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Sending your kid off to college has many a parent on edge. Will they eat nutritious meals? Will they remember how
to do their laundry? But when your soon-to-be college freshman is under the age of 17, parents face an entirely
extra set of concerns.
Here's a checklist to help you consider a variety of issues you and your early college kid may face as a non-traditional
age student living on campus.
- State Issued Identification Card
Your child's college ID card will be his best friend while living on campus. That all-in-one card will gain him access
to his dorm building, meal plan, and library lending privileges. However, it's important to make sure your early
college kid also has a state issued ID that lists his permanent address. In some cases he'll need the second picture ID
for banking purposes or financial transactions. If your youngster isn't driving, yet, he can get a state issued ID from
the Department of Motor Vehicles for less than $20.
- Cell Phone
Cell phones (with an insurance plan for lost, stolen, or broken phones) will be your lifeline to your early college kid.
More importantly, though, that phone may be your child's lifeline in a time of need. Programming an In Case of
Emergency (ICE) number into the phone's contact will provide first responders with a way of reaching you, should
something bad ever happen. Check with your phone's manufacturer how to make sure ICE contact information is available
when the phone is locked.
Also, consider adding on a texting plan. It usually only costs $5 per month for unlimited texting. You'll be surprised
by how you'll grow to like the instant contact you can have with your kid. And, your kid will appreciate the random
messages from home asking about how they did on a test but not having to take the call in front of friends.
Contact the college's Residence Life department to make them aware of your child's age. Just because Admissions knows
there's an early college kid coming to campus doesn't mean they've communicated that to other departments. Part of your
ResLife discussion may include how your child's age should be a need-to-know piece of information. Beyond essential
staff, your child should have the right to decide who knows about her age and who doesn't. Remind the ResLife
administrator that they are responsible for educating their staff that they are not entitled to discuss your child's
age with other students.
- Health Services
Contact the school's Heath Services and confirm what type of waiver you will need to sign so your child can obtain
general medical care while living on campus. While you're at it, have your insurance company issue an additional
subscriber card so your early college kid can keep it in their wallet for those late night sick visits.
The Family Educational Rights
and Privacy Act provides college students - even underage ones - with certain rights to privacy. Even though you're
paying the tuition bill, colleges cannot disclose information to you, the parent, unless your child gives the school
permission. Contact the Dean of Students ahead of time and find out the procedures for having your early college kid
designate you on her FERPA waiver. Once you are in the system, you'll be able to talk to financial aid, bursar
(billing), and registrar office staff about issues you may need to help your young one resolve.
- Field Trips
Yes, even college kids go on field trips - especially during freshmen orientation when they pack the kids on a bus and
take them to an amusement park for some community building fun. Off-campus trips are more common for selective Living
Learning Communities and Honors College students. Regardless of the sponsor, your early college kid might not be able
to go unless you sign and deliver a liability waiver form. Find out ahead of time about travel waivers and see if you
can leave a blanket waiver on file for your child.
In this day and age of online banking, you may not need to worry about this issue as much. Should your early college
kid get a job while at school, you can set up direct deposit. The biggest concern may be accessing cash through ATMs.
Unless the school has a national bank on campus, your kid may wind up paying ATM usage fees. On alternative to
consider is using your child's student ID as a debit card. Many colleges offer this option and, again, you can manage
deposits and view transactions through an online system.
- Power of Attorney
Establishing a temporary power of attorney for your child living on campus is a consideration some families make. This
legal document essentially assigns parenting rights to another adult, who would be able to make serious decisions on
the behalf of your child in your absence. One of the few times where this would be necessary is in a life or death
situation. Talk to an attorney before signing such a document, in order to fully understand the implications of such
January 29, 2020
E-mail: Hand In Hand Education
Last Updated September 19, 2019