4 Tips for Surviving Finals Week

There’s almost nothing as ominous as the phrase “finals week.” Cue the thoughts of cramming.

Sleep deprivation. High anxiety. The stress the two words can induce is almost universal among college students. Students can both survive and succeed during finals week as long as they prepare.

Here are four tips to help students get ready for finals week.

1. Get Organized

Getting organized is a great way to feel in control before finals begin. College finals week doesn’t have to blindside students, forcing them into all-nighters and sleepovers in the library. There are a couple of things students can do to get set up for finals week.

Memorize Your Finals Schedule

The dates for finals week are usually available from the beginning of a semester. This may vary by school, but students can sometimes find their finals information in their syllabus.

Memorizing the schedule will ensure that students don’t forget to study for any exams and can budget enough time for each test.

Knowing their finals schedule will be vital for students implementing the next tip.

Make a Study Plan

Once students have the finals schedule memorized, they can start mapping out their study strategy. Students can base their study tips on which finals will require the most studying and the dates they occur.

It is recommended that students avoid long cram sessions. Studying ahead of time in shorter increments helps to retain information. This is why mapping out a study plan ahead of time can be helpful.

When making a plan, there are different strategies students can use. They can create a schedule based on the difficulty level of the tests, choosing to set aside more time to study for the finals that will be the most challenging for them.

They can also plan their schedule based on the order of their finals, saving more time later on to study for the last exams.

Having a plan can help students avoid cramming, spending too much time studying for one final over another, or forgetting to study for one altogether.

2. Keep Your Body Healthy

As tempting as it is to stay in the library 24/7 living on ramen and coffee, staying physically healthy during finals week is important for bringing home those good grades.

Eating a balanced diet—yes, that means fruits and veggies too, before and during finals week—can help students stay focused and avoid getting sick during finals.

Drinking water is also a good idea when plotting to ace those finals. Dehydration can have many negative effects, like tiredness, headaches, reduced alertness, and diminished concentration, which could affect test performance. Even drinking water during an exam can lead to better performance.

Another important piece of staying healthy is getting enough sleep. It’s common to see students pulling all-nighters in the library during finals week, but a lack of sleep can result in a worse memory and therefore, an inability to remember what has been studied. Missing out on a full night’s sleep can be detrimental to students’ ability to pass their exams.

Exercising is also often deprioritized during finals week. Students are so focused on studying that it’s easy to skip that 30-minute workout. Exercise, though, needs to find a place in a hectic schedule because it will benefit a student during this stressful time. Exercise can both lower stress and maintain high-level brain functioning, leading to a better chance of crushing those exams.

3. Keep Your Mind Healthy

Maintaining good mental health during the school year may already be a challenge, but especially during finals week it’s important to pay attention to and take care of mental health.

Even students who don’t regularly have anxiety may experience it during finals week. There are many calming techniques available to ease anxiety, and each student should see what feels best. Here are a few techniques they can try.

•   Breathing. There are tons of breathing techniques out there that can help with anxiety or stress. Students should look up a few simple ones and see what works best for them.
•   Grounding. This is a technique where students focus on their senses, naming five things they can see, four things they can feel, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. Doing this can reduce anxiety or panic and help students stay focused.
•   Meditation. Taking up a daily meditation practice before studying and before exams start could help a person stay calm during stressful events. There are lots of meditation apps available as well as guided meditations online.

Another piece of maintaining mental health during finals week is taking breaks. Breaks are beneficial both for studying ability and mental health. Taking a break to do something enjoyable can decrease stress and keep a student’s mind in a good place.

Anyone experiencing high levels of anxiety can reach out to school counselors and see about making an appointment. Students may also benefit from talking about their stress with friends, family members, or professors. Leaning on a social support network during this stressful time may alleviate some of the nervousness that comes with finals week.

Lastly, students should ask for help if they need it. Most colleges have mental health services on campus.

4. Team Up

Students should remember that they’re not going through finals alone. They have a whole class of students struggling right alongside them. This can be a huge asset come finals week.

Instead of studying alone, students can form study groups.Study groups can help students be better prepared for finals. There may be some in the class who understand the material better and can teach it to others.

This helps both the student struggling and the student teaching. The struggling student gets new explanations for tricky material that may be easier to understand. The teaching student solidifies the material in their memory even more by explaining it to others.

Being in a study group can also help with accountability, so students are less likely to slack off and stop studying.

Those who need further support during finals week can visit their professors during office hours or consider getting a tutor. Professors want to see their students succeed, and though they can’t give answers to exam questions, they can help explain parts of the material that someone is struggling with.

No Pay, No Gain

Wait, so college students are paying to suffer through finals week? Technically, yes, because college costs money, of course, and even if the nightmare of finals week is still far off, it’s never too soon for students to start sorting out how they’re going to finance their entire college education.

There’s more than one resource available to students when it comes to funding college expenses. Here are a few, broken down in an easy-to-understand way.

Federal Aid

Students already in college might be familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA.® Eligibility for undergraduates is usually based on parents’ income. Federal aid can come in the form of grants or loans. Grants usually don’t need to be repaid, but loans do.

Federal loans usually come with benefits that private loans don’t, such as income-driven repayments and lower fixed rates. It’s recommended that if students need to take out loans, they use federal loans before turning to private loans.

Is the FAFSA® one and done? Not at all. You must complete the application every year that you attend school if you hope to gain federal aid, and on time.

Free Money

The world of scholarships is vast. Though it can take some digging to find scholarships that students are eligible for, it’s money that usually doesn’t need to be repaid.

Scholarships can be need based or merit based, with the eligibility requirements different for each one. Scholarships come from colleges, corporations, local community organizations, religious organizations, and more.

Students might want to check if their college has any information available on scholarships. Usually, schools have a scholarship office or information about scholarships at their financial aid office.

Another Option

Private student loans are another way to help fund the college experience, when federal aid doesn’t cover all the bases, a student doesn’t qualify for federal aid, or someone has reached a limit on federal direct loans.

The eligibility for private student loans is usually based on a student’s income and credit history, or that of a co-signer. Each lender will have its own terms, including the interest rate and repayment methods, which merit research.

SoFi® offers private student loans with attractive fixed or variable rates, no fees, and a quick online application. Learn more today!



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Dealing With Helicopter Parents in College

Some college students grapple with a challenge that has little to do with grades or the overall college experience: helicopter parents.

These well-meaning moms and dads insert themselves into the lives of their emerging adult children to a degree that may hinder the development of coping skills.

College orientation programs for nervous parents have become more common. Even so, some parents have trouble letting go. With the price of college having doubled in 20 years, some parents want to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth.

Hobbled by Helicopter Parenting

The risks of helicopter parenting are real, researchers say.

“Helicopter parenting behaviors may hinder the development of self-control skills among emerging adult college students, which are associated with feelings of school burnout,” according to a study by researchers at Florida State University.

The FSU study defines helicopter parents as moms or dads who “excessively monitor their children and often remove obstacles from their paths, instead of helping them develop the skills to handle the inevitable difficulties of life.”

Helicopter college parents may reach out directly to college professors and administrators about grades or nag their children about academic deadlines and test results.

That type of behavior may lead to student exhaustion, a cynical outlook on the entire college experience, and feelings of inadequacy, the study found.

“Burnout is a response to ongoing stress that is important because it saps the student’s energy, reduces their productivity, and leaves them with a diminished sense of accomplishment,” said professor Frank Fincham, director of the FSU Family Institute.

“They feel increasingly helpless, hopeless, and resentful, exerting less effort on their studies, which leads to lower grades. In some cases, students end up dropping out of college.”

How to Deal With Helicopter Parents

For students stranded between demanding academic obligations and surveillance-minded parents, the path forward may involve a strong dose of self-discipline, a willingness to learn and make mistakes, and an open call for independence. Here are some ideas.

Adjust How You Engage

If parental hovering seems unavoidable, students may want to diplomatically tighten up engagements with Mom and/or Dad.

Unless the student is in a serious health or financial crisis, there’s no need for a daily phone call, Zoom meeting, or even text with parents.

Students should talk to parents before leaving for campus and ideally agree on a scheduled conversation, perhaps weekly or biweekly.

Students who do not feel pressured may decide that frequent calls, emails, or texts are OK—as long as they initiate the engagement.

Ask for a Coach, Not a Problem Solver

When a young person leaves for college, the temptation for many parents is to step in and solve every problem for them, thus taking a learning experience out of the equation.

Yes, living away from home for the first time can be intimidating and yes, a parent’s inclination is to take over the situation and straighten things out. That, however, may deprive the child of a much-needed learning experience.

Mistakes are inevitable. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you …,” serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban has written.

Students should strive to make their own academic and lifestyle decisions (but not big health care or financial decisions, at least not yet), with parents supporting and coaching in the background.

Take the Long View

Helicopter parents invariably view their child’s problems and challenges on campus with a short-term outlook. Instead, students should emphasize the learning experiences they’re having and that the experiences are positive in the long haul.

While parents may fret over their child not getting into a class, missing out on a grant, loan, or scholarship, or just getting a problem roommate—situations that can call for a remedy—they’re experiences best handled by the student, who can make that exact case to parents.

It might be helpful to say: “Mom/Dad, I’m learning from my own problematic scenarios, I’m growing a thicker skin, and I’m learning how to solve problems and make decisions like an adult. When I do need your involvement, I hope you’ll trust me to let you know as soon as possible.”

The takeaway for both parties: A big part of attending college is becoming your own self-advocate in life, and some patience and pullback on the part of parents (and encouraged by the student) can help that happen.

Ask for Your Own Bank Account

To further declare independence from helicopter parents, college students may want to ask them to take their name off a shared bank account. Doing so will allow students to learn how to manage money on their own, with Mom and Dad in the background if needed.

Let parents know that any excessive spending or critical financial needs can, when necessary, involve them. But being responsible for finances is a critical lesson best learned by the student.

For college students, that means making the case that financial literacy is a gift and that college is a great place to earn it.

Create Boundaries on Student Portals

Digital student portals are valuable tools for both students and parents, but college students may want to establish boundaries on parental portal engagements.

Yes, parents will want to log on to the parental portion of their student’s online college portal (mainly to check finances, review financial aid, and pay tuition bills).

Past that, there’s no need for parents to regularly plug in to their student’s primary online portal and sound off about everyday collegiate experiences.

Particularly, college students may not want their parents looking at their calendars, classroom grades, student-teacher interactions, and portal emails designed for the student’s eyes only.

College students can remedy that situation by having their parents agree on portal access conditions, like checking grades once a month or even once a semester.

Making the case that portal engagements, with boundaries, are the domain of the student can provide a sense of trust and privacy, especially in the first year at school.

Take a Bigger Role in College Finances

College students may be able to help their own cause by partnering with parents on college financing issues and learning to be good stewards of their college money.

That means visiting the financial portion of the college portal and seeing what has been paid, what is owed, and what is available in financial aid.

Helping out with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid each year will also give the student a realistic look at the cost of college, which may provide an incentive to make that cost worthwhile.

When you know exactly where you stand financially on campus, you can begin making decisions on key issues like course loads, living on or off campus, accepting a work-study program, and taking on a part-time job.

Additionally, taking a shared-responsibility role can help with long-term college decisions, like taking an internship overseas or moving on to graduate school.

The Takeaway

College students can take steps to deal with helicopter parents, who may hinder the development of skills to handle the inevitable difficulties of life.

The suggestions are rooted in convincing parents to take a supportive but not supervisory role in the student’s everyday college experience.

Financial literacy means knowing the options for paying the myriad costs of college, from tuition to housing and food: federal grants, work-study and student loans; merit scholarships; and private student loans.

Need help paying for some or all of college? Consider a SoFi private student loan.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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What Is Financial Aid Suspension and How To Get Aid Back

Students work hard to get into college. They do their best to earn good grades, participate in extracurricular activities, study for the SATs® and ACTs®, and get great letters of recommendation.

If they cannot afford the hefty price tag for a college education, they can apply for federal financial aid using the FAFSA®, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 86% of undergraduate students received some form of financial aid during the 2017 to 2018 school year.

However, students aren’t guaranteed to receive financial aid. If students receive it one year, they might not get it the next.

It can be taken away for a variety of reasons–and sometimes the student has absolutely no control over it. But if they do lose their financial aid, there are options to help them try to get their aid reinstated.

What Is Financial Aid Suspension?

Financial aid suspension occurs when financial assistance given to a student stops coming in.

Financial aid can come in the form of scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study programs. When students fill out the FAFSA®, they are applying for federal student aid.

After their application is reviewed, students will generally receive information on what aid they are eligible for, if any. When financial aid is being suspended, students will be notified as well, generally by the financial aid office at the school where the student is enrolled.

Common Reasons for Financial Aid Suspension

Financial aid suspensions can occur for a variety of reasons. Here are a few reasons a student may find there are issues with their aid.

Not Making Satisfactory Academic Progress

For example, in order to be eligible for certain financial aid and college financial aid, students need to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) .

This means that students are required to be enrolled in a certain number of credit hours and be earning grades that are considered good enough to be working towards completing a degree or certificate in a certain time period.

SAP policies will often vary by school. Typically, SAP policies require students to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, which is a “C” average in classes.

If students receive scholarships, they may have to maintain a higher GPA than 2.0. To find out the SAP policy at a specific school, take a look at their website or the financial aid office.

Taking Too Long to Complete Degree

A student may experience financial aid suspension if they’ve been in school for too long. Federal financial aid is generally restricted based on the length of the program the student is enrolled in.

This information is generally listed in a school’s catalog. For example, federal aid is generally limited to six years for a Bachelor’s degree and three years for an Associate’s degree.

Not Applying for Aid Each Year

Students must apply for federal student aid by submitting a FAFSA each year that they are enrolled in school. Failing to submit the FAFSA means students may not receive federal aid for that year.

Additionally, when the FAFSA is filled out annually, a student may not receive the same amount or type of aid should their family’s financial situation change.

Making a Change to the Course of Study

Students could also lose federal aid if they switch majors and the aid was tied to their original major, they switched schools, they are not taking enough credits to qualify for the aid, or they previously defaulted on other student loans.

Not Meeting General Eligibility Requirements

In order to continue receiving federal aid, students will also need to continue meeting the general eligibility requirements set by the Department of Education.

If a student is not a citizen of the United States and their eligible noncitizen status expired or was revoked, then they would need to reinstate their status to keep receiving aid.

A student could also potentially lose federal financial aid if they were convicted for a drug offense or became incarcerated.

If it comes to light that a student’s high school diploma is not valid, or they have property subject to a judgment lien, that could also cause financial aid suspension.

Even though it can be frustrating and worrisome to lose financial aid, there are steps that students can take to hopefully get it back.

Appealing a Financial Aid Decision

One of the first things that students could do after they are notified that their financial aid is being suspended is to visit their school’s financial aid office. There students will generally be able to learn more about why they might be losing financial aid and if there is anything they can do about it, like file an appeal.

The appeals process will generally vary based on the school. In general, students can fill out a form and write an appeal letter to their college. In the appeals letter, students may consider sharing details about the circumstances surrounding their financial aid suspension.

For example, if a student’s loved one passed away that semester, the student may have become upset and unable to concentrate on their grades. Sometimes, students experience tough circumstances that have nothing to do with school, but their grades suffer. Schools understand that this happens and they may be willing to work with students who show they are still dedicated to their studies.

After writing the appeal letter, students can mail it or hand it into their financial aid office, depending on preferences and the process determined by the school. It can help to confirm that the office received it. In addition to writing an appeal letter, there are other ways that students can qualify for aid again, depending on the issue that caused the suspension of aid.

They may be able to study harder and bring their grades up, for instance. They could also enroll in more classes and get back on track to graduate in a certain amount of time. If they are an eligible noncitizen, they could figure out how to reinstate their status.

If they switched majors, they could look into other forms of financial aid for their new course of study. There are many ways to go about it–asking the financial office for guidance can provide insight to help the student get back on track.

In some scenarios, students may lose financial aid for the year and then be able to reapply through FAFSA the next year. If they still don’t receive aid, then students may need to look into alternative options to pay for their education.

Avoiding Financial Mistakes in College

If students went through financial aid suspension and couldn’t appeal the decision, they should figure out ways in which they can pay for school without hurting their financial future.

For instance, they may want to reconsider staying in the dorms and on an expensive college meal plan if they can’t afford it. If they do continue to live and eat on campus, they could run up a huge bill that in and of itself could take years to pay off.

While it may be tempting to put extra expenses on a credit card, debt can add up quickly. Students who use a credit card but are unable to pay off their balance every month could end up graduating with student loan debt and credit card debt. Credit card debt can have relatively high interest rates which can make them difficult to pay off.

Additionally, while going to an expensive private school may seem more prestigious, state schools can also be solid options, offering rigorous programs as well.

I Lost My Financial Aid–How Do I Pay For School?

There are many students wondering how to pay for school if they no longer have financial aid–and thankfully, there are a number of ways to pay for school.

One option for students is to consider cheaper schools and possibly transfer to a school that offers a lower tuition or where they may qualify for a more competitive aid package or scholarship.

If a student isn’t able to transfer, or already goes to a less expensive school, then they could try to find a job on or off campus and start earning money to pay for their education.

Students might also consider budgeting and cutting costs as needed. A few options to cut expenses might include opting to use public transportation instead of driving, moving to cheaper housing off-campus, cooking meals at home instead of eating out, or limiting how much they spend on entertainment.

They also may consider turning to family members for help. If their parents are able to help pay for their college or take out loans to pay for it, this could be an option.

Another option some students may look into is borrowing private student loans. Before applying for a private student loan, it is important to compare different lenders and loan terms. Each lender will generally have their own eligibility requirements for lending so it’s worth looking around at different options.

Unlike federal student loans, private student loans generally require a credit check. Lenders will use this information, and other factors, to determine the interest rate and loan terms the applicant will qualify for.

Students interested in borrowing a private student loan could consider SoFi as one option. There are no fees for an application, origination, or prepayments. Students can find out if they qualify, and at what rates, online in minutes. Applicants can also add a co-signer entirely online. Borrowers will also be able to access SoFi’s valuable resources like career coaching and member events at a time when they need it the most.

If you’re going through financial aid suspension but want to make sure you can still fund your college education, SoFi is here for you. Learn more about SoFi private student loans today.



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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
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Is Tuition Insurance Worth It?

College is one of the biggest expenses parents will have for their children. The fact that undergraduate costs at public institutions have risen over 30% within 10 years puts many parents in panic mode.

To add to the concerns: What happens if your student gets sick or injured and is unable to attend classes for a semester or longer?

What if, heaven forbid, your child dies while enrolled? Will the college reimburse you? Not necessarily. There is, however, a product that can mitigate the risk of your student being unable to attend college courses: tuition insurance.

Tuition insurance might be worth it for some but not all families.

What Is Tuition Insurance?

Just as you have health insurance to cover costs associated with unexpected health issues, you can get tuition insurance to cover college tuition costs in the event of unexpected health issues that prevent your student from attending, or death.

Also called tuition refund insurance, it can recoup some or all of what you’ve paid in tuition if your student experiences a serious covered injury or illness that prevents college attendance.

What Does Tuition Insurance Cover?

Generally, tuition insurance covers:

•   Serious sickness
•   Injury
•   Mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression
•   Death of the student or person paying tuition

You’ll need to read the fine print to find out what qualifying medical events are, as some policies will list specific illnesses like mononucleosis.

Imagine a pandemic sweeping the land (wild thought, huh?). Tuition insurance will not cover tuition if a college or university has to close or if your student simply isn’t comfortable attending class in person, but if your student contracts the disease and is unable to attend classes as a result, you may be eligible for a partial refund of tuition for that semester.

To file a claim, the student must withdraw from school, and a medical professional must document that withdrawal was necessary. The process can vary by policy, though. (More on this later.)

It’s important to know what tuition insurance does not cover as well. If your student leaves college for academic reasons or is on disciplinary probation, you will not be reimbursed for tuition.

Some preexisting conditions may not be covered, so if your student has a medical condition, make sure it is covered before buying the policy.

Tuition insurance may also not cover participating in professional sports or extreme sports (like bungee jumping), participating in a riot, drug abuse, suicide, or self-inflicted injury.

Who Should Consider Tuition Insurance?

Some students or parents paying for tuition might be better candidates for college tuition insurance than others.

For students with preexisting conditions that can be covered by a policy, it can be a good idea to purchase coverage, especially if it’s a condition that is known to keep the student bedridden or otherwise unable to function for weeks or months at a time. The reimbursed tuition money could be put toward medical bills.

If you have more than one child in college, a tuition insurance policy could help you recoup costs for a student experiencing an issue that you could then put toward other college expenses.

And if the school your student is attending is very expensive, an insurance policy may allow you to relax more.

Let’s Talk Costs

Part of determining whether college tuition insurance is worthwhile is understanding the policy cost vs. possible reimbursement, as well as tuition costs.

While a select few schools offer free tuition, most have significant price tags. During the 2020-21 academic year, these were the average costs of tuition and fees:

•   In-state tuition for a four-year public university: $10,560
•   Out-of-state tuition for four-year public university: $27,000
•   Private nonprofit four-year institution: $37,650

These numbers add up over four (or more!) years, so it’s understandable that paying for an insurance policy might make sense. But how much is tuition insurance?

Plans vary in pricing and features, but generally, you can expect to pay about 1% of tuition cost. Some cover other expenses like room and board, while others do not.

Buying a Tuition Insurance Policy

Currently, there are two primary providers of tuition insurance: GradGuard and Liberty Mutual . Some schools may work with a private insurance company, so start by asking the registrar’s office if the college has a partner for tuition insurance.

The most affordable and comprehensive coverage can be obtained by going through the school, John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, has said.

To enroll in a policy, you’ll be asked your student’s school and costs for a semester of tuition. GradGuard will also ask for costs of room and board and associated expenses.

Liberty Mutual will ask if your student will be studying abroad the semester you seek coverage, as that is covered with the policy. GradGuard does not cover a student studying abroad.

You’ll be given a quote, and if you want the coverage, you can purchase from there by adding a few more personal details and payment information. You’ll pay your monthly premium, just as you do with auto or health insurance.

Reading the Fine Print

Before purchasing the policy, it’s best to read the fine print. The last thing you want is to purchase a policy and file a claim, expecting to be fully reimbursed, only to find out the condition you’re filing for isn’t covered.

For example, GradGuard’s fine print discusses a preexisting medical condition exclusion waiver. It states that preexisting medical conditions are covered when the insured student does not have symptoms of the condition on the policy purchase date and was medically able to attend school, or if the student was covered by a similar policy by the same company within four months of the effective date of the current policy.

Other fine print items to note are whether a doctor or licensed mental health professional needs to diagnose the student with the medical condition to qualify for reimbursement, the effective date of the policy, and how to prove your loss. Not all policies will fully reimburse your tuition or other costs, so find out how much you may be eligible to be refunded before purchasing a policy.

How to File a Claim

Each insurance company has its own process for filing a claim. Be sure to read through the process, as one incorrect step could cause your claim to be denied.

GradGuard requires you to call to file your claim, while Liberty Mutual allows you to do so online.

You’ll need documentation for the expenses you want to claim from the college or university. You may need the registrar’s office to verify on paper that your student has withdrawn for the semester, as well as documents showing what you have paid in tuition and expenses.

You may also need a written order from your student’s doctor or mental health professional stating that your child is unable to attend school due to medical reasons. For mental health issues, hospitalization of 24 to 48 hours may be required.

Alternatives to Tuition Insurance

While tuition insurance can come in handy if medical conditions or injury force a student to withdraw, the college might offer full or partial reimbursement without insurance.

Policies vary from one school to another, so inquire with the college or university before assuming you can get expenses refunded.

Some schools will refund tuition, but only during the first five weeks of a semester. Others won’t reimburse tuition but will refund some or all of room and board expenses if students withdraw.

Is Tuition Insurance Right for You?

The bottom line: If you don’t like taking risks with your money and are concerned that your student might have a situation that results in withdrawal from school for one or more semesters, tuition insurance could be a worthwhile investment. It’s a low expense compared with tuition, it could be well worth it should you end up filing a claim.

If your student has a preexisting condition that would be covered, insurance could mitigate your risk of losing money should that medical condition cause a need to leave school. On the other hand, much is not covered in terms of preexisting conditions or activities your child might be involved in, like professional sports. In these cases, the policy would be moot if the condition isn’t covered when you file a claim.

If a student withdraws, and not all costs are covered or if no policy is in place, a private student loan could be a solution to fill the financial gap. SoFi offers private student loans with flexible terms and no fees. The money can typically be used for tuition, books, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses.

Check your rate for a private student loan from SoFi in just three minutes.



SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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How to Qualify for a College Application Fee Waiver

When applying for college, there are a lot of details to consider. Once the SAT scores are in, the essay is written, and the envelopes are addressed, there’s one more step: paying the college application fee.

If a student is applying to more than one school, those fees can really add up.

Luckily there is a way to get out of paying for the privilege of applying to a school: a college application fee waiver.

Here’s more intel for students and their parents about application fees and waivers.

The 411 on Application Fees

Many colleges and grad schools require applicants to pay a fee.

U.S. News looked at 953 ranked colleges and found that the average application fee was $44. It noted that 19 schools charged prices exceeding $75. Stanford University in California had the highest application fee, at $90.

If a student is applying to more than one school (or even just one, for that matter), this cost can not only add up but also be prohibitive for some.

While there is no set standard for how many schools a student should apply to, some experts say it’s a good idea to apply to between six and eight colleges—two to three to act as safety schools, two as target schools, and two “reach” schools.

At $44 per college, on average, that could add up to $264 to $352. There are, however, ways to get around the fees.

Ask the College for a Waiver

Many colleges and universities allow students to directly ask for an application fee waiver.

Typically, the application will have a field that students or parents can fill out asking for the application fee to be waived.

If there is no space on the application, students or parents could simply call the school’s registrar office and ask what options may be available to them.

Getting Help From Nonprofits

National Association for College Admission Counseling

The National Association for College Admission Counseling offers a request for an application fee waiver that can be filled out online and submitted with each application.

To fill out the form, the student simply writes the name of the college on the top line, and then fills out the “Student” section and checks the appropriate boxes in the “Economic Need” section. If none apply, an applicant can click “Other Request” and explain the financial need for the fee waiver.

Then, a school counselor, postsecondary support person, or principal at the student’s school, or a person from a community-based organization needs to complete the Authorized Official section to verify economic eligibility.

Students send the completed form directly to the university’s admissions office. College applicants may want to check with the office if they do not hear back about an approval status within a month.

Common Application

The Common Application is a generic application used by 600 schools.

Using the application makes it easy for students to apply for more schools at once. And, within the application, students can request a fee waiver in the profile section. According to the Common Application, students can qualify for a fee waiver for a variety of reasons.

Those include if they are enrolled in or eligible to participate in the federal free or reduced-price lunch program, annual family income falls within the Income eligibility guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, and if they are enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families.

Students can also qualify if their family receives public assistance or if they live in federally subsidized public housing or a foster home, or are homeless. Students who are wards of the state or can provide a supporting statement on economic need from a school official can also apply for a waiver.

The Common Application fee waiver is also available for international applicants. It’s important to note that it is still up to each school if it accepts a fee waiver request.

College Board

Students aiming for college will likely have to take a standardized test, presumably either the ACT or the SAT, as part of their application. The SAT costs $47.50 for each standard SAT a student takes, and each ACT is $50.50. (There is an additional cost if a student wants to take the essay portion of the tests.)

Eligible students can get fee waivers for up to two of each standardized test. Typically, they qualify if they live in a foster home or public housing or receive free or reduced-price lunches. Family income can also be a qualifier. Students will have to speak to a school administrator to receive the waiver, as each testing company allocates a specific number of waivers to each school.

So, how can this help with the college application fee? By qualifying for the SAT or ACT waiver, a student also gets to waive the application costs for four colleges. Those who are eligible for an SAT waiver will receive application waivers via the College Board, making it easy to streamline the process.

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Apply for School Online

Some colleges offer the option of applying for school entirely online, and a few waive their application fees for students who decide to go that route.

This is offered at schools like College of Southern Idaho, Wesleyan College, and Washington & Jefferson College.

Of course, students can still choose to apply via the old-fashioned route of mailing in their applications, but that could entail fees.

Students should check with their choice schools to find out if applying online will save them application fees.

Attend a College Fair or Visit the School

Some colleges and universities may be willing to hand out application fee waivers to students who take a tour or visit one of their booths during a college fair.

For example, the University of Pittsburgh offers an application fee waiver to those who attend an online event during a specific period throughout the year. There is no need to show financial need for the waiver.

Most schools do not actively advertise these specials, so students are encouraged to dig deeply into their choice school’s website to find out if this may be an option.

How to Find Colleges With No Application Fees

There are a number of colleges out there that don’t require an application fee at all.

Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and Alabama State University in Montgomery are just a few of the many schools that don’t require an application fee.

The College Board maintains a list of schools that do not require an application fee, consider making it free to apply for in-state students, or have special instructions for submitting an application fee waiver.

Paying for College

Getting past the application is just the beginning. From there, students will have to navigate the cost of housing, tuition, books, and more. For many, that means taking out loans.

Students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA® in short, to see if they are eligible for student aid from the federal government. Colleges may then use the information provided to determine specific aid needs.

Aspiring collegians can discuss loan options directly with their schools of choice or consider a loan agreement with a friend or family member.

Students may also choose to look into private student loans. To qualify, students fill out a loan application alone or with a co-signer. The amount of money and interest rate usually depend on credit scores and income.

If a private student loan seems like a good fit, add SoFi private student loans to your college finances search.

Worried about fees? Don’t be. SoFi private student loans come with no origination fees, late fees, or insufficient-fund fees. And, hey, there’s no application fee.

SoFi private student loans aren’t just for undergrads either. There are options for graduate students, law and MBA students, and parent loans.

Learn more about private student loans with SoFi today.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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