Tuition insurance can offer financial comfort

Keith Hartman, Features Editor

For some, the idea of withdrawing from classes can be not only stressful, but also financially harmful. But students with tuition insurance can at least avoid the financial turmoil.

Tuition insurance is a service offered students to cover them should a medical emergency or accident arise.

“It’s a great stress-reliever for parents with students going off to their first semester at college.” said Andy Martinson of A.W.G. Dewar of Quincy, Mass.

Policies cover illness or accidents, but not if students drop out or get sidetracked. It does not cover if a student does poorly in classes, is addicted to drugs or is expelled from a university.

“We can only cover the student if they have a valid medical issue that takes them from classes.

“We’ll cover the full tuition, room and board and mandatory fees for activities that go with the semester,” said Martinson.

Dewar has been offering insurance since 1930 and works with over 1,300 colleges, most being private or elite–but not individual students.

Other companies like Markel of Glen Allen, Va and Grad-Guard of Boston, Mass have begun to offer individual plans with the same criteria as Dewar.

Typically, coverage costs are between 1 and 5 percent of the face value of the year’s tuition.

This service is not for every consumer.

According to, it is generally not recommended for college students except when the student has a serious illness that may force the student to withdraw from school.

Since most 17-to 20 year-olds are healthy, tuition insurance is often not financially worthwhile, but may provide peace of mind.

Pitt–Johnstown does not offer any guidance for tuition refund insurance assistance.

“It sounds like a terrific idea for students with issues to help with the financial aspect of leaving college,” said Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Newman.

Even though this insurance covers the financial aspect of the withdraw, leaving school early may have academic consequences.

“It doesn’t solve the issue of federal loans when students withdraw from classes,” said Newman.

Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs’ secretary Diane Lenio estimates that 20 students have left Pitt-Johnstown during the current and last semester due to medical or family medical issues.

Students may be turned down in the future for loans after returning from their hiatus, due to incompleted courses on their record or a low grade-point average.

Unfortunately, there is not much college administrators can do for a student in regard to their record if illness takes them from classes.