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Tuition insurance available for college students in New Jersey

 – Photo by Maegan Kae Sunaz

Lo and behold! Tuition insurance is now available for college students at Rutgers and other students in the state of New Jersey.

Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance, said the agency began offering tuition insurance in July in Arizona, and is now offering insurance to nine states, including New Jersey.

“The insurance covers non-refundable tuition, fees and room and board and will reimburse those costs when an insured student has to unexpectedly leave college for a serious illness, injury or mental health issue,” Durazo said.

New Jersey is one of the prime targets for the unveiling of tuition insurance by the agency, according to NJBIZ, especially because of the student population.

“Tuition expenses in New Jersey are the fourth highest in the nation, and almost $4,000 above the national average,” Durazo said. “We believe that when tuition expenses are high as they are in New Jersey, this is a significant investment that should be protected by insurance.”

Allianz offers three different plans, which provide different levels of coverage at different price points, Durazo said.

These plans vary from an "essential plan," which reimburses students up to $2,500 of lost tuition and fees if a student has to withdraw for covered illness or injury, to an "advantage plan" that provides the added protection of allowing withdrawal for an unforeseen reason.

So if a student is unsure of whether they will adjust well to college life, they may benefit from purchasing the advantage plan, Durazo said.

A student does not need to meet certain requirements for tuition insurance. Durazo said the insured just needs to be registered in an accredited college or university, and the insurance needs to be purchased prior to the first day of the term.

So far, Durazo said Allianz received positive feedback from consumers and significant media interest in the product.

“We do believe that schools are in favor of tuition insurance because it allows their students to receive a refund should they have to leave school unexpectedly,” Durazo said.

Deirdre Casey, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior, said having college tuition insurance depends on an individual student’s situation.

“I think it would be excessive for me, but for a student that really isn't sure college will be a constant or if they'll 100 percent be able to attend for four years, it might be a viable option,” Casey said.

Casey said if the insurance premiums were low enough, it might be a smart idea, but does not think it is something she would consider for herself.

“I'd imagine freshmen would be more receptive to it since (they have) four more years and there's a lot of uncertainty that comes with that,” Casey said. “But seniors might not care as much since they only have a year left, less uncertainty to insure against.”

Alexis Savva, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said she thinks tuition insurance is a great idea, especially for people who have mental illness.

“Insurance is not very good when it comes to mental illnesses, and they need to become more aware that (mental illness) is life-threatening and serious,” Savva said.

Durazo said tuition insurance is important for Rutgers students because of how high tuition costs are in New Jersey.

“(High tuition costs) make tuition a significant investment for students and their parents. We think this significant investment should be protected so that students can afford to return to school should they have to leave school unexpectedly,” Durazo said.

Savva thinks tuition insurance would be helpful, but does not know if many people will actually apply for it.

“I guess it all depends where the amount stands,” Savva said.

Casey said if Rutgers' college costs keep going up, then in a few years she would probably consider it more reasonable.

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