Why Every College Family Should Consider Tuition Insurance

For many college families, higher education is one of the most significant investments they will ever make. With so much money at stake, college students and their parents need a plan for the unexpected if their student is forced to withdraw from school due to a severe injury or illness. 

Even if the pandemic is not in full force, many other health concerns are sweeping college campuses around the country.

One of the biggest challenges in 2023 is college student mental health.

What is Tuition Insurance?

For most of the 20 million college students and their families, the financial loss of an entire college semester is significant enough to break the bank. According to the College Confidence Index, a 2022 survey by GradGuard and College Pulse, 74% of students and 66% of parents say they are unfamiliar with the tuition refund policy at their school.

Unfortunately, most colleges and universities don’t provide 100% refunds.

GradGuard Tuition Insurance, on the other hand, can protect your school investment and provide reimbursement for lost tuition payments, academic fees, and housing costs if you have to completely withdraw due to a covered injury, illness, or mental health condition.

College is fun to meet new people, create memorable experiences, and learn. That’s not to say it doesn’t come without risks. Tens of thousands of dollars are on the line, and college families should consider purchasing tuition insurance before the start of the semester.

Tuition Insurance: What’s Protected?

Tuition insurance may not have been necessary for all families to consider 30 years ago when higher education was more widely affordable and school refunds were more generous. But things have changed.

According to the College Board, the average tuition, fees, and room and board costs are around $27,330 per year for a state school and $55,800 at a private university.

Given the high cost of college and less generous refund policies, tuition insurance is an essential benefit colleges and universities can offer to protect their students. 

Protection for Covered Major Injuries and Illnesses, Including Getting Sick with COVID-19

Even before the pandemic, ordinary medical conditions, not just COVID-19, were a source of significant financial losses for students and schools.

The College Confidence Index by GradGuard and College Pulse also found that 40% of college students considered leaving school as of July 2022.

The Fall of 2022 and Spring of 2023 National Student Health Assessments from the American College Health Association data reveal some of the everyday risks college students and their families face. This is how they negatively impacted students’ degree completion:

ConditionStudents AffectedOf Those Affected, Percentage of Students Negatively Impacted
Mononucleosis (mono)2.02%53.9%

PTSD, Acute Stress Disorder, Adjustment Disorder, or another trauma- or stressor-related condition
Influenza (flu) or flu-like illness: 12.56%48.9%
Cold/virus or other respiratory illness: 19.63%42.2%
Orthopedic injury (broken bone, fracture, sprain, etc.):9.25%33.23%
Death of a friend/family member: 25.6%43.59%
Long COVID/Post-COVID Condition2.39%12.3%
Based on GradGuard’s analysis of data from the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 American College Health Association-National College Health Assessments

Some students arrive at college with ongoing chronic conditions that may interfere with their studies, such as anxiety and depression. GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance includes a pre-existing medical condition waiver. Accordingly, if the criteria of the waiver is met, the exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions is waived and the student may be eligible for reimbursement for losses resulting from a pre-existing medical condition.

Mental Health Benefits Included

Now more than ever, the focus is on how the pandemic and current social climate have dramatically impacted college students’ mental health and well-being. 

GradGuard Tuition Insurance can reimburse up to 100% of school payments after a mid-semester withdrawal due to a covered mental health condition. The growth in student mental health concerns is another risk to families’ investments when paying for college. 

Among the Troubling Trends:

  • National Student Clearinghouse Persistence and Retention report from June 2022 found that 113,000 students took leaves of absence in 2021
  • The Journal of American College Health conducted a study that found 63% of students reported at least mild anxiety, and 73% reported at least mild depression. In comparison, 15% reported severe anxiety, and 23% reported severe depression.
  • 2022 American Council on Education survey found that only 24% of college and university presidents say that their institution has “sufficient capacity” to meet students’ mental health needs.

Room and Board and Academic Fees are Also Protected

Even if the school does provide you with a 100% refund for tuition, most schools do not refund academic fees or student housing.

GradGuard Tuition Insurance can protect more than just the cost of tuition, like room and board and academic fees. Most higher education institutions only provide a partial tuition refund during the first five weeks of a semester, and virtually no schools provide refunds for academic fees or housing. 

Who is Tuition Insurance for?

Many students and college families should consider the benefits of having protection if something goes awry. As we have mentioned, many reasons protect against the high costs of attending school.

  • Students/families paying for their own college tuition
  • Students taking out loans
  • Students studying abroad outside of the United States but still paying tuition to a U.S. institution.
  • International students studying in the U.S.

Why these groups? Because the risk of losing thousands of dollars if something were to happen would be enough for a student to never return to college.


More than 20 million college students are ready to head to campus in the fall. After a challenging few years due to the pandemic and rise in inflation, families are looking for ways to protect their investments from the unexpected. 

By working with more than 500 colleges and universities nationwide, GradGuard can offer students and their families robust and affordable protection for up to 100% of the cost of college, including student housing, tuition, and academic fees. Each plan also includes Student Life Assistance, which can help families through the logistics accompanying an unexpected student withdrawal. GradGuard’s mission is all about helping more students graduate. With tuition insurance protection, students forced to withdraw are given the rare opportunity for a do-over

Major or chronic illnesses, accidents, and injuries frequently happen, even to young and healthy college students. The good news is that college families can protect their investment in higher education by purchasing tuition insurance. Visit GradGuard.com/Tuition to see the plans available on your campus. 

Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply, including for pre-existing conditions.  Plans only available to U.S. residents and may not be available in all jurisdictions.  Recommended and provided by Grad Guard, a service of Next Generation Insurance Group, LLC (NGI), the licensed agent for all insurance programs.  AGA Service Company, dba Allianz Global Assistance (AGA), compensates GradGuard, their national program management partner, for the marketing, distribution and administration of the products. Insurance plans include insurance benefits and assistance services.  Pricing may vary by state.  Insurance benefits are underwritten by Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233) rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., A+ (Superior) is the 2nd highest standard of A.M. Best’s 13 Financial Strength Ratings.  Non-insurance benefits/services are provided by AGA Service Company.  Claims are administered by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA).  Allianz Global Assistance is a mark of AGA Service Company or its affiliates.  AGA Service Company is an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company.  Plans include insurance benefits and assistance services.  Except as expressly provided for under the plan, consumer is responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors.  Contact AGA Service Company at 888-427-5045 or 9950 Mayland Dr., Richmond, VA  23233 ortuition@allianzassistance.com. Schools do not receive compensation for purchase.

Blog Updated: 2/13/2024