The History of Student Protection Plus and Nicholas A. Barlow

John Ferretti

“Our student families value the security we provide through Student Protection Plus.”
LECOM President and CEO John M. Ferretti, D.O.

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) has launched a proactive approach to three pressing issues facing students, and they’re ready to share their strategy.

When one exceptional LECOM student was lost too soon due to a cancer diagnosis, administrators recognized that there was a set of needs their students had that were not being met.

Let’s start with the student: Nicholas Aaron Barlow. Nick was a PharmD candidate in the Class of 2013, full of life and filled with optimism about his dream to become a pharmacist. He was known and loved by everyone at the close-knit campus. When Nick unexpectedly lost a battle with cancer in January of that year, the entire LECOM family was affected.

In a pragmatic and personal response, the college sought to design a program in Nick’s honor that would support other LECOM students should serious or life-threatening situations arise. As they worked with Erie-based employee benefits firm Hubbard-Bert, Inc. to craft a plan, they noted three contemporary concerns this plan would need to address:


  1. Wellness-An undeniable need for emotional support. College students face everyday challenges like stress management and handling an increased academic load, and often more serious struggles like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and physical health issues.
  2. Travel Assistance-Student safety and security for the increasing number of students studying abroad or travelling domestically for educational purposes, like a medical residency.
  3. Insurance for Life-The debt burden from student loans that could result for student families in the face of a tragedy like Nick’s.


LECOMInitially the plan was named The Barlow Trust, and LECOM offered it to protect all of their full-time students. A notable benefit of the plan from the institution’s perspective is that the holistic approach also helps the school to recruit –and retain– a student body healthy in mind, body and spirit. A leader in wellness, LECOM is proud that this first-of-its-kind plan is now going beyond its doors as Student Protection Plus™.

“The memory of Nick will live on through the security this plan will bring to our Students and their families. We are gratified to be able to share this exciting new option with our colleagues across the nation, ” stated LECOM President and CEO John M. Ferretti, D.O.

The Student Protection Plus program is now available to colleges and universities nationwide. The plan includes three components: Worldwide travel assistance, an extensive counseling and support component, and a $100,000 life insurance benefit, up to $250,000 for medical or graduate students.

According to Dr. Ferretti, the low cost per-student line item is easy to justify, as the benefits to students are substantial. In the first year of implementing Student Protection Plus, Ferretti noted success with the program, students report having a sense of security and support no matter what struggles they face. Dr. Ferretti concluded, “We’ve been extremely pleased with the response of our students and their families to Student Protection Plus.”