Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hot topic: Tuition insurance

An SF K Files visitor suggested the following topic:

"Did anyone get tuition insurance for the 2008-09 school year? What are the terms? What if you started at a private or parochial school and later got into a public, did you get your money back through the insurance?"

18 comments:

  1. We didn't get insurance for this year but I have a feeling we might get it next year or the year after.

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  2. What is tuition insurance, how does it work, exactly? Would this help us if, say, we accepted a spot at a private school that required a commitment & deposit by December ... only to find out that we got a public school we liked and couldn't get our deposit back?

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  3. I am curious what people think of the private schools' practice of keeping people's deposits in the first place. If I understand correctly from previous posts by people going through the kindergarten search for 2008-09, some people have had to forfeit thousands of dollars in private school deposits after getting in to public school off the waitlist (or basically at any point after the date private school deposits are required). To me, this doesn't seem fair, since the school to which the deposit was made will undoubtedly fill the spot with another student, and so the school is essentially getting a windfall of thousands of dollars. It seems especially unfair to keep someone's deposit when school hasn't started yet at the time the person decides not to take the offered spot, i.e., the farther off the start of school is, the more unfair it seems. I assume that there is some administrative cost to the school and that there is an inconvenience factor if there is a lot of shifting around, but to keep thousands of dollars still seems excessive as a way of dealing with those factors. Am I missing something that justifies this practice?

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  4. because. they. can.

    parents are desperate for a good slot somewhere, anywhere heading into summer. even those who really want public, didn't get lucky in the lottery, and are waiting out the waitpool runs and 10-day count (when they really are likely, though not guaranteed, to get something they will find acceptable) are willing to put that money on the barrel. it is understandable, given the anxiety of the process. and there are plenty of families lined up behind to put down that deposit if you are unwilling. demand for the security of a spot is very high. and comes with the price of being non-refundable.

    the thing is that getting that security, if you even can score a spot at private school, is a bit of a luxury item that is available only to those who can afford to gamble that kind of money. not so much, the middle class who make $50K salaries or less. the lucky ones with back-up private can gamble a bit more on waitpool spots, whereas those who really can't gamble that money are SOL and looking for waitpools that have many fewer people. sigh.

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  5. Simply put - if you are serious enough to want to send your child there it should not be a problem. Think about it from their point of view - they are just after admitting someone whom they believe will be 100% committed to the school after carefully screening you and your child (your family).

    Do you think that if they knew you were not 100% committed to going in the first place that they would admit you? Hell no, not in any of the top privates, I guarantee you that much. You can't be serious in asking that question?

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  6. It's no different than any transaction that requires a non-refundable deposit. A deposit signals your commitment. If no deposit were required, people would sign up at any and all private schools they got into. If you are not committed, it's your problem.

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  7. We accepted spot at private and put down deposit and then went to public. We lost the deposit money. I wish I could get the private to donate the money to our public school.

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  8. The insurance covers up to 60% of tuition, so deposits under 40% would not be covered.

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  9. The thing is that getting that security, if you even can score a spot at private school, is a bit of a luxury item that is available only to those who can afford to gamble that kind of money. not so much, the middle class who make $50K salaries or less.

    If you have a combined family income of $50K, or even $100K, you would likely be getting financial aid and your deposit will be prorated accordingly.

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  10. Has anyone out there ever gotten tuition insurance? Why did you do it? Do you do it for multiple years?

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  11. How much does tuition insurance typically cost?

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  12. I don't think there are too many private schools that view themselves as a back-up to public. So when deposit time rolls around they assume you want to be there (and you're essentially signing a contract at the same time).

    We got the insurance for the first year. I don't think it was that much, maybe a few hundred. I don't recall if we got it this year. It's mainly to cover withdrawals due to illness or accident. It's not "I changed my mind" insurance.

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  13. It's probably not worth it to purchase the insurance if you're not planning to change your mind. And who wants to bank on injury and illness? That said, some schools require you to purchase the insurance if you pay with a payment plan rather than paying the full amount in advance; I think it insures them too.

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  14. We lost our deposit and then some. It's a contract we signed and we were accountable for it. Insurance or not, we still were responsible for the year - as it was pointed out to us in the contract. We didnt buy the insurance (unknowingly) and pulled out for public.

    Small price for the years we save in public.

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  15. Us too. We paid the entire year's tuition at private ($11.5k) when we pulled our child out to go public K, when we got in. it was worth it to us (we have more than one kid x 6 yrs savings for K-5). It is an option that is more available to people of means, so I do think the whole wait pool system is unfair to middle class and lower middle class families.

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  16. But if you knew you wouldn't be doing private school, why even start?

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  17. We were open to both public and private, but were going to do private unless we got a pretty strong public. That was why we did private (we didn't like our public assigned school). Then when we got a pretty good public via waitpool, had to make a hard decision.

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