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College Tuition Insurance Helps Students Who May Need To Withdraw From School For Medical Reasons

BOSTON (CBS) -- The pandemic is being blamed for a significant spike in mental health issues in kids. For college students, having to withdraw to get help can be financially devastating for families.

That's why Julia Abbott of Natick bought tuition insurance for her three kids. Two are studying at Clark University and one is at the University of New Hampshire.

"Overwhelming is a good word for it," Abbott said when talking about the sheer expense of putting three kids through college.

"My oldest has mental health issues, anxiety, and depression, and I don't want my kids to ever feel like they have to finish out the semester if they are struggling just because they are under pressure not to waste mom and dad's money."

She got the insurance from GradGuard, a third-party insurer that works with more than a dozen Boston-area schools to help cover the cost if there is a medical need to withdraw.

Here are the Boston-area schools GradGuard works with:

Assumption College
Brandeis University
Clark University
Curry College
Dean College
Emmanuel College
Endicott College
Hampshire College
Harvard University
Lasell University
Merrimack College
Mount Holyoke College
Simmons University
Smith College
Springfield College
Suffolk University
Williams College
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

According to Natalie Tarangioli of GradGuard, the company has seen a spike in inquiries during the pandemic, but she says this product is not for everyone.

"It's not for [students who say] I don't like this school very much or I'm not making any friends, I think I want to transfer," Tarangioli said. "It's also not for schools that decide to transition to remote learning due to the pandemic."

However, if a student were to contract COVID-19 and fail to recover quickly, that would be covered, along with other ailments that are common in college students like mononucleosis, concussions, and mental health issues.

The cost averages a little more than $100 for every $10,000 in tuition. The best rates are for students at schools that partner with GradGuard, but other students can be covered as well by purchasing directly through GradGuard's website.

Julia Abbott has not had to file a claim, and hopes she never has to, but she's still glad she has it.

"For the nominal price that it is, the peace of mind is priceless," she said.

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