Browsing Tag

tuition refund insurance

Health Uncategorized

Considering tuition insurance? Here’s why one family calls it a “lifesaver”

August 24, 2019
GradGuard member Camrey and her mother, Mindy explain how tuition insurance helped their family

The National Student Clearinghouse, which follows the status of undergraduates at institutions eligible for federal aid, publishes the most reliable data on college completion measures including something called the “persistence” rate. This is the percentage of students who return to college at any institution for their second year. 

According to the organization’s most recent report, of the 3.5 million students who enrolled in college for the first time in fall 2017, 74% returned to any U.S. school the following fall. That means one in four students who start college, do not return to any college the following year. That’s nearly 900,000 students went through all the trouble and expense to enroll, possibly borrow money, apply for and receive government grants, purchase books, and perhaps even move, but did not return to school the next year. They also did not transfer to another school.

This helps put in perspective the value and need for tuition insurance. Though the primary reasons students do not return to school appear to be factors related to academic readiness and capacity to pay, the truth is other life events get in the way.

This is where GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance can help. When a student needs to withdraw for legitimate reasons such as unexpected illness, injury or accident, tuition insurance can provide a refund when colleges may not.

The best way to see the value of tuition insurance is to hear from a member who enrolled in the program. Indeed, as one of GradGuard’s customer reports:

“Tuition Insurance was such a lifesaver. It should be an option on every college and university website,” – Mindy D., GradGuard member

Watch below to hear her explain how she considered protecting her daughter, and how tuition insurance enabled her to avoid a large financial loss when she became ill during the semester.

“It saved our family’s lives. I would tell everyone to get tuition insurance.”

Thanks to GradGuard’s collaboration with Allianz Global Assistance – it is now easier than ever before for college students and their families to receive valuable protection for the investment they make in higher education.

If your school does not provide 100% refunds, it is useful for parents to ask the school to do so. Most school leaders surveyed agreed that it should be as convenient for families to protect a $30,000 or more investment in college as it is for consumers to protect a $300 vacation with travel insurance.

We are thankful that we worked closely with the school where Mindy’s daughter, Camrey, was enrolled. As a college parent, she clearly expresses the value of tuition insurance and the peace of mind it provided to her and her family as they cared for Camrey’s well-being.

This article was updated in May 2020.

Health Uncategorized

Top 3 Reasons College Tuition Insurance Is a Smart Decision

July 11, 2019

When college families and their students are discussing college, the topic of money always comes up in the conversation. For good reason too! Did you know that the combination of tuition, fees and room and board charges average between $20,000-$50,000 a year?

For many college families, the expense of a higher education is one of the largest investments they will make. Since there is so much money at stake, we suggest that college parents make a plan in case their student is forced to withdraw from school due to severe injury or illness. Of course, if you are one of the few families out there that can afford to lose your large investment, then tuition insurance may not be necessarily needed for you.

However, for most of the twenty million college students and their families, the financial loss of an entire college semester is a burden big enough to break the bank. As a result, college families are smart to consider the purchase of tuition insurance prior to the start of the school semester.

3 Reasons Tuition Insurance is a Smart Decision

  1. If you can’t afford to lose the tuition paid for a semester at school – Tuition insurance can provide up to 100% refund of your expenses in the instance that a student gets severely ill or injured; it can also help cover the costs needed to get back on your feet in the event of needing to withdrawal.
  2. If your school does not provide a 100% refund – Do you know what your school’s refund policy is? A majority of school refund policies do not extend beyond the fifth week of the semester, and many don’t refund the full cost after the start of classes. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is so you can see how much of your money is at risk.
  3. If you have additional academic expenses – Even if the school does provide you with a 100% refund for tuition, most schools do not refund academic fees or student housing. Many tuition insurance plans can provide coverage for academic fees and student housing in addition to tuition.

Student health incidents like illnesses, accidents, and injuries happen frequently, even to young and healthy college students. The good news is that college families can protect their investment by purchasing tuition insurance! Visit our website at www.gradguard.com/tuitioninsurance to see the plans available on your campus!

Student Life Uncategorized

New Search Tool Makes It Easy to Find College Student Insurance

July 10, 2019

Paying for college can be a challenge but thanks to a new innovative college search tool, GradGuard provides a convenient gateway to the relevant protection college students need.

The average published tuition and fees for full-time four-year undergraduates for 2018-19 is $36,890 for private non-profit universities, according to the College Board’s Trends in College Pricing. In total, more than 20 million students and their families invest an estimated $500 billion annually in tuition, academic fees, student housing, and related expenses.

In fact, for many college families, the expense of higher education is one of the largest investments they will make. “With so much money at stake, GradGuard’s new search tool makes it easy for families to find the insurance protection they need to protect their college student”, said Bob Soza, Chairman of College Parents of America.

The GradGuard search tool provides an easy way for families to find and purchase renters and tuition insurance programs designed just for their college or university.

“When you consider the facts,” co-founder of GradGuard, John Fees states, “It’s smart for college families to consider how to protect their student and the investment they are making in higher education.”

The Need for College Renters Insurance
College students need to consider protecting themselves with renters insurance. According to reports from the 2017 Clery Act, colleges and universities reported 18,458 burglaries and robberies. During the same year, campuses reported 1,830 fires within student housing.

While risks such as theft, burglary, and campus fires are an ongoing problem on many college campuses, the good news is that there is a renters insurance policy that is designed just for college students. GradGuard’s college renters insurance contains an exclusive student endorsement that features a low-deductible, replacement coverage and worldwide property coverage. For about $.50 cents a day, families can protect students against losses that could otherwise disrupt a semester, making renters insurance a must-have consideration for college families.

The Need for College Tuition Insurance: 
College families are also smart to consider protecting themselves with Tuition Insurance. A 2017 survey of university bursars and health administrators confirmed that 84% of institutions do not provide a 100% refund. Even if the school provides a 100% refund for tuition, most schools do not refund academic fees or student housing.

Tuition insurance can provide up to 100% refund for your expenses if a student gets sick, injured or has to leave school due to a covered reason. Tuition insurance can help cover those costs without the added stress of a financial loss. Many tuition insurance plans provide coverage for not only tuition but also for expenses related to academic fees and student housing.

Research from the American College Health Association demonstrates that many student health issues including illnesses, accidents, and injuries are so serious that they can force a student to withdraw from classes.

“College families are often unaware that the investment they make in a college education can be at risk,” Fees continued. “From theft to student health, college students can be vulnerable to real financial losses that can disrupt their education. GradGuard’s search tool and unique insurance programs, however, make it convenient for college students and their families to protect their investment in higher education.”

Student Life Uncategorized

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.

Career Uncategorized

Essential Questions Regarding Tuition Refunds & Tuition Insurance

June 27, 2019

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.

Today, many parents don’t know the answer to any of the questions above. Most 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 2019 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.  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. Remember to see your personal policy for complete details after you purchase!

This article was updated in July 2020

Student Life Uncategorized

Don’t Expect Your Homeowners Insurance or University to Replace a Stolen Computer or Backpack

March 7, 2019

As nearly 3 million new college students and their families prepare to start college this year, now is an excellent time for parents and students to examine important financial issues that can impact the entire family.

insurance-chart

Students living independently for the first time may mistakenly believe that their parents’ homeowners insurance will protect them.   There may be coverage for students who live on campus but in many cases, homeowners insurance contains high deductibles or eligibility requirements that may exclude certain claims, ultimately making it insufficient or inadequate for college students and their families.

Rental housing expert, Ben Hoglund, CPM, believes that it is incumbent upon student housing providers to educate their residents on the importance of adequate renters insurance protection. “They aren’t going to learn that in class,” proclaimed Hoglund.

Hoglund referenced a survey he conducted titled “Campus Housing Risk Mitigation Study” in which he researched the types, causes and monetary impact of property damage occurring on college campuses across the United States. The study also addressed student and housing provider awareness of available insurance products to mitigate these risks.

The findings show that:

  • 33% of respondents indicated that it is not their policy to require reimbursement for resident-caused fire or property damage in excess of $5,000.
  • Campus policies on required property insurance vary, with many schools having no requirement with regard to renters insurance.
  • 24% of respondents were not aware that some renters insurance products do not include both personal property and liability protections.
  • A majority of respondents estimated that less than 60% of their student residents are aware that they can be held financially responsible for damage to university property for which they are at fault. Vandalism, bicycle theft, and electronics theft are the most reported personal property losses by campus residents.

Due to higher insurance deductibles and low collection rates on resident damages, private sector housing providers have become proactive in their efforts to mitigate property financial losses caused by resident carelessness and negligence.

GradGuard offers renters insurance that covers personal property loss in the case of fire, certain natural disasters, theft, and vandalism, and provides personal liability protection for bodily injuries to another person or for damages to another person’s property if an incident occurs within the rented residence or elsewhere.  Check your policy for complete details and limitations, but in all cases get protected.

Adulting Uncategorized

WSJ – Tuition Insurance Catches On as Costs Rise, Students Struggle to Adjust

August 19, 2018

Appeared in the August 20, 2018, print edition as ‘Demand for Tuition Insurance Is Surging.’

‘The cost of college is driving this,’ ‘

Families cannot afford the loss of $30,000, John Fees – Co-Founder of GradGuard.

As college tuition rises so too has demand for insurance to cover what in many cases is among a family’s biggest investments.

For Mindy DiCostra, a tuition-insurance policy was a life-saver last year after her daughter withdrew mid-semester in her junior year at Marymount Manhattan College in New York following an allergic reaction to an anxiety medication.

Because Ms. DiCostra agreed to pay $238 for tuition insurance when doing paperwork for the school, she was eligible to receive a full reimbursement for the $16,000 in tuition she and her husband had paid for the semester.

“I had no idea how important it would be when I checked that box,” she said.

Tuition insurance protects families in case their son or daughter has to drop out of school past the point at which a school offers tuition reimbursement, usually around halfway through the semester. Driving the increased demand are higher college costs and, to a lesser extent, rising mental-health disorders among college students that have raised concerns among parents that their children may struggle away from home.

About 70,000 policies were written across the U.S. market last year, up from 20,000 five years ago, said John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, which started selling tuition-reimbursement insurance seven years ago. It works with campuses including the University of Pennsylvania, Auburn University and New York University, its website says.

“The cost of college is driving this,” said Mr. Fees. “Families cannot afford the loss of $30,000.”

The average published tuition and fees at a private college has increased to $34,740 in 2017 from $15,160 in 1988 according to the College Board. The numbers are adjusted for inflation.

“I think a lot of families don’t fully grasp that if they have to withdraw midterm it can have a significant financial impact,” said Paige Lee Director of Tuition Insurance at Allianz. College is “the second largest investment most families will ever make” after a home.

Most schools have some sort of reimbursement policy but they generally don’t cover withdrawals during the second half of the semester. At Vanderbilt University, a student will be reimbursed for some portion of his or her tuition and room and board up until about halfway through the semester. After that, they don’t receive anything.

Tuition and housing at Vanderbilt costs about $59,000, and 80% of that can be reimbursed with insurance, which costs about $530, said Chris Cook, who oversees the financial accounts of students at the school.

Several companies provide tuition insurance, Most policies charge in the neighborhood of 1% of the cost of school. A semester that runs $30,000 would cost about $300. At least 200 schools now work with insurers, offering the coverage to families when the pay the tuition bill.

Liberty Mutual Insurance started offering tuition-reimbursement policies this year, in part because of consumer demand. When a student drops out mid-semester parents are often “very surprised to learn that you may not get anything back,” said Michele Chevalier, a senior director at Liberty Mutual.

Not everyone thinks the plans are necessary. Jodi Okun, a college financial adviser in Los Angeles, said she has so far steered her clients away from tuition insurance because she doesn’t feel it is necessary in most cases. However, she has but counseled them to be aware of the timeline for withdrawals, so if a student is struggling with a mental-health issue they can leave in time to recoup the cost.

“I tell them, make sure you know when the deadlines are, especially if they are going far away to school,” she said.

Plans don’t typically cover students who drop out for academic or disciplinary reasons but will for medical reasons. Generally, insurers don’t ask about pre-existing conditions, either mental or physical. The idea, GradGuard’s Mr. Fees said, is: “If a student is healthy enough to start to a semester, they qualify.”

Insurers say that the number of claims they receive citing mental health incidents has risen. As many as one in four students at some elite U.S. colleges are now classified as disabled, largely because of mental-health issues such as depression or anxiety, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and interviews with schools.

Carmen Duarte, a spokesperson for A.W.G. Dewar, Inc. which has been offering tuition-reimbursement policies since the 1930s, said claims have remained flat for physical-health incidents but increased for mental-health reasons. She said policies are most likely to be bought by families of first year students. Allianz Insurance, which began selling the policies in 2015, said about 20% of claims were for mental health and 70% were for physical health.

Write to Douglas Belkin at doug.belkin@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications
Michele Chevalier is a senior director at Liberty Mutual. An earlier version of this article misspelled her first name. (Aug. 19)

 

Safety Uncategorized

The Case for Tuition Insurance

August 17, 2018

The most gratifying experience as a founder of a business is to hear directly from customers who benefit from a product you have helped to create. Indeed, as our GradGuard tuition insurance customer says in this brief testimonial video and statement.

“Tuition Insurance was such a lifesaver. It should be an option on every college and university website.” – Mindy D., parent of a college student daughter who used GradGuard’s tuition insurance from Allianz.

Bill Suneson and I co-founded GradGuard 10 years ago with the mission to help protect the investment students and families make in higher education. Thanks to GradGuard’s collaboration with Allianz Global Assistance – it is now easier than ever before for college students and their families to receive valuable protection for the investment they make in higher education.

If you have a student in college, you need to be sure you know what the refund policy is and ask the school if they provide tuition insurance. Though today only about 300 colleges and universities offer tuition insurance, most school leaders surveyed agree that it should be as convenient for families to protect a $30,000 or more investment in college as it is for consumers to protect a $300 vacation with travel insurance.

For good reason, according to the College Board’s 2019 Trends in College Pricing – the average published prices in 2019-20 including room and board are $38,330 for public institutions and $46,870 for private non-profit institutions.

According to the 2018 Allianz Tuition Insurance College Confidence Index, parents are growing more concerned about their child’s ability to finish college without needing to withdraw, though students’ level of confidence in finishing held steady. However, both still see significant financial implications of an early college withdrawal, estimating a loss of about $10,000. What is equally concerning is that the 2018 Index indicates 73% of parents are unaware of the refund policy of their college or university.

With so much money at stake, it is smart for college families to make a plan in case their student is forced to withdraw from school due to a bad bout of mono, mental illness or injury. The Fall 2019 study by the American College Health Association, demonstrates the impact of student health issues on academics. Below is a partial list of the conditions that students report impact their academic performance, defined as: received a lower grade on an exam, or an important project; received a lower grade in the course; received an incomplete or dropped the course; or experienced a significant disruption in thesis, dissertation, research, or practicum work;

• Depression: 23 %
• Cold/Flu/Sore throat: 16 %
• Death of a friend or family member: 9 %
• Bronchitis/Strep throat: 2.3 %
• Chronic health problem or serious illness: 22.8 %
• Alcohol use: 2.2 %
• Injury: 2.7 %
• Drug use: 1.7 %

This is where tuition insurance can be particularly valuable to a family or student that finds one of these conditions to be serious enough to force them to withdraw from college. Though it may seem a bit like an advertisement, here are some conclusions for why tuition insurance is a smart decision.

  1. If you can’t afford to lose the investment you are making in your semester of school – Tuition insurance can provide up to 100% refund for your expenses if a student gets sick, injured or is forced to leave school for a covered reason. Tuition insurance can 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? A majority of school refund policies do not extend beyond the fifth week of the semester, and many don’t refund the full cost of tuition after the start of classes. Be sure to check with your school to see what their policy is and how much money is at risk.
  3. If you have additional academic expenses – Even if the school provides a 100% refund for tuition, most schools do not refund academic fees or student housing. Many tuition insurance plans provide coverage for not only tuition but also for expenses related to academic fees and student housing.

Tuition insurance is available through GradGuard and more than a hundred school-specific programs. 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

Adulting Uncategorized

Three Assumptions That Can Cost College Families

August 9, 2018

As nearly 3 million new college students and their families prepare to start college this year, now is an excellent time for parents and students to examine important financial issues that can impact the entire family. The cost of college is frequently among the largest investments a family and student make.

As a result, it is important to prepare for and reduce the potential and unintended costs surrounding college life.  A key place to start is to evaluate your assumptions about college life and explore alternatives for how you can protect your investment in a college education.

1. My child’s health insurance is covered by his school

Some schools offer health insurance, others do not. First, you should check to see if your student is covered by your family health insurance plan. Be sure to verify what the college’s coverage requirements are and be sure to check the bursar’s statement bill to see if you have been billed for health insurance.

If you have been billed for student health insurance by your college, but sure to let them know if you have coverage so you can “waive” the coverage. 

If you do not waive the coverage, your student will be billed for health insurance.

2. Campus housing will pay for my student’s damaged or stolen property

There are an average of 24,254 annual burglaries reported on college campuses and an average of 2,129 annual fires reported in on-campus student housing.   Parents are smart to review their home insurance policies closely for certain limitations. Most policies provide some coverage for students away at college (often up to 10% of the policy limits) but may limit that coverage to full time or on-campus students only. Additionally, filing small claims against a home policy may result in higher premiums or be subjected to high deductibles.

If you can’t afford to replace your student’s stolen or damaged property (like a backpack), then purchasing renters insurance for about fifty cents a day is a smart idea. 

GradGuard’s renter’s insurance is the only policy that includes an exclusive student endorsement that provides coverage designed for college life.

3. If my child gets sick or injured, the college will refund tuition and fees

Most colleges do not provide a complete refund to students who are forced to withdraw mid-term that is a result of a medical injury or illness. In fact, only 16% of schools surveyed in 2017 reported that they provide a refund for tuition.  All virtually all schools will not provide a refund for academic fees or room and board.  hough some schools may provide a partial refund for tuition up through the fifth week of school, nearly all schools do not refund the costs beyond tuition such as books and academic fees. As a result, tuition insurance is a smart alternative to protect your college investment from a potential loss.

If you can’t afford the cost of an extra semester, then tuition insurance is a smart idea.  Just remember that tuition insurance must be purchased prior to the first day of classes.

Remember that the best way to manage risks facing your student and the investment you are making in college is to be aware of where your student may be vulnerable.  Asking the right questions and considering how to protect yourself from an unexpected financial loss can help your student stay focused on their goal of college graduation.

Safety Uncategorized

Testimonial – “Tuition Insurance Was Such a Lifesaver”

July 20, 2018

The best way to understand the value of GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance to schools and college families is to hear from a customer who enrolled in the program. Indeed, as our customer says:

“Tuition Insurance was such a lifesaver. It should be an option on every college and university website,” – Mindy D., parent of a college student daughter who used Allianz tuition insurance.

Watch below to hear her explain how she considered protecting her daughter and how tuition insurance enabled her to avoid a large financial loss when she became ill during the semester.

Thanks to GradGuard’s collaboration with Allianz Global Assistance – it is now easier than ever before for college students and their families to receive valuable protection for the investment they make in higher education.

If your school does not provide 100% refunds, it is useful for parents to ask the school to do so.  Most school leaders surveyed agreed that it should be as convenient for families to protect a $30,000 or more investment in college as it is for consumers to protect a $300 vacation with travel insurance.

We are thankful that we worked closely with the school where Mindy’s daughter was enrolled.  As a college parent, she expresses clearly the value of tuition insurance and the peace of mind it provided to her and her family as they cared for the well-being of her child.