditions lead to students leaving school and losing money. And we’re not talking about having the common cold, or making a trip to the on-campus health clinic. These medical conditions are proving to have a major impact on students nationwide.

The 2019 National Student Health Assessment from the American College Health Association data reveals some of the risks that college students and their families face today. As we all adjust in the time of COVID-19, you can see the common illnesses that have a big impact on students. The assessment surveyed more than 30,000 students across 58 different schools.

Common illnesses have a big impact on college completion

The most commonly reported illnesses that had an impact on completing a degree include concussion, mononucleosis (mono), pneumonia, and flu or flu-like illnesses.

student health conditions and academic progress

During a normal semester, most schools provide a pro-rated refund through the fifth week of classes, according to a national study from Dec. 2019. This same study reports that 70 percent of schools have reported a growth in student medical withdrawals.

The ACHA assessment confirms the scale and impact of health conditions on college completion is real. The calculations are based on a total of 8.16 million full-time undergraduate students attending four-year non-profit institutions. 

These four conditions that students report delayed their academic progress are estimated to have cost students and schools more than $1 billion annually! And that’s from preventable financial losses.

Health conditions may lead to an unexpected withdrawal

The ACHA data reveals other student health conditions that may also disrupt an academic term or lead to an unexpected student withdrawal. Nearly a quarter of students reported experiencing anxiety, followed by just under 20 percent reporting depression. Celiac disease, PTSD, eating disorders and bipolar disorder followed. 

If you’re experiencing one of these health conditions while in college, you should know that that there are resources to help you get back on track to complete your education. GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance can provide refunds for tuition and academic fees if you unexpectedly need to leave school for a covered reason.