Tagged in student success


Empowering Students Through On-Campus Financial Literacy

April 9, 2018


In spite of having some of the best colleges in the world, the United States still falls short when it comes to financial literacy, ranking 14th behind other developed nations. 30% of adults with a mortgage in the United States are unable to perform basic interest calculations on their loan payments and only five states require high school students to take a stand-alone personal finance course. Colleges and universities have stepped up to address this need and more institutions are providing their students with on-campus financial literacy courses. If your school doesn’t yet offer this added service to its student body, there are powerful arguments in favor of doing so.

  1. Reduce your default and delinquency rates

Students who understand personal finance and how to manage their money are far less likely to let their obligations slide. A student with a reasonable budget and understanding of loan terms will build their repayments into their monthly expenses. This, in turn, helps your students be more confident and knowledgeable about tackling their loans post-graduation.

  1. The student debt landscape is constantly changing

College costs continue to grow, and there aren’t many signs that growth is slowing. Moreover, as the Perkins loan program comes to a close, more students will likely turn to a patchwork of private loans to fund their education, each with different repayment terms. This means it’s more vital than ever for students to be prepared to manage their obligations once they finish their schooling. Students must understand before they sign the promissory note how each loan will impact their future and how – or if – they can afford it.

  1. Reinforces the idea that your students matter to you

In the crowded marketplace, having a differentiator like an on-campus financial literacy course can separate your school from others competing for a student’s attention. Offering extensive but practical financial literacy resources tells your students that their institution is doing everything it can to get them ready for the real world. Financially literate students are more likely to not only pay off their debts, but also establish long-term goals, like saving for a home or a comfortable retirement.

As you contemplate how on-campus financial literacy courses will best meet your students’ needs, keep this in mind: the classes you offer must be comprehensive to be effective. The most common criticism of personal finance courses is that they simply go over terms of the loan or student financial agreement, rather than providing real-world understanding of money management. To be useful, your financial literacy course must examine everyday financial issues, like creating and balancing a budget, managing a line of credit, and protecting their credit bureau scores.

Unpacking the reasons for our country’s lack of financial literacy can be challenging and solving the issue will take time. But the arguments in favor of addressing it are undeniable. Improving your students’ financial literacy has a profound impact on their ability to become successful, self-sufficient adults.


Featured Image: Shutterstock / Iryna Tiumentseva

How Student Call Centers Benefit Busy Campus Departments

March 16, 2018


Generation Z is the most connected generation yet. From ride sharing to grocery delivery to streaming media, today’s students expect prompt results and top-notch customer service. In an effort to stay on top of this trend, many schools are turning to student call centers as solutions to strengthen their outreach, recruiting, and retention metrics. Some elect to create a call center in-house, staffed with students or entry-level employees, while others seek out third-party solutions. So what advantages do student call centers offer busy universities?

  1. Improved customer service

Having personnel who are dedicated to helping your students is the surest way to offer a top-notch experience. Providing a list of frequently asked questions with their answers not only helps a student call center representative rapidly deliver information to the student, but also streamlines your operations by reducing confusion from the get-go. When your calls are handled by trained professionals who understand the nuances of customer service, rather than employees who are managing other duties as well, student satisfaction levels will inevitably rise.

  1. Managing seasonal peaks and valleys

A successful student call center understands and scales to meet the seasonally driven fluctuations in volume. Busy periods, such as admissions, add/drop, and financial aid deadlines can be challenging to your already overloaded staff. Transferring those time-consuming calls to a call center that’s in place and ready to go before the deluge starts lets your people focus on the tasks essential to their roles. It also means that your students – who themselves may be stressed out during these busy periods – are assisted by friendly professionals whose only job is to help them find the information they need, and quickly.

  1. Increased flexibility

Dedicated student call centers can increase campus departments’ overall flexibility. For example: let’s say you have several dozen students who are eligible for a tuition discount from their employer, but the deadline for applying for the discount is rapidly approaching. A short-term calling campaign can reach out to the qualifying students and help them complete the necessary paperwork. This “extra-mile” effort can make a difference in retaining students from underserved populations, who often have to balance a full-time job on top of their studies.

The importance of connecting with your students in meaningful, effective ways cannot be overstated. Students who feel valued and respected by their institution are more apt to succeed in their classes and achieve the degree they’re aiming for. Your student call center is the face of your institution, and when those representatives model respect and trust in their communications, your students are more far more likely to respect and trust their school.


4 Student Collections Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

February 27, 2018


In a perfect world, no account would go to collections. Students would pay off their debts on time and in full and graduate with a clean slate. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that perfect word, and student debt is one of the most pressing issues facing our nation. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans now have more than $1.4 trillion in unpaid education debt, and bursars’ offices are working to find ways to reverse that trend. Here are four student collections warning signs to look for in your students that can indicate they’re headed in the wrong direction.

  1. Consistently late payments

One of the first things that happens when a student starts to fall behind on their obligation is the payments they make are consistently late. While these students pay their bills, they do so well after the due date, often without realizing how much this can drain their resources. This can be an indicator that they are not prioritizing this bill in favor of other options. It’s important to reach out to these students to remind them that paying their bills on time will help them graduate with little to no debt as they start their new lives. Outsourcing early delinquencies, combined with offering financial literacy resources, could help your school and your students see both short- and long-term gains.

  1. Drop off in communication

Another warning sign that they’re sliding towards student collections is a drop in communication. Students stop answering phone calls, are unresponsive to letters, and are generally trying to avoid an increasingly uncomfortable situation. When this happens, it’s time to get creative. Text outreach programs allow schools to easily contact batches of students ahead of due dates. Email is another viable solution. Often, that personalized communication can make the difference between an account falling into delinquency and one that stays current.

  1. Contingent / broken promises

Make sure to watch out for contingent or broken promises. This usually comes from students who want to pay their bill but lack the immediate means to do so. Contingent promises – “I’ll pay you when I get paid next week” – often lead to broken promises, which lead to delinquency. When making payment arrangements with a student, deal in specifics—how much they’ll pay and when. Offer to call them when the contingency has passed. Stay in close communication to increase the chances they’ll keep their word.

  1. Weird excuses for non-payment

This is the billing equivalent of “the dog ate my homework!” While the unexpected can certainly delay a payment here or there, pay attention to students who make a habit of making excuses for paying their bill late time after time. Debt is a difficult thing to deal with and students – particularly younger students who are still getting the hang of adult responsibilities – may sometimes shy away from that uncomfortable obligation. Take a consultative approach. Help your students understand the seriousness of debt and why they should want to avoid being sent to collections.

Schools that include financial literacy resources, coupled with a personalized, multi-pronged outreach to their students, are not only helping them avoid collections but also are better equipping them to thrive in the real world. While there isn’t a magic bullet that will prevent every account delinquency, taking these proactive steps help guide a lot of students away from collections, allowing them to focus on their studies and ensure their long-term success.