By VALERIE WHITNEY, – DAYTONA BEACH — Not everyone who heads off to college will complete a degree.
“Serious illness, death of a loved one and other unpredictable occurrences have led to students withdrawing and leaving institutions — usually without any reimbursement.
‘Life happens,’ said John Fees, CEO of Next Generation Insurance Group.
Fees’ company hopes to lessen the financial sting of quitting college with tuition-reimbursement insurance.
The idea behind the insurance is not new. A.W.G. Dewar Inc. of Quincy, Mass., began selling tuition-reimbursement insurance in 1930 and remains one of the biggest sellers. But Dewar’s plan is aimed at families with children in private college and universities.
Next Generation recently began offering GradGuard, a national group policy available to students at any college. The program provides up to $50,000 of annual tuition insurance for the nonrefunded financial loss associated with attending college. Included in the package also is coverage for identify theft, emergency medical evacuation and even personal-computer coverage. The cost is $239 a year and up, depending on the level of coverage.
‘It’s a great product. We feel there was a real need out there,’ Fees said in a telephone interview from his office in Phoenix.
Until now, the family investment in tuition and related expenses — which averages about $15,000 for a public college and $35,000 for a private college annually — was a gamble, he said.
The GradGuard program covers verifiable losses connected to the cost of attendance. This includes nonrefunded tuition payments, as well as academic fees, room and board, books and travel to and from campus. The plan is available for undergraduate or graduate programs and can be purchased at any time, but it must be for an accredited institution.
Next Generation developed the program for College Parents of America, a national organization made up of current and future college parents.
‘Not all families need $50,000 of annual coverage, but nearly every student would benefit from having at least $5,000 of annual coverage. Even if a college has a generous refund policy, it is unlikely a student will ever be refunded the cost of academic fees, books or room and board,’ said James A. Boyle, president of College Parents of America.”
Congratulations to Valerie for doing her research and finding out the rest of the story related to the value of tuition insurance for college students and their families.