Students who need to withdraw from college for a medical reason can only count on a full tuition refund from their school for maybe the first couple weeks of classes.

After that, the potential refund share starts dropping, until it's eventually gone — typically about five weeks into the semester.

But a growing number of New Jersey colleges and universities are partnering with entities that give students and families the opportunity to recoup every dollar they put out for tuition, fees, and room and board — for a price.

Tuition insurance policies can be purchased by any student, but partnerships between company and higher-ed institution offer students access to cheaper rates.

"The average cost is $110 for $10,000 of coverage," John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, told New Jersey 101.5.

GradGuard is currently teamed up with 12 New Jersey colleges and universities for tuition insurance: Centenary, Drew, Felician, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Princeton, Ramapo, Rutgers, Saint Peter's, Seton Hall, Stockton, The College of New Jersey, and William Paterson. The school had partnerships with nine New Jersey schools in September 2020.

The company also offers renters insurance (related to student housing) through Rider University, as well as Centenary, Princeton, Seton Hall, and TCNJ.

The policy is not dropout insurance, Fees noted. It covers legitimate reasons for leaving school, such as a death in the family, a concussion, coronavirus, or monkeypox.

Stockton first offered tuition insurance in the summer of 2022 as a pilot program, the university told New Jersey 101.5. Students interested in purchasing insurance can do so through the add-drop period, which ends Sept. 12.

The enrollment period for this fall ends Sept. 6 at Ramapo. Participation shot up between 2019-2020 (30 students) and 2020-2021 (132), the first full year impacted by COVID-19. As of Aug. 25, 113 Ramapo students were signed up for tuition insurance going into the 2022-2023 academic year.

The deadline for TCNJ students to apply is Aug. 30, the first day of classes. Out of approximately 6,500 undergraduates, 72 purchased tuition insurance for 2021-2022, the university said.

According to National Student Clearinghouse, approximately 113,000 college students took a leave of absence in 2021, including medical leaves for mental health issues.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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