PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Some colleges are still gearing up for the first day of classes next week.

And this year, there is even more for students to think about, including what happens if you withdraw due to the coronavirus. That’s why many students are opting for tuition insurance just in case they get sick.

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Gregory Westfall is excited for his sophomore year at Allegheny College but knows the risks. He feels the risks are worth taking but not without some extra protection.

“When they released tuition refund policy, they actually mentioned tuition insurance was covering COVID,” Westfall said.

Allegheny College says it will follow its current refund policy and pro-rate charges if a student has to take a leave of absence, including for coronavirus. That policy continues until 60 percent of the semester has been completed. After that, no refunds are given.

“The first thing we tell families is to make sure you know your school’s refund policy because maybe they’re making an exception for COVID or maybe they have really stellar refunds,” said Natalie Tarangioli from Gradguard.

GradGuard partners with 350 colleges across the county, but they say you do not have to go to a partner school to get coverage. Tarangioli says having insurance could pay off with new coronavirus coverage options.

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“A student would have to be ill with COVID and a note from a doctor saying you’re better off leaving school and going home,” Tarangioli said. “That means completing a medical withdrawal, getting a “W” on your transcript and withdrawing from school.”

GradGuard will refund deposits, housing, academic fees and tuition. It doesn’t cover things like schools deciding to shift to online-only classes or a student opting-out of in-person learning after the start of the semester.

There are other tuition insurance companies students can choose from like AWG Dewar, which partners with Carnegie Mellon University. KDKA has not heard back from Dewar to see if it offers a COVID coverage plan for students. Liberty Mutual does not offer a coronavirus coverage option.

Like Allegheny College, CMU says students who take a leave of absence or withdraw from school before completing 60 percent of the semester will have their tuition pro-rated.

Students can enroll in a tuition insurance policy until the first day of classes.

Find links for more information below:

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