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Help parents navigate the college application process

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Fred C. Church Insurance in Lowell, Mass., offers child care assistance for its young parents and retirement-planning advice for older employers. But it lacked benefits for workers with teenage children, a group that includes the company's key sales staff and managers.

Solution: The 130-employee company added a benefit that gives employees access to counselors who specialize in the college-application process.

The company uses a service, New York-based ConnectEdu, to help the parent/employee find money to pay for college. Plus, it guides the family through the process of choosing an appropriate school and getting accepted to it.

On-site workshops provide parents enough information to get started, and counselors are available via the Internet or telephone. For a fee, parents and their children can meet privately with counselors. The company pays the rest, which costs $1 per employee per year for free access to the basic services.

About 19 of the firm's working parents used the benefit, which Senior VP Chris Duble calls "low cost and very low-touch." Added benefit: It keeps employees productive by saving them hours of on-the-job Web surfing in search of college loans and suitable schools.

Contact: Chris Duble, senior vice president, Fred C. Church Insurance, cduble@fredcchurch.com

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