Insurance mandate irks students

Education students who thought they were ready for their spring internships were hit with one of the biggest surprises ever.

They found out in order to do their mandatory field clinicals or internships, medical insurance, plus a million-dollar liability policy was a new requirement.

For those who aren’t education students: field clinicals are mandatory observation sessions students fulfill through local schools.

Certain classes within the education curriculum require anywhere from 10 to 20 hours each semester.

Prior to the requirement, the only prerequisite for field clinicals was consent and successful passing of a background check conducted by the Leon County School Board.

This new rule became mandatory in Leon County Aug. 12. The Office of Student Teaching, which assigns students schools for field clinicals and internships, informed students of the new medical and liability insurance policy in two meetings on Aug. 26 and Sept. 3. In order to be placed, students must show proof of insurance, both medical and liability by 5 p.m. Sept.18.

To some this isn’t an issue. Most students depend upon their parents’ medical insurance policy. Some students are covered under FAMU’s student Health Plan, which is covered in their tuition.

Yet there are others, like me, who haven’t had medical insurance in years and cannot afford the ridiculously high premiums associated with medical and dental coverage.

The million-dollar liability policy isn’t really an issue for most students because it’s only an annual student fee of $20 to $35.

However, this slight convenience doesn’t do much to quiet the complaints of unprepared students.

Those unable to pay for medical or liability insurance have been forced to drop classes and delay their internships.

Some were forced to change their majors in the eve of what is supposed to be the biggest event of your college career: graduation.

Dropping classes could result in less than the 12-hour minimum for full-time students, which means no financial aid for the fall semester. Keeping the classes means failing them and an failing GPA. It’s a classic catch-22.

As much as students want to place the blame for this inconvenience on the College of Education and the Office of Student Teaching, doing so would be a mistake.

The university must abide by rules set by the local and state government and it did its part by informing students of the new changes as soon as possible. Leon County issued this rule and any ill feelings should be directed there.

Legislators must understand it takes time for students to do what they have to in order to continue with their education.

Two weeks is not enough time to shop for policies, select one and gather the money to pay for it-especially for students with little financial support from their families, or even students with families of their own.

Two weeks isn’t enough time to take out a loan and we all know, far too well, that the arrival of net checks on this campus is not reliable.

Because the government issued the policy during the summer, letters should have been written and sent out- a mass e-mail would have been nice.

That way, students would have ample time to budget or apply for loans. Right now, students have less than 24 hours to find a solution.

Kiffani Jones is a senior English education student from Quincy, Fla. She can be reached at