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College Money Topics
If you have a child going off to college this fall, you know there are lists of things you need to do before liftoff. According to NBC News and other experts, these are some financial issues you need to cover:
Stay on the lookout for things you need to sign. Even after you think everything is covered, there probably will be more papers for you or your student to sign – things like housing forms or that final transcript.
Make sure your student has health coverage – and understands how to use it. Most students are covered under their parents’ health insurance, but you should check with your insurance agent to make sure that is the case. Also make sure that your student has an insurance card and knows how to use it. Discuss the various care options available – student health, a local doctor, the emergency room, etc. – and when the student should use each.
Check for any summer payments. Many colleges and universities have payments that are due during the summer, so be aware of what needs to be paid when. (If you don’t pay on time, the college will certainly let you know. But it’s best not to be surprised.)
Talk frankly about money. Your student probably is going to have a lot more financial responsibility without you to keep tabs. Talk frankly with your student about what you are paying for and what the student is paying for. Make sure he or she knows how to keep track of the amount in the checking account and how to budget. And talk about making wise financial choices. You might have to have this conversation more than once.
Start planning early. That gives you time to look for the best deals on things like sheets and dorm needs and to get them before they are gone from the shelves. Decide whether you want to buy things before you leave or shop when you get to the school – a decision that probably will depend largely on how far away the school is. Some schools allow you to purchase things like bedding that will be delivered to your child’s dorm room.