According to the 2018 Allianz Tuition Insurance College Confidence Index, parents are more concerned than a year ago about their child’s ability to finish college without needing to withdraw, though students’ level of confidence in finishing held steady. However, both still see significant financial implications of an early college withdrawal, estimating a loss of about $10,000. Despite their concern about withdrawal and financial losses, both groups also admit to not being able to recall their college’s refund policy.

Of those surveyed, 46 percent of parents and 52 percent of students admit they are not familiar with the refund policy at their institutions. In fact, most parents (73 percent) and students (69 percent) can’t remember seeing their college’s refund policy or whether it was disclosed to them or not.

Allianz Tuition Insurance surveyed 1,000 current and prospective students and 1,000 parents on perceptions and actions linked to college preparedness and overall confidence. The 2018 data shows areas in which the two groups’ views changed in the past year:

• Parents are less likely to be ‘very confident’ in their child’s ability to finish college without having to temporarily withdraw (50 percent) compared with 2017 (55 percent).

• Meanwhile, 49 percent of students remain very confident they’ll be able to finish college without taking a break (compared to 48 percent in 2017); with 46 percent anticipating completing their degree within four years.

• Parents and students might have different opinions on the time it’ll take to finish a degree, but they do agree on how much it’ll cost their family if a withdrawal is necessary. Eight in ten parents and students say that financial repercussions of withdrawing could be severe, with an expected loss to be about $10,000. Further, 80 percent of parents and 84 percent of students admit they’d be worried about having to make student loan payments in the event of a withdrawal.

“This year’s College Confidence Index showed several disconnects between parents and children but agreement in their understanding of how much they’re investing in an education and the financial risks of temporary withdrawal,” said Dan Durazo, marketing and communications director at Allianz Global Assistance. “Families are not fully aware of the best ways to protect themselves should the unexpected occur, whether by making sure they know an institution’s refund policy or taking extra steps through related services, such as tuition protection.”

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Methodology: These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance in April 2018. For the survey, a sample of n=2,000 Americans (college students age 17-25, prospective n=500, current, n=500; and parents of prospective students 17-25, n=500, and of current students n= 500) were interviewed online via Ipsos’s I-Say panel.  Quotas and weighting (by gender and region) were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects the overall population according to census information. The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a Bayesian credibility interval.  In this case, with a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had all parents and students in America been polled. The credibility intervals are wider among subsets of the population.