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Will colleges reimburse tuition for COVID-19 related withdrawals? As of now, UArizona won’t.

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TUCSON (KVOA) – The 2020-2021 school year is just around the corner and as universities have adapted their operations due to the pandemic, many have not adapted on the financial end.

Cheryl Schmitt's daughter, Rachel will be attending the University of Arizona this fall as a freshman.

"We know there's a risk that she may not end the semester in the dorm," said Schmitt.

She has chosen to live in the dorms and mostly take in-person classes.

"If something goes on where she gets it or she's no longer comfortable. It's just a loss of funds for us and we're okay with that," said Schmitt.

But Cheryl is only okay with that due to the fact that Rachel holds a scholarship at the university that will almost pay her entire UArizona experience.

Currently, the refund policy at UArizona states that "Tuition and fees will not be recalculated or reversed after the refund deadline. Students are responsible for all tuition and fees remaining on their account." For more information, visit, bursar.arizona.edu/refunds/options/policies

At Cochise College, it is much of the same. Their policy states that there is a 100 percent refund of all tuition and fees up to the last day to add for each term. And, there are no refunds after the last day to add. Learn more here.

"The most important thing that universities can do right now is to signal to families and students that their investment is worthwhile," John Fees, a co-founder of GradGuard told News 4 Tucson.

GradGuard is an Arizona-based company that sells tuition insurance to attendees of universities in all 50 states. The insurance they sell will be able to cover COVID-19 related withdrawals for this upcoming school year.

Fees cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure your college investment is protected during these unprecedented times.

"If your student catches COVID-19 and has to leave school, will you be illegible for a refund for tuition, room and board, academic fees? Asking these questions just like you would any consumer purchase is a really smart idea," Fees said.

News 4 Tucson reached out to the University of Arizona and they said: "We are currently subject to pending litigation on this issue and are not in the position to comment further at this time."

For Schmitt, UArizona is making her feel comfortable enough to have Rachel pounce around in Wildcat territory this fall.

"[With] Dr. Robbins and having the help of Dr. Carmona, we are beyond fortunate to have that right here."

Fees also added that there are 8 million college students in the country and they estimate that at least 80,000 of those will have hardships that could be protected by tuition insurance.

In order to find out more about GradGuard and the options they have for your student, visit https://gradguard.com/

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Frankie McLister

Frankie McLister is the Multimedia Journalist for News 4 Tucson Today. His interest in storytelling began when he was young and loves telling those of Southern Arizona.

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