Insight Newsletter
May 4, 2020
Helping You Stay Connected with Students
New Student Outreach Solution to Reduce Melt

During the changing environment, how do schools reach prospective students? What about current students experiencing job loss or hardships or those who have withdrawn? What can schools do to help students from experiencing melt?

We ask these questions because this year, melt is likely to be higher as reports suggest that one in ten high school students is reconsidering attending a four-year school. One in six is considering attending a school closer to home.

To curb those numbers, connecting with prospective, current and withdrawn students during this time is critical and although reaching them may look different today, targeted and proactive communication can help make determinations in how to shift future recruitment and outreach efforts in this current time; but who and where will you find resources for that?

Through personalized contact, integrated financial wellness and re-engagement with students, Inceptia’s Student Outreach Program may be able to help.

For additional information on reducing melt, read our research brief.


FAFSA Completion Outreach
New FAFSA Outreach to Promote Completion for Financial Aid

We share the concerns of States, Colleges, and Universities that the lack of FAFSA completion may dramatically impact students looking to enroll or already enrolled in higher education institutions. If these prospective students do not complete their FAFSA, they may not fully understand how their unique financial circumstances can be taken into consideration for financial aid. This lack of understanding could result in a tragic number of students not attending college due to financial reasons when they may very well have been able to afford it.

Inceptia wants to work with you to provide proactive outreach to students to increase the number that complete the FAFSA and help them see all the options they have available. By doing this we can help reduce financial barriers to attending school and help reduce student anxiety.

Schools can also access our free FAFSA Toolkit which provides marketing materials to help schools promote FAFSA completion.


PJ Advisor SaaS Coming Soon!

Some financial aid advocates are concerned about the ability for financial aid offices to handle the large number of appeals and get reworked packages to students in time for them to decide whether to enroll or return to campus. In an April 17, 2020, industry article, Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said “Financial aid delayed is the same as no financial aid.”

To help schools efficiently and automatically process professional judgements, we are transitioning our professional judgement platform, PJ Advisor, for SaaS delivery. PJ Advisor is a streamlined, paperless, and uncomplicated alternative to managing the growing number of requests for professional judgment.


Loan Summary Letters Help Students Manage Loans

Although loan repayment has been suspended through September, we know that teaching students how to track and manage their loans remains a critical piece of proactive repayment wellness. Loan Summary letters provide your students with the information and tools they need now to plan for evenutal repayment, and make informed borrowing choices as they continue their educational journey.


Borrower Support to Explain CARES Act Continues

Inceptia has continued to support borrowers as they navigate the challenges of understanding the CARES Act. Our Student Loan Advocate Counselors are answering questions and providing guidance to borrowers as they cut through the noise to understand their student loan obligations during COVID-19 – and it’s free. If you have a borrower needing assistance, please have them call us at 844.358.7979 or chat live: Inceptia.org/assistance.


Free Exit Counseling Toolkit

Although federal student loan payments are suspended through September, it is important that the Class of 2020 still prepare for eventual repayment. As you transition to a remote learning environment to educate and inform, Inceptia is pleased to release this collection of online Exit Counseling tools that allows campus staff and educators to connect with students who are no longer able to communicate face-to-face.


Webinars & Resources

Join our verification and student melt series.

Understanding and Combating Student Melt
Wednesday, May 13
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CT

An overview of the melt phenomenon in the midst of the pandemic, using curated research to highlight some of the root causes and issues, as well as steps we can take to raise awareness and identify strategies to help students get to and through college.

Increase Enrollment and Decrease Cost with Verification Services
Wednesday, May 20
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CT

Join us as we talk with Steve McDowell, the Director of Financial Aid services for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system, to find out how they are looking ahead to the next school session. We’ll focus in on the role verification services plays with reducing melt, staffing challenges, expense management and verification lift.

LCTCS Takes Advantage of Verification
Gateway Benefits

The LCTCS system colleges needed to keep up with the verifications but its limited staff size prevented them from doing so. With 12 colleges and different processes in place for each college, Dr. Amy Cable and the colleges wanted to outsource a solution that would consistently streamline the verification process.

Unraveling the Financial Aid Office in an
Uncertain Time

On-Demand

We talked to a panel of leading financial aid professionals from a diverse school background to find out what they were thinking about and planning for in the upcoming months as school sessions come to an end and planning for the next begins. Topics: verification, professional judgment, SAP appeals.

Verification Gateway
Virtual verification for more completed verifications, faster aid packaging and increased enrollment opportunity.


New Topics for Financial Avenue!

Based on your feedback, we have been busy creating new lesson plans for Financial Avenue. These plans provide everything you need to foster a discussion around popular financial micro topics, including a student presentation and curriculum guide with supporting resources.

Covering topics like Eating on a Budget, Women and Finance, Exit Counseling and more, these lesson plans are an exciting addition to the Financial Avenue suite. Look for these lesson plans to go live in the summer, with new topics being released throughout the rest of the year.


Financial Education Can Help Students Move Through COVID-19 Challenges

As colleges and students navigate a mass migration to online education in the wake of COVID-19, we can begin to see that some students will be more disproportionately affected than others. Low-income students, already on the precipice of academic success, will face greater hurdles to persist and thrive than their more financially stable peers. A loss of campus employment, a loss of student housing or meals plans, being forced to seek full-time employment to support family; any or all of these issues can derail even the most highly motivated yet financially fragile student.

While many schools were able to provide support services pre-pandemic to lift these students up, these supports have fallen away as campuses were forced to close. The challenge that schools face now, as defined by a recent article in The Chronicle, is …” how do you do high touch in what has suddenly become a ‘no touch’ world? How do you support the financially insecure students you have enticed to join your institutions? For students who already struggle to stay enrolled, and for the institutions who say they are committed to keeping them, the COVID-19 crisis may be a make-or-break moment.”

We believe that financial education plays a key role in helping all students succeed, but even more so for low-income students who cannot as easily overcome financial stressors. These students can benefit the most from learning how to manage finances and prepare for their financial futures, while also learning about how to handle current financial setbacks by being an informed advocate for themselves.

Inceptia can help your school support student financial wellness with Financial Avenue. Our suite of ten courses address the individual student, taking a psychological approach to how we make money choices. From covering the essentials of everyday personal financial decisions, to connecting the dots between academic performance and future financial gains, Financial Avenue is designed to support students in getting to and through college by feeling financially empowered.

To help students get started, we recommend these particular courses as an answer to many financial questions they may be facing:

  • College and Money – understand the link between your intended major, your academic performance, and the cost of college; identify different forms of aid that may be available, including grants and scholarships
  • Loan Guidance – track and manage current loan borrowing, estimate repayment, and take action now to alter your future repayment trajectory
  • Spending and Borrowing – how to make smart choices when you must borrow or spend money
  • Debt and Repayment – make a plan to tackle and pay down debt by understanding key terms, strategies and consumer rights

We understand that students will continue to face challenges as the education landscape changes. However, providing them with an opportunity to become financially informed is an essential part of student support, especially for low-income students already on the bubble.


Promoting Student Webinars

April was Financial Literacy Month and in its honor, we hosted two webinars specifically designed for students. Now on-demand, students can watch them anytime, anywhere and from any device.

The Psychology of Money webinar helps students determine their money personality and how it affects their moneymaking decisions to raise self-awareness allowing them to make changes.

Student Loan Repayment talks about repaying student loans and cut through the noise providing answers to questions students may not even know to ask.

We encourage you to promote these webinars to students through your favorite social channels. Just copy the link (Psychology of Money: here or Student Loan Repayment: here) and paste into the post box on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Give a bit of a teaser, too; we like quick blips like, “Mind on your money, and money on your mind” for Psychology of Money and “Learn answers to loan repayment questions you may not know to ask” for the Student Loan Repayment webinar.


Your Student Data Needs Protection and it’s Mandatory

The ability to keep your students’ and your schools’ sensitive data – online and on paper – secure is more critical than ever. A data breach results in reputational and financial consequences and it could lead to identity theft and fraudulent activity. Security preparedness is not only a key to understanding the constant threats in the environment but also a regulatory requirement.

One of the requirements that has recently recurred as top-of-mind is The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), which states that higher education institutions must be transparent about how Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is collected, stored and used. While this requirement is not new, cyber dangers become more prevalent every day presenting an immediate review of your data security policies and protocols. You can view FSA’s February 28, 2020, Enforcement of Cybersecurity Requirements under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, here.

To support the protection of your institution and your students’ sensitive data, review your current policies, adjust and modify where necessary, and document the requirements.

Once you have current policies in place, develop a training program and establish a strict protocol with your institution’s staff. Frequently schedule to revisit the protocol, include at minimum, an annual refresher to employees, and revise your policies to adjust to changes in your environment. If it has been a while since you last communicated your data security protection policies, it is prudent to do that now.

If you’re using a third-party servicer, they too fall under GLBA. Check with them to determine what controls they have in place to protect student data and ask for confirmation that the controls have been and are regularly tested.

Your best defense against data threats is to continue to be diligent about your practices and take the proper precautions to review and adjust as situations change. Your students not only trust you with their education, but with their data too.

Click here to learn more about Inceptia’s data security.


Inceptia, a division of National Student Loan Program (NSLP), is a nonprofit organization committed to offering effective and uncomplicated solutions in verification, financial aid management, financial education, and repayment wellness. Our mission is to support schools as they launch brilliant futures for students, armed with the knowledge to become financially responsible citizens. Since 1986, we have helped more than two million students at 5,500 schools reach their higher education dreams. Each year we help nearly 340,000 students learn how to pay for college, navigate financial aid, borrow wisely, and resolve their student loan repayment challenges. Our solutions are designed to support student success by helping financial aid administrators maximize resources, so they can spend more time focusing on students. Learn more at Inceptia.org.

NEWS & EVENTS

Webinar: Return to Repayment: The relief, the precautions, and the preparation.

July 30, 2020

End date: August 6, 2020

Webinar: Professional Judgement Doesn’t Have to be Complicated

August 5, 2020

End date: August 12, 2020

Webinar: Keeping it Cool: Leveraging Emotional Intelligence for Better Communication Outcomes

August 11, 2020

End date: August 18, 2020

Webinar: 20 Quick Financial Wins We Can Achieve With Students (replay)

August 25, 2020

End date: August 26, 2020

Webinar: FAFSA Toolkit Express: Free Resources to Promote FAFSA Completion

September 15, 2020

End date: September 22, 2020

Webinar: Weird Science: Understanding How your Mind and Emotions Affect Your Money

October 6, 2020

End date: October 13, 2020

Webinar: Getting Ready for Student Loan Repayment

January 26, 2021

End date: February 2, 2021