Millions of parents will send their children off to a college campus this month with their car packed full of essentials like clothing, computers, books, music systems and more. Anxiety hangs in the air. Will this place be a good match for my son or daughter? Will he or she be safe? Happy? Challenged? Welcomed? Friended? If you are the parent of a soon-to-be college freshman, we hope this change goes smoothly for your family. Perhaps you’ll want to consider some of our suggestions before you back out of the driveway later this month….
This month is a great time to sit down with your teenager to discuss money. It can be a wonderful opportunity to begin transferring financial self-reliance to your young adult. Specifically, you’ll need to discuss what the family will pay for and what expenses the student is expected to pay for. What amount of spending money will be available for your son or daughter? A set allowance? Pre-paid debit card? Traditional checking account? Who will pay for trips home, spring break, social expenses, athletic gear, dating, fraternity/sorority membership? Is there a family budget for these items? If you haven’t already begun talking about the use and abuse of credit cards, now is the time!
Make sure your student has appropriate health care coverage!
Additionally, a Health Care Power of Attorney that names the parents as the health care decision-makers for their student will be critical in a medical emergency. You will need written authorization (HIPAA Authorization) to access their private and personal medical records. Your attorney can help you create these basic documents.
Attendance & Academic Records
Although universities differ in policy, students are typically regarded as adults with the right to privacy. This generally means you won’t know if they are on campus or attending classes. Students usually receive periodic grade reports and they are not commonly shared with parents directly, even if the parents are paying the tuition bill. Please make sure you understand school policies and discuss your personal expectations with your new college student.
Heading off to school can be a wonderful time in a young adult’s life. Some of these tips may help ease the transition and lead to a more harmonious collegiate experience.