Over the past twenty-years, much of the work of College Parents of America has been focused on highlighting research and promoting actionable insights for families to support their college student through to graduation.  As a result, it is noteworthy to see Allianz Global Assistance, publish research into the confidence college families and students have in higher education.

All college parents will benefit from reading the findings below and taking a moment to speak with their college student about their confidence in completing college.  We encourage parents to visit with their student to understand what vulnerabilities are worrying them.  Some essential questions to consider include academic issues such as:  is your student is academically prepared, do they have good study skills or time management skills?   In addition, it is important to consider personal health issues such as: is your student in good health; how will your student cope with stress, do they have good sleep habits?   Lastly, social issues are worth considering such as: how well does your student adjust to new environments? can they identify two or three friends or interest groups (clubs etc) that will help them connect with their college community?

In addition to the becoming aware of these risks, be sure to also consider the value of tuition insurance to your family.  Allianz Global Assistance (a sponsor of College Parents of America and the provider of tuition insurance to GradGuard who provides insurance benefits to our members) offers multiple forms of tuition insurance.  Starting at $29.95 for $2,500 of coverage, tuition insurance is now an affordable form of protection for many college families.

Forty-Eight percent of students and their parents think they may need to withdraw from school.

According to recent survey results announced by Allianz College Confidence Index, “prospective college students are arriving on campus already doubting their ability to reach graduation with nearly half anticipating the need to either temporarily or permanently withdraw from their degree program.”

The findings reveal that 48 percent are less than very confident they will finish college without dropping out permanently and 55 percent think they will need to take at least some time off.

The Allianz Tuition Insurance College Confidence Index survey results also revealed:  Nearly half (43 percent) of current students indicate they’ve thought about withdrawing; The majority (53 percent) are less than very confident they will graduate within four years; and Parents, too, anticipate the likelihood that withdrawal might be necessary. More than half of all parents surveyed (52 percent) lacked full confidence that their student will graduate within four years.

A lot at stake for parents
“There’s a lot at stake for parents and students, including the possibility of suffering a financial loss from dropping out. If students want to return to school, some families may not be able to fund the additional semesters needed to graduate,” said Joe Mason, chief marketing officer at Allianz Global Assistance. “Over one-hundred colleges and universities rely on Allianz to provide tuition protection to increase their students and families’ confidence and peace of mind.”

Students and parents alike realize that the implications of additional, unplanned semesters are significant: 85 percent agree that the financial repercussions of withdrawing could be severe. Among those surveyed, the average financial loss resulting from college withdrawal was estimated to be more than $11,000. Additionally, 10 percent of respondents estimate their potential loss to be at least $25,000.

Current and prospective college students identified the following as the most likely reasons they may withdraw from their college program:

Family emergency – 69 percent
Stress – 66 percent
Mental health condition – 66 percent
Physical health condition – 60 percent

“After a certain point in the semester, most universities refund only a partial amount of tuition paid by students and their families. Fortunately, tuition insurance provides a refund to families for both tuition and other academic expenses when students unexpectedly are forced to leave school for a reason covered by their policy,” said Mason.

Additional survey findings reveal:
Just 52 percent of students said they’re “very confident” they won’t permanently withdraw from college at some point; Parents and students often aren’t aware of their current (or prospective) school’s refund policy – half indicate no awareness, and just one in eight respondents (16 percent) say they are very confident they know it; and nearly 8 in 10 parents (78 percent) say they’d be worried about making student loan payments if their child had to withdraw from their college program.