Along with masks and hand sanitizer, students headed back to the classroom are bringing coverage.
As college students head back to their classrooms this year, they’re bringing tuition insurance along with the protection of their masks and hand sanitizer.
The hope is that they will be able to protect their investments into their education.
The uncertainty from COVID-19 and the widespread shutdowns and lockdowns faced during the last school year have made this year’s students understandably leery. At the same time that they take precautions to help protect themselves against exposure or spreading the virus during the pandemic, they are also upping their coverage. They are seeking additional protection through tuition insurance policies to protect them in the event that cancellations place their tuition, fees, and even residence room and board payments at risk.
Students are seeking the peace of mind of knowing that they have the potential for a refund if this school year faces a local outbreak or widespread additional wave.
“More students than ever before are starting the fall semester with tuition insurance,” said GradGuard’s Natalie Tarangioli. GradGuard is the largest student fee coverage provider in the United States. “Inquiries have just gone up dramatically,” she added in a WGBH report.
The sale of tuition insurance policies has skyrocketed when compared to the same time last year.
According to GradGuard, its sales figures have doubled in comparison to the number of policy sales it had made by this point in 2019. The insurer has been partnering with colleges across the country since the Great Recession of 2008. Among its partnered colleges include Suffolk, Brandeis and Harvard.
That said, the number of colleges offering this type of added insurance policy is still in the minority in the United States. Moreover, very few colleges offer their own refunds for deposits on room and board or fees for classes in the case of many forms of cancellation.
Instead, it is more commonplace for colleges to implement a tiered refunds system instead of tuition insurance. The tiered system applies in case students should withdraw from their classes within their first few weeks of classes. They will usually receive varying levels of refund based on the amount of time that has passed, until a certain cut-off point when no refunds are available. Consumer advocates have expressed concern about these coverage limitations and the cost that could be faced by those who can least afford it.