September is right around the corner. Please take a minute to protect your new college student and their family. Negotiating the deposit, reserving the dorm room, and calculating financing of the remaining balance are all top of mind for new and returning college-bound students.

As students transition from high school to college, many will be turning 18 years of age —a milestone in their lives and a new designation in the eyes of colleges and universities, adults.

Our children will always remain young at heart, but when they turn 18 years of age, the rules change, especially in the eyes of the medical and legal system. An eighteen-year-old becomes responsible for their own medical and legal care as well as other consumer actions. As students move onto college campuses, travel to and from, and begin to live independently of their parents, legal and medical documentation is need for parents to remain part of the conversation.

Four documents needed before a student settles in this September are:

  1. FERPER Agreement – signed by the student and parent(s) annually; this document permits school administrators to speak with parents for student needs associated with academic, housing, campus life infractions, and public safety, and more.
  2. HIPAA Authorization Form – allows a physician to speak with a parent regarding a student’s medical condition.
  3. Healthcare Power of Attorney – beyond a HIPAA Agreement, if a student cannot communicate due to temporary incapacitation, a parent would need a Healthcare power of attorney to act on behalf of the student.
  4. General Durable Power of Attorney – acting on behalf of a loved one to manage their finances, pay bills, and assist in matters beyond healthcare.

For parents caring for those parents, the elderly, these last three documents are standard but hold an equally important place in the lives of college-age students.

Check with your Family Law Attorney to learn more on how to obtain these vital documents.

In addition, immunization records must be current, including all vaccinations and now  COVID-19 for the Fall. Check with the college to determine if they have a specific form that a student’s primary care doctor must complete before arriving on campus. Medical records take time, don’t wait.

Up-to-date passports (study abroad), car. property, and liability insurance policies should all be reviewed to protect students and their families.

Finally, as I did with my four college-age children, I encourage all parents to have a frank and honest conversation about drinking, drugs, and sex. There is no denying it. On average, over 1800 freshmen nationally dies within the first 180 days of stepping on a college campus due to alcohol-related deaths.

Sending an 18-19-year-old young mind off to college can be like opening up the barn door and letter the horses run free. Help your college-age student have a safe and successful college career.

For more information on these and other college planning needs, please feel free to contact me, Tom O’Hare at Get College Going