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covid coverage

Student Life

Why Tuition Insurance is an Essential Consideration for College Families

July 19, 2021

For many college families, the expense of higher education is one of the largest investments they will ever make. With so much money at stake, it’s important for college parents to make  a plan for the unexpected, in case their student is forced to withdraw from school due to a severe injury or illness. 

What is Tuition Insurance?

For most of the 20 million college students and their families, the financial loss of an entire semester of college is a burden big enough to break the bank. Tens of thousands of dollars are on the line and college families are smart to consider purchasing tuition insurance before the start of the semester. Tuition Insurance provides a refund for tuition, room and board, and academic fees when schools may not in the event of a covered medical withdrawal. It’s not drop out insurance and students must completely withdraw from classes due to a covered injury or illness. 

College is a fun time to meet new people, create memorable experiences, and of course, learn. That’s not to say it doesn’t come without risks. Knowing some of the biggest financial risks will prepare you for the unexpected. 

Tuition Insurance: What’s Covered?

Tuition insurance may not have been essential for all families to consider 30 years ago, when college was more widely affordable and school refunds were more generous. But things have changed. Given the high cost of college and less generous refund policies, tuition insurance is an important benefit that colleges and universities can offer to protect their students. 

Coverage for Major Injuries and Illnesses, Including Covid-19

Even before the pandemic, ordinary medical conditions, not just Covid-19, are a source of large financial losses for both students and schools. GradGuard is the only major provider in the country to cover withdrawals due to becoming ill with Covid-19. 

The 2020 National Student Health Assessment from the American College Health Association data reveals some of the ordinary risks college students and their families face today, and the impact it has on degree completion:

  • Concussion: 2.2% 
  • Mononucleosis (mono): 56.9%
  • Stress: 43.7%
  • Death of a friend/family member: 40.5%
  • Influenza (flu) or flu-like illness: 50:4%
  • Orthopedic injury (broken bone, fracture, sprain, etc): 2.5%
  • Cold/virus or other respiratory illness: 42.1%

Many students arrive at college with on-going and chronic conditions that may interfere with their studies, such as anxiety and depression. GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance covers controlled pre-existing conditions for students who are medically cleared to attend school. 

Mental Health Coverage Included

Last fall, college families and experts alike were most worried about students becoming ill with Covid-19. This year, the focus is on how the pandemic has greatly impacted the mental health and wellbeing of college students. 

GradGuard became the first and only program in the country to cover mental health as a condition. The growth in student mental health concerns looms as another risk to the investments families make when paying for college. 

Among the troubling trends:
  • 2020 report by the American College Health Association found more than half of nearly 9,000 students surveyed experienced anxiety or depression
  • A nationwide study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that rates of moderate to severe anxiety and depression among U.S. college students rose substantially over the last few years — from 18% and 23%, to 34% and 41%, respectively.
  • 2020 survey by the American Council on Education found 68% of college and university presidents say student mental health and well-being is top concern

Room and Board and Academic Fees are Also Covered

Tuition Insurance covers more than just the cost of tuition. GradGuard’s plans can also cover room and board and academic fees. Most higher education institutions only provide a partial refund of tuition during the first five weeks of a semester, and virtually no schools provide refunds for academic fees or housing. 

Conclusion

More than 20 million college students are getting ready to head to campus in the fall. After an extraordinarily challenging year due to the pandemic, families are looking for ways to protect their investment from the unexpected. 

By working with more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide, GradGuard is able to offer students and their families comprehensive and affordable coverage for up to 100% of the cost of college including student housing, tuition and academic fees. Each policy also includes Student Life Assistance, which helps families through the logistics that may accompany an unexpected student withdrawal. GradGuard’s mission is all about helping more students graduate. With Tuition Insurance, students who are forced to withdraw are given the rare opportunity for a do-over

Major or chronic illnesses, accidents and injuries happen frequently, even to young and healthy college students. The good news is that college families can protect their investment in higher education by purchasing tuition insurance. Visit GradGuard.com/Tuition to see the plans available on your campus. 

Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Plan(s) underwritten by BCS Insurance Company or Jefferson Insurance Company. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans. Plans include insurance benefits and assistance services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800-284-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.

Health

Bloomberg: Tuition Insurance Sounds Great, Unless it Doesn’t Cover Covid-19

November 16, 2020

As Covid-19 outbreaks continue to pop up nationwide, college campuses are no exemption. Naturally, college parents are anxious about their kids’ health. Olivia Raimonde, Janet Wu and Katherine Chiglinsky took a deep dive for Bloomberg into the health and financial worries of Covid-19 and college.

The feature, ‘Tuition Insurance Sounds Great, Unless It Doesn’t Cover Covid-19’ includes an interview with a GradGuard member, Marcy Fischer, about her decision to send her daughter to Emory University with Tuition Insurance. Covering her daughter’s tuition and off-campus lease comes to about $30,000 per semester.

“You know, if they just get sent home from school and go virtual, that’s one thing,” Fischer, who lives in Massachusetts, told Bloomberg. “But if they were to get sick and have to withdraw from university for the semester, we’d be out that money.”

To cover the risk of losing tens of thousands of dollars, Fischer bought a tuition insurance plan from GradGuard, she told Bloomberg. The plan can cover what would have been otherwise lost tuition expenses and other fees if a student is too sick to finish the semester.

Atlanta-based Emory University is one of the nearly 400 colleges and universities that partner with GradGuard to offer college students and their families the best rate and coverage for tuition insurance. Fischer was able to protect a semester’s worth of expenses, $30,000, for around $300. Any student attending a four-year non-profit college or university can purchase a policy, however, the policies are underwritten by Allianz Global Assistance and are more costly if purchased directly online.    

Interest in tuition insurance has jumped significantly over the year, as the pandemic made the financial risk of college even more apparent, according to John Fees, CEO of GradGuard.

“Families are more aware than ever before of the risks of paying for college,” Fees said.

Epidemics and pandemics are typically excluded from GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance coverage. However, until further notice, GradGuard is choosing to accommodate claims for students who completely withdraw from school due to becoming ill with Covid.

In addition to Covid, Bloomberg goes on to explain that tuition insurance can also cover withdrawals due to other types of illness, including mental health conditions.

But it’s important to note that tuition insurance won’t cover costs if a school moves from in-person classes to online-only learning.

“It’s a medical withdrawal, not a change in how schools teach,” Fees said. “It’s not a business interruption insurance.”

GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance is an affordable way for college students and families to protect what’s often the second-largest investment in their lives. Covid outbreaks on college campuses highlight further proof of how costly it can be for these families when a student is forced to withdraw.