John Fees is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of GradGuard™. Fees is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he received a bachelors of science degree in History and is also a graduate of Harvard Business School where he completed a Masters in Business Administration. John Fees lives in Phoenix, Arizona and is married to Melissa Soza Fees, Ph.D. and is the father of five children. He is the Treasurer for the Arizona College Success Arizona, a Director of College Parents of America, Founding Director and investor in Tonto Creek Camp which provides service leadership experiences to 8,000 students annually. He is also an active member of University Risk Management and Insurance Association and the Professional Insurance Marketers Association.
According to the NACUBO SFS report, as of 2013 95% of
institutions surveyed offered tuition payment plans.
These payment plans are a valuable way for families to extend their tuition payments into more manageable expenses. Often, the institutions that offer such payment plans also charge an additional administrative fee. Schools report that this fee is typically between $50 and $100 per term.
GradGuard, a service of Next Generation Insurance Group, offers an affordable way for institutions to provide more than just the convenience of extended payments, but also the ability to protect future payments. Payment Plan Protection allows families to fulfill their contractual obligations in the case of an unexpected event.
GradGuard's Payment Plan Protection program, underwritten by Securian, covers future payments in the case of an unexpected death, disability, or involuntary unemployment of a tuition payor.*Contact Next Generations Insurance Group for complete details and restrictions. Not available in all states.
Infrequent but Dramatic Impact:
A study by Balk, Walker and Bakers shows that for every two years of college attended, 1.7% of students can expect a parent to pass away. At a glance this may look like a low percentage of students; however, at a mid-size school with 10,000 students, 170 students would suffer from death of a parent. That number is not small enough to ignore.
What happens to these 170 students? Two reports indicate that loss of a parent frequently disrupts a student’s education:
- 18.4% of students report that the death or illness of a family member could cause them to withdraw from college[i].
- The ACHA-NCHA’s survey shows that 15.7% of students reported that within the last 12 months the death of a family member or friend had been traumatic or very difficult to handle[ii].
Historic Low Levels of Family Protection:
Unfortunately families may be unprotected. According to LIMRA's 2011 Life Insurance Ownership Study, only 33% of Americans have individual life insurance coverage[iii]. Although 56% of all workers have group life insurance through employers, that's still a somewhat dismal number.
But what do these numbers mean for college students? In the absence of adequate life insurance, the change to EFC (Expected Family Contribution) is frequently too large for a family to absorb. The death of a parent can prevent a student from completing their college education if they are unable to afford the cost of tuition.
The Student and the School Pay the Price:
When a student who has lost a parent withdraws from school because they can no longer afford the cost of tuition, the institution suffers the loss of tuition revenue and lower completion rates.
Many schools, to their great credit, attempt to provide institutional aid for students who have lost a parent and would otherwise be forced to. But this is not always possible and it is never cost free.
Introducing Tuition Payment Plan Protection including important benefits that can increase participation and help families maintain their payments.
- Provide a benefit to families, who pay the administrative fee to participate in your payment plan program.
- Retain students who have worked hard to achieve their education goals, but have lost a primary tuition payer and may face difficulties in completing the payment plan contract.
- Retain tuition income by assuring payment plan participants will be able to maintain their contracted payments.
Colleges can help protect participants in their tuition payment plan programs by including this affordable benefit within the administrative program fee. Learn more today.
[i] Pleskac, T. J., et al. A detection model of college withdrawal. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2011),
[ii] American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2013. Hanover, MD: American College Health Association: 2013. (page 15).
GradGuard is a service of Next Generation Insurance Group, LLC. Copyright © 2015 - GradGuard. All rights reserved.
The plan administrator is Minnesota Life and the Contractual Liability Policy (CLP) underwriter is Securian Casualty. Products offered by Securian Casualty Company. 400 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101-2098 • 651-665-3500 • Securian Financial Group, Inc.