How to Talk to College and University Administrators

“Lack of health insurance keeps our students from attending classes when they have not sought medical care for a minor condition that has led to a major health crisis. Lack of health insurance results in students dropping out of class because they need a job to pay off a one-time emergency room bill due to a crisis.” –Maryann Haytmanek, Project Director for Benefits 

Find Your Best Contacts

Figure out which member of the administration you should speak with and set up a meeting with that person or their staff. At most colleges, the best person to talk to about enrollment outreach will be the Dean of Student Services.

Explain Benefits

Clearly articulate how colleges benefit by doing outreach to students about the health coverage options.

  • A recent study found that nearly 70 percent of people who started their degree but did not finish said that having health insurance would have helped them “a lot” in completing their degree.22

Gather Information

Talk to the administration about ways that we can target our outreach so that we’re more likely to reach students who are uninsured. Some of examples of questions to ask:

  • Does the school have a college success course? (Most do). Which students do the school target for college success courses? Are they willing to incorporate information about the new coverage options into these courses?
  • Does the school record the insurance status of their students? If so, are they willing to partner with us to reach out to students to provide them with information about the availability of coverage options?
  • Does the school do any health-related events throughout the year? Are there opportunities for outreach and education at these events? For application assistance? Does the school have any special programming directed specifically at non-traditional students where application assistance can be incorporated.

What to Bring

Come to the meeting with a clear list of asks and the things you can do to help support the college’s outreach. Asks of the administration will most likely fall into two categories: Things you are asking them to do, and things you are asking them to let you do.

  • Ask them to let you table on campus a couple of times a week.
  • Ask them to arrange or let you arrange enrollment events where navigators or Certified Application Counselors (CACs) come to the college’s library or computer lab.
  • Offer to help inform students about these events by tabling or putting up fliers.
  • Ask them to organize/let you organize information sessions for students where either they or you will educate students on their new options.
  • Ask them to send out an email to students and/or make information on new health coverage options available in places like counselor’s offices, classrooms, or the library — anywhere students might spend time — and tell them you can provide the materials to distribute and/or content for emails.
  • Ask them to incorporate information on enrollment into pre-existing events or classes — particularly related to their college success program, since students in those classes are more likely to be uninsured — or to let you attend and present to students.

 

 


Footnotes

22 Johnson, J.& Rochkind, J. (2009). With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them: Myths and Realities About Why So Many Students Fail to Finish College, Public Agenda. Retrieved from http://www.publicagenda.org/files/theirwholelivesaheadofthem.pdf

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