coronavirus pandemic

College Tuition Insurance Policies Grow More Popular During Pandemic

Does a college reimburse tuition if the student has to withdraw? Tuition insurance aims to cover the gap

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Parents and students spend thousands of dollars on college tuition. But if the student gets sick and has to withdraw, do they get reimbursed? Tuition insurance has become more popular as an option during the pandemic and some policies are making changes to cover COVID-19.

College tuition is often non-refundable. So, is tuition insurance right for you?

John Fees co-founded the tuition insurance agency GradGuard. It provides a refund policy on deposits, academic fees, housing, and tuition in the event a student has to drop out due to medical or mental health emergencies.

GradGuard is one of several agencies that offer college tuition coverage like Liberty Mutual and Dewars.

“Families are looking at paying for college just like any other consumer purchase. They’re in a situation where they’re asking about the refund policy. They’re trying to figure out what happens in the worst-case scenarios,” Fees said.

Now GradGuard is adding COVID-19 to its coverage.

"If a student gets sick, they get mono. They have a mental health crisis. They become addicted to something or they have a concussion from an injury, we developed a program that addresses these common illnesses and common events in students' lives," Fees said.

Out of the 179 schools GradGuard surveyed last year, it reported only 6% provided 100% refunds. None offer refunds for academic fees and housing.

The University of San Diego has extended the withdrawal deadline to Sept 10 so, that students who withdraw, can receive 100% of their tuition reimbursement. After that, it’s a prorated amount of up to 50%. This does not include fees or deposits.

San Diego State students receive a full refund of tuition and some fees if they withdraw before the first day of the term. After that, it's prorated up to the 60% point of the term.

At UC San Diego, prior to the first day of instruction, tuition and some fees are refunded in full, minus a 5% admin charge. After that, it depends on a quarter or semester schedule and a sliding percentage scale.

Read the fine print to find out about pre-existing conditions, COVID-19, and specific medical conditions and accidents it does or does not cover.

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