Florida A&M University’s College of Education recently enforced health insurance as an additional requirement for education students enrolled in the fall semester.
Leon County Public Schools included a $31 health insurance plan with the required $73 background check for education students before starting a clinical, according to Almeta Washington, director of field experience and clinical practice.
Lashawnda Parker, a third-year education student said, “Having malpractice insurance is a good thing because it’s for our own benefit.”
Once Leon County drafted the agreement it was signed by FAMU Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris, Washington said. It went effect Aug. 12. Required documents are submitted to the department and approved by Hughes.
The College of Education held two orientation sessions to inform students about the health insurance requirements and ways to alleviate financial issues. They encouraged students who were not on their parent’s medical insurance to try purchasing insurance through National Education Association, the largest U.S. labor union for educators.
Some students are upset with the unexpected fees they now have to pay.
Students like third-year early childhood education student, Precious Ford said that paying for the background check and health insurance was burdensome.
“I had to pay out a large amount of money so I do not have money to afford books,” Ford said.
Washington said they had no knowledge of students dropping out of the program due to financial inabilities.
Enforcing the health insurance requirement is a burden to Benicia Mitchell, 20, a fourth-year math education from Triangle, Va.
“People are at a stand-still because they cannot pass the course if they do not have their clinicals completed,” Mitchell said. “The clinicals are a requirement to pass the class or they will fail the course. Overall it’s just a negative affect on education.”
The health insurance fee applies to students students who are not on their parents’ insurance.
Students can seek health insurance elsewhere but there has to be a liability of $1 million.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with clinicals,” said Deswin Mathews,20, a third-year elementary education student from Jacksonville.”
Mathews said that it should not be a requirement for students. “It is an additional fee for students to worry about,” Mathews said. “I am not taking clinicals now, but if I did, I wouldn’t agree with it.”
Washington said clinical experience is required by Florida Statutes, therefore any student having contact with children must have certain requirements. Washington encourages students to look at their course of study and to plan accordingly when getting their financial aid packet so that they can work on getting fees paid through the university.
For more information about receiving health insurance through the National Education Association, go to www.nea.org.