Protecting your college investment in uncertain semester

College tuition
Posted at 4:15 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 20:22:39-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) -- There will be many changes to college campuses in the upcoming Fall semester.

At UW-Green Bay, for example, administration has prepared for both a physical University and a virtual one.

“It’s rethinking about how, the best ways we can give our students the most meaningful experiences possible while they’re with us," Chancellor Michael Alexander said. “It is definitely different for those who are going to be in the in-person experience. We have very strict safety guidelines that we have put in place.”

Despite all the changes, the money students will pay for tuition around the state of Wisconsin is generally the same. We asked Alexander if it was possible for students to get a tuition refund during the year. He said it's a complex question without a straightforward answer, but the University is ready and willing to work with students if the pandemic worsens.

“If we have to go online, there are portions of the University where if we have to close down our housing and students have to move out of housing, that we would give a refund," Alexander said. "We are telling our students right now that if they’re uncomfortable with the housing situation and they want to still take classes but don’t want to live in the dorms that we’ll give a full refund.”

Alexander said that in the last six months, UW-Green Bay has distributed more than $2 million in aid to help students stay at the college. However, if a student gets sick from the coronavirus, he or she may have no choice but to leave. That's where a tuition investment can be vulnerable.

“We’re really seeing this huge increase in interest and awareness about tuition insurance," Natalie Tarangioli with GradGuard said.

For about one to two percent the cost of tuition, companies like GradGuard can provide insurance. If a student gets sick with COVID and has to leave school, he or she will be protected.

“We’re really excited that we now have COVID coverage in a very specific sense," Tarangioli said. "Basically, we’re treating COVID like any other ordinary illness that we see all the time come up in students - whether it’s mono or a concussion or anxiety or depression.”

Tuition insurance requires a medical withdrawal. It does not cover students if they are fearful to attend college, or aren't happy with the experience.

At UW-Green Bay, Alexander is confident the experience is worth the cost of tuition.

“I’m really proud of what our staff have done at student life and student affairs to really rethink how to have a robust college experience in a more distanced environment," he said.