The benefits of graduating

Graduation is just around the corner and about 1,000 students will be leaving this campus but that doesn’t mean they still can’t get help from the school when they’re gone.

When students graduate they are offered a multitude of benefits and discounts by their alumni associations.

According to Lori Connor, alumni relations officer, at DC, three of the main benefits offered are through TD Life Insurance Meloche Monnex, Manulife Financial Insurance, and the MBNA Mastercard.

These three businesses are known as affinity partners and they offer revenue to the Alumni Association.

“With that revenue that comes back to the Alumni Association we sponsor scholarships and bursaries for students. We give back to students,” says Connor.

In the past year, the Alumni Association was able to sponsor $10,000 in scholarships and $9,000 in bursaries with the money from the affinity partners.

TD Insurance offers discounts on home and auto insurance to graduates and students. Manulife gives health and dental insurance to alumni only.

Every time the MBNA Mastercard is used a small contribution is made to the Alumni Association.

UOIT currently has Johnson Inc. as its affinity partner. They offer home and auto insurance and each time an alumni creates a contract with them the Alumni Association receives a referral fee.

“It goes back to the alumni fund and it’s up to the alumni council to make the decision of the best way to support alumni,” says Deia Prudencio, manager of annual giving and alumni relations, at UOIT.

One of the main ways UOIT supports alumni is to offer career services and events to help graduates network and get jobs.

“Most of our alumni are very young. We’re trying to make sure we have good career services for them,” says Prudencio.

UOIT is currently working on extending the time period to use career services after graduation to two years or more. Alumni will be able to make appointments to get help with resumes, cover letters, and job searches.

There is also a search for two more affinity partners for the university to provide health insurance and financial services.

“As our alumni get older and more established in their lives they will have more interest for health, dental, and life insurance, they have more interest for financial services,” says Prudencio. “So we’re trying to move along as our alumni actually start to need other services.”

Michael Baird, a DC alumnus and board member for the Alumni Association, uses the TD insurance plan.

“I tried to insure one of my sons on my vehicle, my insurance was going to be $1,000 per month,” says Baird. “That’s for myself, my wife, and my two sons and I called TD and they gave me the same insurance for $500 per month.”

The college and university also offer benefits such as a discount on gym memberships at the Recreation and Wellness Centre and access to the campus library. Alumni just need to show their alumni membership card or get access codes online through the alumni association to use them. Membership cards are automatically given to all graduates.

For more than a decade, DC’s Alumni Association has negotiated several discounts for amusement parks, theatre or movie tickets, restaurants, sporting events, and hotels across Canada.

“It’s just been over the years sometimes we contact them, sometimes they contact us and want to offer discounts to our alumni and students,” says Connor.

UOIT has created its own partnerships with these companies and shares almost all of the same discounts and exclusive access as the college.

While these businesses don’t offer money to the Alumni Association, they do benefit from partnering with the college and university.

“For them they’re getting business and they’re getting free advertising, and our alumni are getting discounts so it’s a win-win,” says Connor.

The number of graduates using the benefits is difficult to determine but Connor says there are more than 2,100 alumni with TD Insurance and she often hears stories from alumni about using some of the other services.

An event sponsored by the Alumni Association called Countdown to Grad is hosted at each campus in March. All students about to graduate are invited. The Alumni Association, the affinity partners, Career Services, and the Pathways program are there to explain what’s offered after graduation.

“We’re trying to let the students know who and what the Alumni Association are and what benefits are available to them,” says Connor.

Once April hits many students will head out into the workforce and they should keep in mind that their school can still help them out if they ever need it.