College checklist: textbooks, meal plan, tuition insurance...

By Emily Hutto


Young adults heading off to college this fall are likely covered under their parents’ health insurance plans until they’re 26, so they don’t have to think about insurance for a few more years… right?

Wrong. An article on Huffington Post last week listed the many kinds of insurance that college students and their parents should at least consider before entering into the land of tuition fees and text books. On the list are health, auto, personal property, life, travel and tuition insurance.

Tuition insurance is new to me. I never knew that students (or their parents) can purchase insurance on their tuition in case of illness or death. During college, I knew at least one friend every term who had to drop out for that quarter, most often because they contracted mono. They really could have used that tuition money to pay for their medical bills.

The Huffington Post article quotes Mark Kantrowitz, the founder of the financial aid site, who says that tuition insurance is expensive and usually unnecessary. It concludes, though, that tuition insurance is critical for students who have medical issues, or who don’t have financial aid. It provides priceless peace of mind.

GradGuard is one of the few companies offering this kind of peace of mind. Its insurance refunds tuition fees, as well as the cost of books and unused room and board. “ coverage starts at an annual payment of $239 for $5,000 in coverage for a semester, or $10,000 for the year, and ranges up to $599 for $25,000 for a semester or $50,000 for the year,” reports Huffington Post.

Some of the other companies offering tuition insurance are Next Generation Insurance Group, Markel Insurance Company, Education Insurance Plans and A.W.G. Dewar Inc.

Seems to me that tuition insurance is like catastrophe insurance: You don’t want it until you need it. And much like tornadoes and forest fires, you can’t exactly predict an onslaught of the mono virus.