GradGuard, one of the largest providers of student insurance programs in the country, has broken another barrier in the tuition protection landscape by becoming the first and only program in the country to cover mental health as a condition, according to a recent press release. The increase in student mental health concerns looms as another risk to the investments families make when paying for college.
“The growth of mental health conditions in college students is a real risk to the investment families are making in higher education. Though colleges and universities are providing robust services to support their students, they are unlikely to provide a refund if a student cannot complete the semester,” said John Fees, GradGuard’s co-founder and Managing Director. “If a student has a controlled pre-existing condition like serious anxiety or mental health conditions, and they are medically cleared to attend school, we will cover them. If they must withdraw under the recommendation of a licensed professional in their state, tuition insurance can cover their housing, their tuition, and student fees. GradGuard’s tuition insurance can help reduce the stress students face in these situations and help everyone focus on the well-being of the student.”
GradGuard’s coverage of mental health comes as data confirms the spike of mental health cases on college and university campuses. Among the concerning trends:
• 2020 report by the American College Health Association found more than half of nearly 9,000 students surveyed experienced anxiety or depression
• A nationwide study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that rates of moderate to severe anxiety and depression among U.S. college students rose substantially over the last few years, from 18% and 23% to 34% and 41%, respectively.
• A survey by the American Council on Education in 2020 found 68% of college and university presidents say student mental health and well-being is a top concern
Like it did with COVID-19, GradGuard – thanks to its partnership with Allianz Global Assistance – is the only insurance program provider in the country to reimburse up to 100% of the financial losses when a student needs to withdraw because of a covered reason such as covered mental or covered physical illness.
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. However, GradGuard’s tuition insurance can provide a refund for the total cost of college when a school may not.
“As we have been since our beginning, we’re going to be there for schools and families to support students on their path towards graduation,” said Fees. “If COVID-19 demonstrates one thing, schools and students are financially vulnerable. It should be clear to students and families that higher education institutions cannot afford to provide refunds and families should not expect to get a refund if their student is forced to leave school because of mental health issues, CO1VID-19, accidents, injuries, or many other reasons, including the unexpected death of a tuition payor.”
“The idea of losing money can create even more financial stress for students and their parents. GradGuard enables students and families to make the decision on whether to withdraw is based on the well-being of their student and not just the money at risk. GradGuard’s tuition insurance provides affordable coverage up to 100% of the cost of college including student housing, tuition and academic charges,” added Fees. “In addition, each policy also includes Student Life Assistance that helps families through the logistics that may accompany an unexpected student withdrawal.
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