Essential Questions Regarding Tuition Refunds & Tuition Insurance

Back to school season brings with it the usual media discussion about the cost of college, and what is necessary and what might not be needed for families to be best prepared for the fall semester.

Many insurance products aren’t essential… until you need them. Then, they can be a lifeline that helps protect your family from potentially devastating losses; always ask yourself about the risk you are taking for your investment in higher education. Can you afford to pay for an extra semester of college if something happens?

We suggest that all college students and families ask three questions prior to the start of college:

  1. What is the financial consequence if your student is unable to complete the semester due to a serious illness, injury or death of a parent?
  2. Does your school provide 100% refunds for medical withdrawals?
  3. Can you afford to protect your investment with tuition insurance?

When selecting a school, it is imperative that you know that schools tuition refund policy.

A 2016 survey of 510 college parents found that many parents don’t know the answer. More than 2/3 of parents surveyed have no idea how the school they attend would handle a refund if their student was unable to complete the semester due to an unexpected illness or injury.

Determining the Need for Tuition Insurance:  Medical withdrawals are an infrequent, but costly event for students and their families. A 2015 survey of college officials estimated that 41% of campuses report having more than 1% of students complete a medical withdrawal a year and 59% indicating less than 1%. Data from the 2015 Association of College Health Administrators (ACHA) national student health reports also highlights the frequency of events that students indicate may disrupt their education:

Protect Your Student & Your Investment:   Unless schools provide 100% refunds for medical withdrawals, GradGuard suggests that parents’ purchase at least some tuition refund insurance coverage for their student.  Starting at $33.75 for $2,500 of coverage the cost of even a small amount of coverage provides some comfort in case your student is forced to withdraw from school.

Check GradGuard.com for the coverage options available at your school.  Note that certain school programs offer different pricing and coverage options and there are limitations to tuition refund insurance coverage.   Remember that coverage must be purchased prior to the start of school and may are not available to residents of all states. You can look at a sample policy for your state here. Remember to see your personal policy for complete details after you purchase!