What to avoid when traveling abroad.

Spring Study Abroad Opportunities are Here Now!

  • Angela Borden
Oct 18, 2016

The holidays are just around the corner, and while it may seem early to think about spring semester for students, both undergraduates and graduate students are already planning for study abroad opportunities.

Our revised student plans have been very popular, and we saw a large increase in sales with the changes we made on June 1. Take a look at our student plans and the latest stats below and get ready to grab a piece of this market now!

Inbound Students to the United States

There is big opportunity here. The latest Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) report provides valuable information which shows the magnitude of the inbound student market.

  • There are 1.11 million students with F & M visas currently studying in the U.S., and the number grew 5.5 percent from July 2015 to July 2016. 
  • There are 258,012 exchange visitors currently in the U.S., and the number of active J-1 visitors increased 5.4% from July 2015 to July 2016.

Still not convinced there is an opportunity? According to the SEVP, there are over 8,673 schools in the U.S. certified to accept international students in F1 and M1 programs, and 1,492 J visa programs. While 27% of these schools are in New York, California and Florida, there are 6,331 of them spread out across the United States.

Who are these students? A majority continue to be from China, India, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea. Seventy-seven percent of all F & M students originate from Asian nations. In fact, the number of students from China increased 7.2% from July 2015 to July 2016. By and large, China continues to send the most students to study in America. For the same time period, the number of students from India increased 28.5%.  

How do you find these students? SEVP has a list of their certified schools. In addition, don’t forget that our plans accept visas other than F, M, and J. Visitors with H-3, Q-1, and other similar appropriate visas are also eligible for coverage. This includes OPT (Optional Practical Training), a program which allows foreign students with F-1 status to remain here for a 12-month period for post-completion employment. This provides them with a chance to receive practical training to complement their education abroad, and they will need need insurance benefits to cover them during this time.   

Outbound U.S. Citizens studying abroad

Non-U.S. students are not the only ones traveling. Chances are if you know any college or university students here in the United States, they have traveled abroad, are planning to, or want to. In fact, according to Open Doors’ 2015 report, one in ten U.S. undergraduates study abroad before graduating. Also, there was a 5% increase from 2013 to 2014 in the number of American students studying abroad. This number is at an all-time high of 304,467, having gradually increased over the past 25 years.

How do you find these students? Check with colleges, universities, local technical and community colleges, as well as high schools and preparatory schools to locate participants and programs needing coverage. No matter where you live, there are most likely members of your community who are planning to study abroad, maybe even some of your existing customers.

ACA Compliance 
Many people have expressed confusion regarding whether or not student plans must be ACA compliant to be a valid coverage option in the student market. However, this is not the case. While some schools require an ACA compliant plan, there are many that do not. Requirements are determined by each individual school. 

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