Vanderbilt adds transgender surgery to student insurance plan
- Vanderbilt University joins a growing number of colleges and universities nationwide to offer reconstructive surgery and hormone therapy in its student insurance plan.
- It is among a small number of southern schools currently offering comprehensive coverage for transgender transitional care, and among just 72 schools nationally.
- Low numbers of students pursuing reconstructive surgery makes plan additions affordable.
While some Southern schools continue to grapple with state fights against using restrooms of choice, schools like Vanderbilt are presenting a completely different picture of inclusion on campus. Coverage for transgender surgery provides support and inclusion, but it also reduces the potential for outgroups within campus LGBT communities. With cost as a limited or non-factor, students who otherwise would not be able to afford procedures can receive treatment without it being a measure of affluence, or the pressure of having to work or to save money for treatment.
As students become more tolerant, campuses which align their brands with cultures of tolerance will become more attractive for enrollment, media coverage, and philanthropy. And because costs for coverage are relatively low, the investment in tolerance is a small price to reap large dividends in recruitment and retention - particularly as some states and campuses continue to hold fast to limited protections for LGBT citizens.