Even before the pandemic, Eden Schiano, 19, had concerns about her freshman year.

Schiano suffered from anorexia in high school and wasn’t sure how fall 2020 would go as a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Being largely isolated in her dormitory quickly took its toll. “I was in my dorm, taking online classes and starting to lose weight,” she said. In October, Schiano decided to retire.

Whether because of mental illness or concerns about Covid, the number of students taking time off has skyrocketed in the past year.

However, withdrawing in the middle of the semester could be associated with high financial costs.

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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

Source: GradGuard

There is another way of doing it: Many schools also offer protection from outside lessons or this can be obtained directly from a provider such as GradGuard or AWG Dewar.

Tuition insurance, also known as Tuition Reimbursement Insurance, generally covers families for medical or psychological reasons, with some obvious exclusions, such as:

GradGuard’s tuition insurance starts at $ 39.95 for $ 2,500 per semester, although most families buy $ 10,000 per semester in insurance that starts at $ 106 to cover their own expenses with no loans and grants protect. This covers tuition fees as well as financial losses from room and board and tuition fees.

Schiano said her tuition insurance helped ease pressure to stay in school despite her deteriorating condition.

“It took away the shame and guilt factor of having to go and feel like it was going to be such a burden on my parents,” she said.

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Even though nearly two-thirds of parents, or 63%, said their child’s plans after high school returned to what they were before the coronavirus crisis, cost remains a top concern.

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 awards 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.

At the same time, Covid cases are on the rise again, and the possibility of further campus closures has sparked renewed interest in college reimbursement policies and tuition insurance.

Trisha Jung recently bought a GradGuard policy for her stepdaughter, who will be a junior at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. “It just seemed like a good idea based on the world of today.”

Jung, who is from Nashville, Tennessee, said she wouldn’t have considered doing this before the pandemic. “Life is full of unexpected events,” she said.

“Since the beginning of Covid, we’ve seen dramatic interest from schools, students and families,” said Natalie Tarangioli, Marketing Director at GradGuard, which 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 would get Covid; There are additional mental health and wellbeing concerns this year, ”Tarangioli said.

“We have already more than doubled the number of tuition insurance policies sold this fall compared to last year,” she added.

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