In an economy plagued by historic inflation, colleges and universities around the country have yet again been forced to announce tuition hikes. According to Forbes, America’s top 20 colleges and universities will increase cost of attendance by a median of 3.7 percent next academic year. This comes after 77 percent of colleges and universities raised their tuition in 2021.
While increased tuition is no new issue—student debt has more than doubled in the last 12 years—it continues to be top of mind for families already feeling the squeeze of rising costs for everything from food to gas to healthcare. That’s why it’s so important for college administrators to consider ways to help families manage these rising costs, especially for quality higher education.
Here’s how your administration can help ease the financial burden facing the families of your current and prospective students:
Encourage parents to consider a Student Health Insurance Plan
Many parents choose to keep their college-aged children on their health insurance plan as dependents, especially while they are enrolled in school. But this decision could actually be costing parents more. In many cases, it is more cost effective to enroll their student in a Student Health Insurance Plan offered through the school or university they’re attending than to continue paying a dependency premium.
This is particularly true for out-of-state students, whose family health insurance coverage may not cover out-of-network providers. For soon-to-be empty nesters, adding their last dependent child to a Student Health Insurance Plan allows them to reduce their investment from a family plan to a person-plus-spouse plan, which in turn saves them money they can invest elsewhere.
One of the biggest (and most easily eradicated) barriers preventing parents from choosing a Student Health Insurance Plan is a lack of awareness. Consider ways to educate parents on what your school offers students and how these coverage options could be more cost effective. But first, it’s important that your administration offers healthcare coverage and campus programs that align with what students want and need. Our consultants at HORAN Campus Health can help you navigate the complexities of student health coverage plans and implement a program designed to improve the overall health and wellbeing of your students.
Limit costs to parents by providing on-site or virtual healthcare providers
Another way to help parents manage costs is to provide access to on-site or virtual healthcare providers. Out-of-network healthcare services often come with higher co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses than students may expect or anticipate. And parents certainly don’t want to discourage their children from seeking the care they need, whatever the cost. However, a Student Health Insurance Plan that covers local healthcare providers, whether that’s in the surrounding area or directly on campus, can provide students the care they need while preventing parents from paying unnecessary premiums.
Providing access to on-site or virtual healthcare providers is also an effective way to ensure students are seeking crucial physical, mental and emotional support when they need it. For many students, especially freshmen, the move to campus means unfamiliar surroundings, a limited support system, and a lack of transportation options, all of which make it less likely they’ll seek the healthcare support they need. Seeking mental health care, especially, comes with a perceived stigma that can be difficult for students to ignore. By providing a variety of ways for students to receive affordable healthcare in a convenient and discreet way, you add value both they and their parents will appreciate.
A trusted partner like HORAN Campus Health can help you determine what’s best for your campus and customize a plan that supports your goals for the community.
Strategize with a campus health consultant
When it comes to developing holistic student health strategies, it’s important to consult with an expert to ensure your plan is comprehensive and cost-effective—just as you do when designing your employee benefits program.
Consultants at HORAN Campus Health can help you reevaluate your current program and identify opportunities for improvement. They can also help you leverage existing programs designed for faculty and staff—like mental health, virtual care, and wellness or disease management programs—and reconfigure them to benefit students as well. In fact, HORAN Campus Health has saved educational institutions as much as 25 percent by negotiating on their behalf and designing programs with their specific goals and challenges in mind.
At HORAN Campus Health, we champion bold innovations and offer customized health plans, resources, and tools designed to improve the overall health and wellbeing of your students. Together, we can offer the holistic support students need to thrive on campus and succeed in life.
Do you need help developing and executing a strategy to improve student health and wellness on your campus? Visit our Campus Health webpage to fill out a simple contact form or get in touch with Chris Mihin, HORAN Campus Health Vice President and Managing Principal, at ChrisM@horanassoc.com or 800-544-8306..