Throughout the pandemic, college students had to adapt to an unprecedented amount of social and emotional upheaval that resulted in rapid changes to their learning environments and living situations. Today, it has become increasingly clear that college-aged students are not recovering as quickly as higher-education experts had hoped.
Recent data from the Lumina Foundation-Gallup State of Higher Education 2022 report, “Stressed Out and Stopping Out: The Mental Health Crisis in Higher Education,” revealed that 41 percent of students enrolled in a postsecondary education program have considered stopping out in the past six months. Additionally, more than half (55 percent) of students who have considered stopping out cite emotional stress as a reason why.
Not only are students leaving institutions because of stress, but it also prevents new students from starting college. Nearly two-thirds of people who have never enrolled in higher education cite emotional stress as a key deterrent, the report finds. It is the fourth most cited reason after the cost of higher education (81 percent), inflation (77 percent), and work conflicts (69 percent). More people cited stress than factors such as lack of interest, unpreparedness, and a declining value of higher education.
While colleges and universities are bearing the brunt of the impact of mental health on enrollment, student retention, and matriculation, they are also uniquely equipped to support their students through a variety of offerings, including:
Mental Health Resources
Schools function as small cities, and they typically have mental health resources as a part of that infrastructure. By ensuring students are aware they can access mental health support in the forms of counseling, therapy, and even recreational activities, colleges and universities can create an environment that supports the overall well-being of the community.
The JED Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works directly with more than 500 schools to put systems, programs, and policies in place that protect student mental health. By measuring the impact at the beginning and end of the four-year programs and taking a comprehensive campus-wide approach, JED promotes an on-campus culture of caring for student mental health.
Through embedded insurance offerings, schools can help inform students of additional financial protection while enrolling.
For example, GradGuard offers the only tuition insurance program in the country to reimburse up to 100% of the financial losses when a student needs to withdraw due to a covered reason, such as a covered mental or covered physical illness.
Most higher education institutions only provide a partial refund of tuition during the first five weeks of a semester, and virtually no schools provide refunds for academic fees or housing; however, GradGuard’s tuition insurance can provide a refund for the total cost of college when a school may not.
John Fees, co-founder and managing director of GradGuard, said, “Families who purchase additional insurance coverage are positioning their students for financial and academic success. If a student encounters a mental health challenge, getting tuition dollars back—in addition to knowing there are mental health services available—can be the difference if a student can afford to and wants to return to school. In the long run, this benefits schools too by helping them meet student success and enrollment goals.”
Paying for a college education is among the most expensive investments a family will make, and it is important to remember that it does not come risk-free. Most financial aid offerings include clauses that require repayment if the student withdraws and fails to complete the semester. An unexpected (and uninsured) withdrawal can be costly, as nearly 40% of student loan borrowers fail to complete their undergraduate degree. To learn more about GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance plans, visit www.gradguard.com/tuition.
GradGuard is the #1 provider of college renters and tuition insurance. Since 2009, GradGuard has protected more than 1.3 million students at more than 1,800 unique institutions.
GradGuard’s innovative protections are embedded within the enrollment processes of the largest and most prestigious universities in the United States, ensuring their students are protected from the risks of college life.