Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we've received more questions than ever before about the benefit of purchasing tuition insurance. Estrela Founder Kristina Dooley was recently quoted in the New York Times on this topic (see article linked below).
If you're considering tuition insurance, here are three tips to consider before pulling the plug:
1: Check out the refund policies at the college your child will be attending. Many colleges have policies that may surprise you. It's better to inquire about how they may be able to work with your family in the case that your child needs to withdraw for a semester or entirely. The last thing a college wants is for a student to withdraw. Talk with them to see what solutions they may have in place. (PRO TIP: If you decide after this that you'd like to move forward with purchasing tuition insurance, check to see if you can do it through the university. They will often have better rates than going directly through the insurance provider.)
2: Look at how the college has handled their safety protocols during the pandemic. Many colleges and universities had incredibly minimal COVID case counts on campus over the past year. Others...quite the opposite. If you're concerned about your child possibly contracting the virus, knowing how the college plans to keep students safe may help. (PRO TIP: You can see the campus case counts from the 2020-21 academic year here and be sure to look at the specific safety guidelines posted on individual college websites.)
3: Check out what remote learning options may be in place for students. During the pandemic many colleges have implemented robust remote learning opportunities for students. While most schools will likely return to fully in-person learning, it's possible that colleges will retain a distance option for students who need to be away from campus due to illness from COVID or even a mental health break. Colleges have invested a great deal in technology over the past year and have learned a lot about how to balance virtual and in-person learning. Ask your college what options may exist in case your child needs to be away from campus for medical reasons.
If, after you've done your due diligence, you feel like tuition insurance may be something for you to consider, make sure you're aware of what is or is not covered. For example, will a pre-existing condition be covered? What about a leave for mental health reasons?Also, be sure you know when the deadlines are to purchase plans each semester and do some research to see which company is best for your needs. Finally, the average cost of tuition insurance is about 1-2% of tuition, room and board and fees. For many this small investment may make sense. Because each family situation is different, it's important to due your homework to figure out what's best for you.
College Tuition Insurance Gains Attention in Pandemic
By Ann Carrns, New York Times (login may be required)
Aug. 6, 2021
A version of this article appears in print on Aug. 7, 2021, Section B, Page 6 of the New York edition with the headline: Tuition Insurance Gains Attention, but Read the Fine Print. Click here to view a PDF of the print edition.