A year ago, rising coronavirus cases ended the fall semester at many universities abruptly when classes began.
This year, too, the Delta variant threatens school closings again. And the possibility of further campus closures has sparked renewed interest in college refund policies and tuition insurance.
According to a survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, about 78% of colleges and universities plan to resume all classroom courses for the fall, and only 19% plan a mix of classroom and online courses.
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However, some colleges and universities have already announced that they will start remotely due to rising cases of Covid, including the University of Texas at San Antonio and Stanislaus State in California.
“Due to the Delta variant of Covid-19 and the need to reduce potential exposures on campus, we are temporarily postponing the start of face-to-face teaching and resettlement plans until October 1,” said Stanislaus President Ellen Junn in a letter the community.
For most students, distance learning is a poor substitute for face-to-face teaching. And almost everyone says it’s not worth the same high cost.
“Paying full price for a fraction of the college experience is going to piss off a lot of people,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub.
Almost half of the students believe universities haven’t done enough to support them during the pandemic, a recent report from WalletHub found.
In the future, some families will become more proactive about protecting their investments.
Laura Hoder, 52, recently purchased a tuition refund policy for her daughter who will be a junior at Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts. “It is unknown what will happen to Covid,” she said.
Hoder, who works as a nurse in Fairfield, Connecticut, said she wanted the extra coverage also because of her job and the increased risk posed by her family. “There’s an added level of fear just because of what I’ve seen and know,” she said.
Laura Hoder with her daughter at Dean College.
Source: Laura Hoder
While a number of colleges and universities have announced that they will reimburse fees and room and board if campus closes again, reimbursement policies vary from school to school – and almost all have drawn the line on tuition.
Depending on when a student de-signs out during a semester, a school’s refund policy can reimburse a significant amount (especially if it is done within the first month or so of the semester, although this varies by school).
However, refunds are usually staggered and most schools don’t give any money back after the fifth week of classes.
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Typical refund policy for schools
Many schools now also offer protection from outside lessons or can be purchased directly from a provider such as GradGuard or AWG Dewar up to the first day of class.
Tuition insurance, also known as Tuition Reimbursement Insurance, generally covers families for medical or psychological reasons, with some obvious exclusions, such as:
GradGuard tuition insurance starts at $ 39.95 for $ 2,500 per semester coverage. Most families, however, buy $ 10,000 per term insurance coverage starting at $ 106 to cover their expenses, excluding loans and grants. This covers tuition fees as well as financial losses from room and board and tuition fees.
Since the beginning of Covid, we have seen dramatic interest from schools, students and families.
Marketing manager at GradGuard
“Since the beginning of Covid, we’ve seen dramatic interest from schools, students and families,” said Natalie Tarangioli, Marketing Director of GradGuard. The company now works with more than 400 universities.
Before the pandemic, health conditions such as mononucleosis and pneumonia were among the top diseases that stood in the way of timely or even conclusion.
“The real concern last year was that the students were getting Covid,” said Tarangioli. There are additional concerns this year given the Delta variant, mental health and well-being, and other risks, she added. “Sales are more than four times as high as in 2019 and twice as high as in 2020.”
Even though 63% of parents said their child’s plans after high school have returned to what they were before the coronavirus crisis, cost remains a top concern.
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Tuition and fees plus room and board for a four-year private college averaged $ 50,770 for the 2020-21 school year. It was $ 22,180 at four-year state colleges, according to the College Board, which tracks trends in college pricing and student grants.
When you add other expenses, the total bill can be in excess of $ 70,000 a year for students at some private colleges, or even for students out of state attending public four-year schools.
While the cost of a four-year college degree continues to skyrocket, tuition insurance is relatively inexpensive, said Nick Holeman, director of financial planning at Betterment.
Additionally, some tuition insurance policies will reimburse you for up to 100% of the total cost of attending – not just tuition fees – including room and board and even books and other materials.
However, not all policies offer the same level of protection, added Holeman.
“Many Covid-19 tuition fee insurances only pay out if your child actually falls ill with the disease,” he said. “So you will not be reimbursed if you pull your child out due to Delta variant concerns or future outbreaks.”
“You are also non-refundable if your child’s college changes their teaching method from face-to-face to virtual,” added Holeman, which means you can still be hooked on college courses through Zoom.
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