Browsing Tag

tuition insurance

Adulting Student Life

Fact or Fiction: The Truth About College Student Insurance

May 4, 2022
Students working on laptops laughing

By now, most of us know what insurance is, although maybe not entirely sure how it works or what makes a good policy. When it comes to the necessity of insurance, there is often some debate on what is covered, what’s a reasonable price, and if it is really something that people should invest in. College is one of the most expensive and risky investments a family can make. Still, many people may feel like insurance is unnecessary or unaware of what is included in a student renters and tuition insurance plan.

We break down all the misconceptions and myths surrounding college student insurance.

Fact or Fiction – 8 Misconceptions About the Value of Insurance for College Students

1. College students can’t afford renters or tuition insurance.

Fiction: Renters and tuition insurance are pretty affordable. In fact, a monthly renters policy with GradGuard costs as little as a Chipotle burrito meal! Students can also get coverage for as little as 1-2% of their overall tuition expense for tuition insurance, including room and board and academic fees.

2. My landlord will likely not replace my things if they’re stolen or damaged.

Fact: Presumably, your landlord has insurance that covers the building, but not what’s inside. So, if your backpack is stolen or your laptop is destroyed, you will be the one to replace it. Having a renters policy is essential in giving you peace of mind that your things will be protected if something happens.

Let’s take it one step further: GradGuard’s Renters Insurance follows you wherever you go. If your bike is stolen while running an errand or if your suitcase is taken while studying abroad, your renters policy has you covered.

3. My school has a refund policy, so I don’t need to pay for tuition insurance if I have to withdraw.

Fiction: Yes, your college or university indeed has a refund policy that is often only good for the first few weeks of classes. Beyond that, nearly all institutions don’t provide refunds if you were to completely withdraw, even for a medical condition such as anxiety, depression, or Covid-19.  Tuition insurance can help protect you so you don’t need to rely on this if you need to withdraw for a medical emergency.

4. My stuff doesn’t cost that much.

Fiction: Find out just how much your stuff is worth — and how renters insurance can cover it all. When you sit down to think about all the things needed to attend college, it can add up – and fast! If the unexpected were to happen, do you have the budget to replace everything you own? Renters insurance can help you get your money back so you don’t have to stress about how you would replace a stolen or damaged laptop or bike.

5. Renters insurance covers more than just my personal belongings.

Fact: The fantastic thing about a renters policy is its wide range of coverage! Not only is your stuff covered in your residence, on campus, traveling to and from school, and studying abroad, GradGuard’s renters insurance includes liability coverage and loss of use protection.

Liability and medical coverage – If you unintentionally damage your place of residence, you may be held responsible for damage to your apartment building or injuries to guests. Liability coverage may help you pay for any medical fees, property damage, or court costs in this situation.

Loss of use protection – This is important to help cover the costs of food and hotel rooms if your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered peril like a fire in your residence hall.

GradGuard’s Renters Insurance provides these exclusive student endorsements, including a low $100 deductible and no credit scoring.

6. I am young and healthy, so nothing will happen to me.

Fiction: There is a reason the unexpected is, well, unexpected – you can’t and won’t see it coming. Even though many college students are in good health, being in college doesn’t magically make you invincible. Addressing the fact you may need to withdraw from school for any unforeseen reason is uncomfortable, but you know what’s even more concerning? The idea of losing thousands of dollars.

No one wants to think about ever needing to file a claim with a tuition insurance plan, but it can reimburse the cost of a completely withdrawn term in the event of a covered illness or injury.

7. My roommate has renters insurance, so I’m already covered.

Fiction: While you and your roommate might share snacks and a Netflix account, their policy usually covers their things, not yours. Getting your own policy allows you to customize protection that’s perfect for what you need. And if your entire residence is unintentionally damaged, the reimbursement costs can climb quickly. Separate policies will ensure all of your belongings are covered.

8. Epidemics including Covid-19 are a covered reason with tuition insurance.

Fact: GradGuard tuition insurance plans purchased on or after February 18, 2022, include an epidemic coverage endorsement, which can provide protection when an insured student completely withdraws from school for the covered term due to becoming ill with any epidemic or pandemic disease, including COVID-19.

With life comes a lot of responsibility. We are here to help guide and educate you on the risks of college life. Now you know the truth about college renters and tuition insurance!

Student Life

Starting College on the Right Foot

February 23, 2022

College is a whole different ball game than high school, and contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with the classes or work you’ll be doing. For many students, college is the first time you will be responsible for yourself in more ways than one. One of the most significant differences is being in complete control of your education. You get to decide what you would like to study and what classes you get to take. You have the power to determine your academic future!

For many students, this can be overwhelming with so much new incoming information. We are here to help give a few pointers to ensure that you don’t overlook important details, whether it is your first semester or your last.

Important Policies and Procedures to Know

One of the most important things to look into when choosing a college or university is what policies they have in place. This can often get overlooked when enrolling because so many exciting things are happening all at once. Some of the policies we suggest you look into are:

  • Student and Class Policies – This can include policy and procedure documents related to student life at your university for things like student leaves, student misconduct, grading, courses, degrees, and even the quality of campus life for all students. It is vital that you also look into the policies on adding or dropping classes, important enrollment deadlines, and even the refund policy should you need to withdraw from classes. Of course, no one wants to think about bad things happening, but you should be prepared for the unexpected and be aware of what your school can do or not do if something were to happen.
  • Renters and Tuition InsuranceGradGuard offers protection plans designed specifically for the risks of college life. Pipes burst, backpacks get stolen, and illness or injury can keep you from your studies. Many colleges and universities do not offer refunds if a student needs to withdraw from classes after the first few weeks of class. Nearly all schools don’t replace stolen or damaged student property, either. Both of these factors can be detrimental to a student’s success. GradGuard is smart to consider given all of the risks that could happen.

Schedule

Managing a schedule is hard, but you can get the hang of it in no time with some practice. Before classes start or when you have some spare time, take a moment to think about all of the different things on your plate: attending classes, doing homework, studying, sleeping, hanging out with friends, and taking care of yourself; not just by eating the proper meals, but creating a budget or having clean clothes to wear. Details like this can get pushed aside when life becomes hectic, but knowing this ahead of time is an excellent way to ensure they don’t get forgotten. These are all essential everyday things that are vital for us to succeed in life, but can be hard to manage the different elements for the first time on our own. Lean on your friends and family to help you create a schedule that works for your so one of these areas in your life doesn’t suffer.

Work-Life Balance 

A good work-life balance is often talked about, but frequently overlooked. It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset that you must work, work, work all the time. But with all that hustle comes the great need for rest. You must have the appropriate downtime to relax and recuperate after using your body and brain. Eating healthy meals and getting the right amount of sleep is just as crucial to your success as making sure you attend classes and study. If we put out too much energy and don’t give ourselves enough time to unwind, it can lead to bigger problems like excessive stress, weight gain, and even depression. You will need to know your limits and listen to your body when it tells you it is time for a break. It can always be hard to say no in college, but there will always be another chance to do something. If you need to stay home and take care of yourself, your friends will understand! Understanding this concept now will benefit you greatly in the future with your career.

Resources

With this in mind, it can be hard to keep track of important resources and departments you may need in the future. Your college or university most likely will offer many different services or people on campus that you can turn to if you need help getting on the right track. 

  1. Staff – If you need help understanding any university policies, you can reach out to your academic advisor or a faculty member. They have a solid understanding of procedures if there is something that you do not understand.
  2. Study Centers or Resource Labs – There are often many tools available to students that are not well known. If you need help with classes or course material, the university or your specific college may have a tutoring program to assist you when needed. 
  3. Health Services – When you are feeling under the weather or are struggling with your mental health, you can visit your school’s health services facility. This is important if you are sick or if you are having a hard time balancing your workload. They should have doctors and counselors available to you when you need them, and the good news is you don’t have to travel far to get medical help if and when you need it.
  4. Student Handbook -Another place that you may be able to find information you are looking for is in your student handbook. You should read through this at the start of the semester to make sure that you understand the policies and procedures that are in place. This may also include details such as how to join clubs and organizations on campus, give you an idea of surrounding stores and restaurants by campus, and maybe even some student discounts!

There’s a lot of information to consider when you’re first starting college, but it shouldn’t be too overwhelming. Start early and don’t panic; make checklists of the most important stuff to know and you’ll be good to go!

Student Life

Why Tuition Insurance is an Essential Consideration for College Families

July 19, 2021

For many college families, higher education is one of the most significant investments they will ever make. With so much money at stake, college parents need 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 college semester is a significant enough burden to break the bank. Tens of thousands of dollars are on the line, and college families are wise 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 most significant 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 ongoing chronic conditions that may interfere with their studies, such as anxiety and depression. GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance covers controlled pre-existing conditions for medically cleared students 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 dramatically 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 families’ investments 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 investments from the unexpected. 

By working with more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide, GradGuard can 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 accompanying 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 frequently happen, 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.

Student Life

Why Tuition Insurance?

July 6, 2021

Endless stress from the unknown alongside having to pay a heavy price tag can make college feel incredibly daunting. This is why you should think about protecting your investment in your education, and put “tuition insurance” at the top of your college to-do list. Insurance protects all aspects of your life, from your car to your home, so why wouldn’t you also want it to cover your pursuit of higher education?

GradGuard offers a Tuition Protection Plan that can put you and your parents’ mind at ease by providing coverage for your tuition, academic fees and housing in the event that you need to fully withdraw from school due to a covered medical condition, injury or illness. 

Sounds too good to be true? Just wait until you learn more. 

Protection From the Unexpected

There are many unexpected events that happen while in college, which is exactly why it is vital to be proactive and plan for those occurrences. Tuition insurance provides a safety net for families to feel secure in the investment of their student’s education.

It Can Give You A Second Chance

No one should be afraid of losing out on their education due to a medical reason. Whether it be injury, illness or a mental health condition, ensuring that you can bounce back after withdrawing from school can be beneficial. Tuition insurance grants you that second chance at college by allowing you to incur little to no financial loss.

Your School’s Refund Policy Isn’t Generous

You might be thinking that tuition insurance is “unnecessary” because your school will refund you your money in the event of a complete withdrawal. The reality is that this is not always the case. In fact, most colleges do not offer any money back after the fifth week of classes, and if they do, it will not cover any additional expenses paid on your behalf. Tuition insurance closes these gaps and protects not only your tuition but also your housing, academic fees and more at any point during your covered term.

Still sound too good to be true? Read some testimonials from families who have benefited from having a Tuition Protection Plan at blog.gradguard.com and to learn more about how tuition insurance can protect you. 

BIO: Morgan Kubasko is going to be a freshman at Barrett, the Honors College, at Arizona State University. She is majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. She is currently a summer intern with GradGuard.

Student Life

Don’t Rely on College Refunds: Why Tuition Insurance is Important

January 4, 2021

This year has left many individuals uncertain about their academic futures. With COVID forcing colleges and universities to change their business tactics, many students find it nearly impossible to get tuition refunds if forced to withdraw from school.


How can you protect your investment in your education and get a full refund for your college tuition?

Tuition insurance is a great way to keep your finances secure in a crisis. Here’s a guide to help you understand tuition insurance and how it could benefit you.


How COVID has Affected Refund Policies


Most colleges and universities offer a refund policy allowing you to get your money back after deciding to withdraw from school. This usually applies only to the first five weeks of college. However, most schools do not refund 100% of the money you paid to attend.


COVID has affected college life, as most students shift to online classes. Many institutions continue to charge room and board, even while students study from home. Some courses also lack certain classroom fundamentals. This includes mock trials, clinical experiences, and more.


Some colleges have found themselves unable to give refunds at all. The virus has brought many new changes that universities aren’t sure how to cope with; some schools are citing a lack of funding as a reason to hold onto college tuition. Due to this lack of funding, among other issues that universities face with the virus, you may have difficulty getting a refund.


What That Means for You

If you decide to attend college or a university in the near future and withdraw yourself, you may be out of luck when trying to get a refund. Some students have taken their universities to court over the matter. Many cases are still pending and waiting for a resolution. 


You will be paying for things you won’t actually receive, such as room and board, but you may not even get your money back after dropping out. At most, you may receive a small fraction of what you paid. 


What is Tuition Insurance?


Are you considering applying for college in the coming year? If so, then you should strongly consider getting tuition insurance for yourself. This will help you protect your money if you decide not to follow through with your education.


Tuition insurance, otherwise known as tuition refund insurance, is exactly what it sounds like; it protects you from being denied a tuition refund after withdrawing from school. However, the reasoning behind your withdrawal must be due to your medical or mental state. For example, if you received a severe injury that prevented you from attending your classes, you can get your tuition funds back with tuition insurance.


Your reimbursement may depend on the type of coverage you apply for. This means that you are not guaranteed a 100% refund because you have tuition insurance; however, it is better to receive a percentage of your tuition than being denied any refund.


Tuition insurance commonly covers one academic term. However, you can purchase additional insurance policies to protect yourself throughout your academic career. 


The Benefits of Tuition Insurance


Tuition insurance can grant you peace of mind when paying for your education. You can know that your investment in your education is safe and that if the worst happens, you can get your money refunded. 


If you are wondering whether or not tuition insurance is right for you, you can consider a couple of things.


First off, consider the overall cost of your tuition. Is the institution you are attending particularly expensive? If so, then tuition insurance can greatly ease your mind and is a great way to protect your investment.


If you have a chronic illness or severe mental illness or disability that may make it hard to attend college, then tuition insurance is a great way to protect yourself. The last thing you want is to enter into your institution and realize you cannot continue due to your physical or mental health.


With COVID as a severe threat to your physical health, you should strongly consider tuition insurance if you contract the virus. This disease can leave you bedridden for weeks, which would make you incapable of completing your schoolwork and attending your classes, even if they are online.


How to Get Tuition Insurance


If you are considering tuition insurance, you will need to apply for coverage before beginning the academic year. You are not required to purchase tuition insurance for the entirety of your academic career, so choose your plan and coverage wisely.


There are many different plans that you can choose from, so do your research before settling on a plan. Your school likely offers various forms of tuition insurance, so don’t hesitate to look and see what plans they are offering as well. 


Protect Yourself and Your Money


There’s no need to worry about where your money is going regarding your college tuition. You can keep your assets safe and get a college refund without being denied by your university with tuition insurance.


Are you considering attending a university in the near future but are concerned about needing to have your tuition refunded?


We’re here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns about our tuition insurance, and continue reading our blog for more helpful information.

Student Life

Testimonial: Tuition Insurance Can Give You a Do Over for College

December 8, 2020

Most colleges and universities don’t provide full refunds for tuition and academic fees. It’s something many students and families don’t find out about until after it’s too late, and their investment in college is lost. That’s how GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance can help in the event of an unexpected medical withdrawal.

Kara first learned about GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance when her son, Andrew, was an incoming freshman at Marist College. She said she wanted to make sure that if anything were to happen that was one of the covered reasons, their big investment in his education wouldn’t be lost. Marist is one of the nearly 400 colleges and universities that rely on GradGuard to protect students from preventable financial losses.

College students and families are smart to have GradGuard

Looking ahead, Kara and Andrew’s decision to purchase tuition insurance was smart. She said her son struggled a little bit the first semester.

“When he went back at the beginning of the spring semester, it became clear that he was not going to be successful, for a variety of mental health issues,” Kara said. “Our first priority was to bring him home, which we did.”

Andrew completed a medical withdrawal from school. It was early in the semester, so the family was able to get a partial refund from the school. Then they contacted GradGuard and filed a claim for the balance.

GradGuard provides a refund when schools may not

“The amount that we paid at the beginning of the semester, minus what the school refunded — we got every other cent back from GradGuard,” Kara said. “We were thrilled. That money is for him to pursue his education when he’s ready.”

GradGuard was able to give this family the opportunity for a do-over. That’s not something that happens a lot, let alone in college. But when the unexpected happens, GradGuard can help you get back on track. Learn more about how to buy Tuition Insurance for your school using GradGuard’s college search tool.

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?

Student Life

Forbes Spotlights Value of Tuition Insurance

November 17, 2020

The impact of the Coronavirus on the operations of colleges and universities has focused attention by students and families on the refund policies of schools. With families investing more than $300 billion annually in college expenses, it’s not surprising that Forbes recently published an article explaining how tuition insurance can provide a refund when a school may not.

Tuition insurance may not have been essential 30 years ago, when college was more widely affordable and school refunds were more generous. Today, however, given both the high cost of tuition and less generous refund policies of schools, it’s an important benefit that colleges and universities can offer to protect their students.

When combined with trends in student health conditions, tuition insurance is also an essential consideration for families worried about their student’s chronic health conditions or potential vulnerabilities.   

Less Generous College Refund Policies

If a student needs to leave school, it’s more than likely that the institution will only provide a prorated refund through the first few weeks of school. Refunds for room and board and academic fees are even more unlikely to happen. 

Forbes personal finance journalist, Cameron Huddleston, recently interviewed John Fees, the CEO and co-founder of GradGuard about the importance of knowing a school’s refund policy.

“Typically, this is only a refund of tuition through the first five weeks of classes,” Fees said. 

A 2019 benchmark study conducted by HigherEdStudy for GradGuard found that only 6% of schools reported providing a 100% refund of tuition—down from 23% in 2015. None of the public colleges surveyed provide full refunds and nearly half of the schools don’t provide any refund for student fees and academic fees. 

Source: Forbes, Tuition Insurance Rescues Lost College Deposits And Payments. Data: GradGuard, Benchmark Study: 2019 Trends & Common Practices for Managing Student Withdrawals & Tuition Refunds

Growth in Student Medical Conditions 

A 2019 national benchmark study of colleges and universities revealed student medical withdrawals are also on the rise.  In fact, 70% of schools surveyed reported a growth in student medical withdrawals – up from just 42% in 2015.

In addition, the American College Health Association’s annual research report on student medical conditions also confirms the value of  tuition insurance.  The complete report includes even more dramatic increases in mental health conditions that may disrupt a students semester. 

GradGuard’s tuition insurance covers an unexpected withdrawal due to a covered illness, injury, or other covered reason. This chart below demonstrates the impact of health conditions that can also create a financial loss for families. 

Four common student illnesses including concussions and mono have a big impact on degree completion

How Colleges and Universities Benefit

Given the growing media interest by Forbes and other publications, schools are smart to provide their students the opportunity to protect their investment in college. There are multiple benefits to schools who offer GradGuard’s tuition insurance to each of their students including:

  • Help assure that students who have to leave school for a medical reason can afford to return to campus when they are healthy enough to do so.
  • Demonstrate to students that they can receive a payment for the potential financial loss that may result from withdrawing from an academic term due to covered reasons such as medical conditions.
  • Provide a more affordable product with expanded coverage that meets the needs of the school and student.
  • Reduce collections issues from students who leave school by providing the school a payment for any outstanding balance of an insured student.

Lastly, schools are smart to offer GradGuard’s tuition insurance because it will enable them to have an answer to students and parents who may ask them for it. The attention from the Forbes article, ‘Tuition Insurance Rescues Lost College Deposits and Payments’ will certainly lead to more questions from students and families looking to protect their investment in college.

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.

Student Life

Financial Advisor Magazine: Want a College Refund for Covid Chaos?

October 6, 2020
Financial Advisor Magazine: Want a College Refund for Covid Chaos?

Even outside of a pandemic, getting a college tuition refund or reimbursement could be tricky. Confusion has only increased since the spring, and is coming to light even more now that fall semesters are in full swing at colleges and universities nationwide. 

Kevin Walker dives into the college refund conundrum for Financial Advisor Magazine.

Many schools attempted to curb outbreaks by delaying the start of in person classes, or switching entirely to online-only instruction. 

But despite Covid-19 concerns, many schools opened doors for on-campus learning and the inevitable spread of the virus still happened, despite mask requirements, rules against large groups and gatherings, and other restrictions, Walker states.

College And University Response

Some colleges and universities have tried to limit further spread by recommending students quarantine and shelter in place. Financial Advisor mentions the University of Arizona’s two-week shelter in place order that was implemented on September 14.

This semester is proving to definitely be a challenge for higher education administrators nationwide – at no real surprise. 

College Refund Policies

Adding to the chaos are college refund policies. The majority of colleges and universities provide no refunds for tuition beyond the first few weeks of classes, according to an Ipsos poll for Allianz Global Assistance. Virtually none provide refunds for academic fees and room and board. That same poll found that about 85% of parents and students said they would be hurt financially if there were no refund at all. 

As Walker states, it’s important to know what policies generally exist:

• When a student withdraws during a semester (because of illness or for some other reason) the college’s refund policy may include reimbursement, especially if the student withdraws within the first month.
• Colleges and universities typically offer refunds on a sliding scale. Most schools won’t give any money back at all after the fifth week of classes.
• On the other hand, if a student is expelled for a specific cause, such as not following the college’s Covid-19 guidelines, there’s no refund. 

Typical School Refund Policy

Tuition Insurance To The Rescue?

Tuition insurance provides refunds for students withdrawing from school for medical reasons. This is particularly helpful for students who withdraw in the middle of or late in the semester. Typically, they may not receive any tuition reimbursement at all. But tuition insurance can handle the amount not covered, including other fees that are typically excluded from college refund policies, Walker states. 

Tuition insurance doesn’t apply if a student leaves for academic or disciplinary reasons, or because they can’t afford the costs.

GradGuard, with nearly 400 school partners, is the largest provider of tuition insurance in the country. Plans exclude epidemics but the insurer issuing the policies, Allianz Global Assistance, announced in June it would cover students who had to withdraw due to contracting the coronavirus.

It’s important for students and families to know what’s covered and what’s not in terms of Covid-19 coverage:

  • Policies must be purchased prior to the start of classes. 
  • Don’t expect it to cover in-person classes moving to online-only instruction. 
  • Fear of attending class due to the virus isn’t covered.

Questions to Ask

Making sure you understand your school’s refund policy as it relates to Covid-19 and beyond will save you some surprises that may come up later on. Some of this may seem like a lot to take in, but with college being one of the largest investments most families will ever make, it’s smart for college students and families to look into the answers to these questions.

1. What is the college or university’s room and board refund policy? 
2. Is it possible to get a tuition refund if a student withdraws? What is the “sliding scale” of the refund-to-withdrawal time line?
3. What are the college or university’s current Covid-19 policies?
4. What disciplinary action occurs if a student doesn’t follow the Covid-19 policies?
5. What are the student loan options with the CARES Act?
6. Are there more options to pay for college if families’ employment situations have changed? Can the financial aid office take another look at the student’s financial aid package?
7. What are some ways students can make money in college or through off-campus jobs?

College students and families are prudent  to individually assess their own personal situations when it comes to tuition insurance.

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.