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Higher education is one of the largest investments many people make. Tuition insurance can protect that investment by reimbursing some or all of the tuition, housing costs, and fees paid if a student must leave school early for a covered reason.

College degrees have become mandatory for many career fields — 3 in 4 newly created jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree. That’s why more than 20 million students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the United States in 2022.

Because higher education is no longer viewed as an optional steppingstone to a career, many students jump head-first into programs without realizing the financial investment it will take to pursue a degree.

The current average cost of a four-year degree for an in-state student living on campus at a public university is just over $104,000, and that’s assuming the student graduates on time. In the 2022 College Confidence Index, 52% of families surveyed said it would be difficult to pay for an extra semester.

Second only to purchasing a home, funding higher education is one of the largest investments most families make. Protecting this investment is critical, so students and their families should take the time to know what options they have for recouping their funds if the student is forced to withdraw from classes.


Few if any students begin a degree program with no plan to finish, but circumstances can quickly change.

Over 40% of students said they considered withdrawing from school in the past year, according to the State of Higher Education Report (Lumina Foundation/Gallup), with more than half citing emotional stress as their reason for withdrawing. Further, a study by the National Student Clearinghouse found that 1 in 4 first-year college students don’t return for their second year.

While it’s common to leave college for a variety of reasons before graduating, studies show that most students (74%) and their parents (66%) aren’t familiar with their school’s refund policy. This information should be available to research on every school’s website, but most will only issue a partial refund for tuition if a student withdraws within the first few weeks of classes. And schools will typically offer nothing back if a student leaves later in the term, regardless of the reason.

Tuition insurance

John Fees

Co-Founder and CEO, GradGuard

“For many families, the potential loss of $10,000 or $20,000 — or even more — could be devastating, and that’s where it’s worth it for families to consider protecting their investment in higher education.”

If a student is forced to medically withdraw from classes after the refund window has passed, tuition insurance can help them recover some or all of their investment. When purchased before the first day of classes, this insurance can reimburse tuition, housing, and fees if they must leave school for a covered reason, such as injury, illness, mental health condition, or other covered reason.

“For around 1-2% of the cost of what families pay per term, tuition insurance can provide peace of mind,” said John Fees, co-founder and CEO of tuition insurance provider GradGuard.

GradGuard is the only company in the country that can reimburse up to 100% of tuition, housing, and fees for the covered term. Depending on the situation and the coverage amount selected, that could save a student and their family tens of thousands of dollars.

“Most schools don’t provide a refund for tuition if a student were to leave after the first few weeks of school, and virtually none provide a refund for housing and fees,” Fees said. “For many families, the potential loss of $10,000 or $20,000 — or even more — could be devastating, and that’s where it’s worth it for families to consider protecting their investment in higher education.”

Enrolling is simple — if a school has partnered with GradGuard, it most often will appear as an add-on option that can be selected when paying for tuition online, similar to how one would purchase travel insurance. Plans can be purchased on an annual or per-term basis, and are also available on GradGuard’s website. GradGuard also offers renters insurance to protect student property and includes liability coverage.

College is well worth the investment for students — so long as they graduate. Tuition insurance can help protect that investment. To learn more and get a quote, visit

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