Regents change waiver process

Vanessa Marcano

Vanessa Marcano

Starting this spring semester, the Board of Regents is in charge of making the final decision regarding the approval of international student health insurance waivers.

The general policy requiring all international students to have health insurance has not changed, but there have been slight adjustments that will affect international students wishing to have the health insurance requirement waived.

Janice Minder, director of human resources at the Board of Regents, said that the change in policy is an effort to document the process more accurately and efficiently.

“With the assistance of the Student Affairs Vice Presidents (at various institutions), we created a standardized form with a standardized practice,” she said, adding that the BOR’s main goal was for students to be treated fairly and consistently.

Marysz Rames, vice president of Student Affairs, said that some international students request waivers because through universal health care systems, their country’s government is able to provide similar or better health care coverage.

“In the past, SDSU was able to honor waivers here on campus; now the students submit the waiver form to us, but it goes out to the Board of Regents for evaluation and final approval,” Rames said.

C.D. Douglas, executive director of TRiO Programs and Multicultural Affairs, said that only a small number of international students request a health insurance waiver, given that most usually buy health care coverage through the university. In past instances, students from Scandinavian countries or the United Kingdom have been the ones to submit waiver forms.

Both Douglas and Rames said it is important to note that international students who purchased health insurance through SDSU will not be affected by these changes.

Despite the policy change, the overall application process will not be modified much.

International students must submit a waiver form, along with proper documentation supporting their reasons to have their health insurance waived. SDSU then reviews it and sends the student’s documents to the BOR with a recommendation. Depending on the Board’s schedule, an answer is given within two business days.

“Before, we were able to make the decision here on the same day, after checking that the documents were in order, but two days is not a very long time,” Douglas, who works directly with international students with waiver requests, said.

To prevent delays stemming from the new policy, the staff at SDSU and the employees at the BOR are working collaboratively to get prompt answers and take care of students’ needs.

“Our top priority is ensuring that students will have proper health care coverage while they are here in the United States,” Douglas said.