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college parents

Student Life

Testimonial: Tuition Insurance Gives Peace of Mind to College Parents

July 30, 2020
Tuition insurance is smart for families to consider

Tuition insurance exists to provide a refund for a covered medical withdrawal when colleges and universities don’t. The best way for college students and their families to understand the value of GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance is to hear from a customer directly.

Anna learned about GradGuard’s tuition insurance before her son started college in New Jersey.

“We weren’t exactly sure if he was going to follow through on college,” Anna said. “He has some medical issues, so we weren’t sure exactly what was going to go on.”

Anna said it was in the back of her mind that Tuition Insurance was a good idea to have, so she purchased a policy for her son as a precaution.

“We weren’t exactly sure if we would need it, but we thought it was well worth it,” Anna said.

Worth the cost for peace of mind

Tuition Insurance can be purchased for as little as about 1% of the cost of tuition for the majority of schools that GradGuard directly partners with. That’s $10,000 worth of coverage for $106.

Anna’s son needed to withdraw from school for a covered medical shortly after the semester started. Because she had purchased a policy before the start of classes, she was able to file a claim for tuition and fees.

“The fact that it’s insurance and it’s peace of mind, and we actually had it, led us to feel more comfortable,” Anna said.

Thirty years ago, tuition insurance may not have been necessary, but today, given the high cost of college and ordinary risks of college life, it’s smart for all families to be vigilant.

“You just never know when you actually need it,” Anna said. “I would recommend it highly.”

College is one of the largest investments most families will ever make after buying a home. You insure your home, and your car, so why not also insure your tuition? You can with GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance.

Questions to ask your college or university:

What will happen to my tuition payment if my college student is forced to withdraw from school due to an illness or even COVID-19?

What is the school’s refund policy?

Do you offer tuition insurance?

GradGuard is thankful to work closely with more than 350 colleges and universities nationwide, including Ramapo College of New Jersey, where Anna’s son was enrolled. Learn more about how to buy Tuition Insurance for your school using GradGuard’s college search tool.

Other Student Life

Five Reasons Tuition Insurance is a Smart Decision

July 1, 2019

For many college families, the expense of higher education is one of the largest investments they will make. In fact, according to College Data – the average published in-state tuition, fees, and room and board charges for the 2019-2020 school year was $26,590; with tuition exceeding $50,000 at private institutions.

With so much money at stake, it’s smart for college families to have a back-up plan in case your student needs to withdraw from the university due to a certain illness or injury. Supporting a college student through an unexpected event like this can be stressful and can absolutely be made worse if parents don’t know the university’s refund policy. In most cases, universities don’t offer refunds of tuition costs outside of the first few weeks of classes; that’s why college families should consider tuition insurance.

The Top 5 Reasons Tuition Insurance is a Smart Decision

  1. If you can’t afford to lose the investment you are making each semester: Tuition Insurance can provide up to a 100% refund of your expenses if your student needs to completely withdraw from the university due to a covered reason. Tuition insurance could cover those costs and help you get back on your feet in the event of a withdrawal, without the added stress of a financial loss.
  2. If your school does not provide a 100% refund: Do you know what your school’s refund policy is? As mentioned above, most schools don’t offer refunds after the fifth week of the semester. In fact, in a 2020 survey done by HigherEdStudy of college and university bursars and heath administrators, only 6% of schools reported providing 100% refunds. According to the survey, most schools only refund a portion of tuition for qualified withdrawals through the fifth week of classes and virtually no school provides a refund for academic fees.
  3. Not every student graduates: There are many factors that may disrupt a student’s education. Tuition insurance is not drop-out insurance, but it can help you to avoid the financial loss if your student needs to withdraw from school due to a covered illness or injury.
  4. If you have additional academic expenses: On the off-chance that the school does provide a 100% refund for tuition, most do not refund academic fees or student housing. Many tuition insurance plans can provide coverage for not only tuition but also for expenses related to academic fees and housing.
  5. Student health and well-being can force a student to withdraw from classes: The American Health Association National College Health Assessment reports that student health incidents such as illness, accidents, and injuries happen frequently, even to your healthy college students. It is important to note that ordinary student health problems such as mono, chronic health conditions, or injuries may also force your student to withdraw from classes and cost them thousands of dollars.

The Investment in College and your Student Deserve Protection

Remember tuition insurance must be purchased prior to the start of school and, like all insurance plans, be sure to check the specific terms, conditions, and exclusions of your policy.

This article was updated in July 2020.

Health Other

Promoting Peace of Mind When Students Go Away to School

April 5, 2019

As a parent, sending your child to college can be a hard transition. Trying to set students up for success without being overbearing can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be this hard. With the proper tools you’ll be able to promote peace of mind as you send your own kids off to college.

Encourage Frequent Communication

Some new college students, excited by their new independence, forget to check in frequently with their worried parents. It’s important that they know you still want to hear from them and that you want to hear about the things going on in their lives.

Some families find it helpful to set up a time to reconnect in a scheduled way. For example, a student may video call their parents every Sunday evening. Setting a regular routine like this helps parents avoid feeling like they’re constantly pestering their kids and helps students remember to update their parents.

The key is to create channels of communication that cater to your student’s particular needs. Show them that you trust them to be adults while still encouraging them to talk to you frequently. Laura Dennis, the author of parenting blog Almost Empty Nest, says, “Learn to communicate with [your student] using their methods… The less you nag and ask probing questions and the more you express that you are proud of them and are interested in what they are doing, the more they will share.”

Create a Safe Environment

The college atmosphere will be a completely new ecosystem for your student, full of unfamiliar people and locations. Without feeling physically safe, your student may have a hard time adjusting to their new home. To combat these feelings of insecurity, students and their parents should work to create a space that is as physically secure as possible.

The first place to start is in their dorm or other new living space. A smart security system can be linked to your phone, no matter the distance, to give notifications if something goes wrong. Matt Halpin, a safety expert at ASecureLife.com, says, “A smart home security system can make your student’s new home safer while keeping you in the loop with notifications whenever an alarm is triggered––including smoke and CO detectors, or door and window sensors in the event of a break-in.”

You can also make sure your student understands how to watch out for and handle physical threats, establish personal safety boundaries and prepare responses in case those boundaries are crossed. Pete Canavan, the personal safety expert behind Campus Safety University, says, “Think about and envision various situations that could potentially occur so that you can prepare yourself mentally as well as physically for them.” As a parent, you can help walk your child through some of these scenarios and help them plan out ways to remain safe in case of emergency.

Sending your student away to college is never easy, but knowing they’re in a safe environment — and that they’ll still be able to talk to you whenever they need to — can help put your mind at ease. These next few years will be an exciting time for your child to blossom into an adult, and with preparation and channels of communication, you’ll help them grow and start their adult lives right.

Health Other

Top 4 Tips for Parents of College Students

June 1, 2018

The process of going to college can be cumbersome for both parents and students. Students have to adapt to living life on their own and adhere to a strict study schedule while parents have to allow their student their freedom and independence. As with most things in life, there are Dos and Do-Not’s. Let’s explore how to best transition to this new and exciting phase. 

Don’t: Decorate the Dwelling 

We know that picture wasn’t hung using a level, but that’s ok! Your student’s new residence is their home base. Try not to make any adjustments; especially in the first few semesters. As a freshman, your student is going through many life-changing events such as: building new friendships, stressing over intense studies, long lecture hours, and copious amounts of delicious dining hall decisions. It’s only fair that they have their personalized space where they can ease up and relax from the stressors at college.

Do: Prepare Your Parting Phrases

The final words between you and your student are significant in the college life. It is essential to share comforting words that express care and concern. Simple phrases along the lines of,  “I’m behind you,” “I’m proud of you,” and “I love you” will be lasting memories and sure to keep them going on tough days. 

Don’t: Solve All of Their Problems 

As a parent, when a problem arises it is only natural to attempt to intervene and assist. It’s important to let your student take the responsibility of solving their own problems before offering support. This will help them become self-reliant and self-sufficient as they continue into adulthood. When needed, universities provide resident advisors and guidance/counseling officials who are trained, experienced, and well equipped to handle any problem that may arise in a college setting.

Do: Embrace the Experience

When your student leaves for college, they may leave a void in the family structure. It may seem fun at first; especially for the siblings who desire more space, attention, and affection.  However, for the parents, rekindling that relationship can be a demanding activity. As time goes by, the family may begin to miss the present. Thankfully, technology has come a long way and you can still have your student join you for Sunday night family dinners via FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Skype. Despite their lack of a physical presence, your student may invite the fun new ways to be present during family traditions.

At GradGuard, both students and parents are our top priority and we are dedicated to helping students and their families in any way that we can. With our GradGuard Renters and Tuition Insurance, we leave little for parents to worry about when their students go off to college. Be sure to have the proper insurance coverage, as it can assist with keeping your mind at ease. Learn more about our insurance offers on our website.

About the Author: Maria is part of the community outreach team at Edu Aid. Maria is passionate about ongoing education at all ages, and when isn’t learning new things is a keen walker and cyclist and can be found exploring.

Other Transition

The Real Issue: Failing to Graduate Is Costly

August 26, 2014

 

David Leonhardt is the editor of Upshot at the New York Times and posted a useful article titled The Reality of Student Debt Is Different From the Clichés. It reminds me of the challenges our society has in dealing with complex topics captured in the headlines but that often inadvertently distort the real source of risk.

Leonhardt’s article conveys student loan debt is not the primary problem facing U.S. Higher Education. Though the Brookings research, on which his article relies is not without controversy, it does assert that despite the headlines on the rapid growth of student debt “the share of income that young adults are devoting to loan repayment has remained fairly steady over the last two decades.”

The article and Brookings are under some attack, but in my view it correctly focuses the discussion beyond student loan debt and onto the….”The vastly bigger problem is the hundreds of thousands of people who emerge from college with a modest amount of debt yet no degree. For them, college is akin to a house that they had to make the down payment on but can’t live in.”

Failing to graduate is costly. Roughly 4 in 10 students fail to graduate with a bachelors within six years. In fact, you can download an Infographic that illustrates non-graduate borrowers are 4x more likely to default on their student loans and 29% of students with student loans dropped out of college in 2009. Though it is clear that academic readiness is a fundamental problem, financial issues are frequently behind the reasons students are unable to complete their degrees; when you read the details closely, even the recently announced ASU and Starbuck’s partnership appears to be focused correctly on improving college completion.

Bottom line is that college is a great investment, but it isn’t risk free.

It is a big part of why Bill Suneson and I founded GradGuard with the mission to promote greater student success by helping students and their families overcome the financial losses that can result from unexpected events that may disrupt their pursuit of a higher education. In fact, other risks also interfere with college completion – such as unexpected life events such as student accidents or illness, the death of a family member and even theft.

In reality we should all be worried about over-borrowing for a college education, (for full disclosure from 2002-2006 I worked in the student loan industry and some ofNGI’s largest clients are lenders) but we should also give greater focus to the greater the more enduring problem of college completion.

For my higher education colleagues, (particularly those attending summer industry conferences such as ACUHO-INASFAA, Noel Levitz or NACUBO events) I ask:

    • What tangible activities are you involved with to promote college completion of students?
    • What is your campus doing to help protect the investment in education?
  • How is your campus helping students overcome the financial losses that may disrupt their education?

Please let me know what you think. I welcome a conversation with anyone who has suggestions for how to address these issues and how GradGuard can help support greater student success and college completion.