Consumer Reports: College Tuition Insurance

The cost of a private four-year college now averages $42,000 per year. That's a big investment. Should you consider tuition insurance so that you can be reimbursed if your child has to leave before the end of the year? It is sold through educational institutions, although not all schools offer it. If they do, you'll most likely get a brochure in the orientation packet you get before the semester starts.

Tuition insurance can range from under $300 to well over $600 per year. But Consumer Reports says that might not be money well spent.

Most tuition insurance only covers withdrawals for medical and mental-health issues. But there are a lot of other reasons students withdraw. Two companies that provide tuition insurance to hundreds of colleges and universities—A.W.G. Dewar and Markel, through Gradguard—say they won't cover withdrawals due to parent job loss, or academic or disciplinary issues. And Consumer Reports says the policies may not even cover every medical emergency.

For instance, injuries related to alcohol or drug abuse probably won't be covered. And if it's an injury that gets worse during school, it may not be covered if it happened before the policy went into effect.

Keep in mind, too, the school may refund some part of tuition and room and board costs depending on when the student withdraws.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.

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