Heather Barber
January 15, 2021

Important Forms Your College Student Needs

The college application process is complete. So what do you do in the meantime? Here are a few items you can take care of that aren’t typically on the radar of “things to do”, but they should be! These are the kinds of things you don’t want to overlook before your student heads off to college. According to Joanna Lilly, consultant and founder of Lilley Consulting, there are 6 important documents that your soon-to-be-college-student should not leave home without.

Six Important Forms Your College Student Needs In Case of Emergency

  1. An authorized FERPA release. Although this is not absolutely necessary to have as a parent, if you want access to your student’s grades, helping with paying tuition, or even speaking with an academic advisor, you’re going to need this. Before anyone from a university will speak with you, they will check and see if your student has a FERPA release on file. If you want to be able to discuss anything about your student’s educational records, make sure you sign one of these.
  2. A HIPAA authorization. In order to have access to your child’s medical records while they are away, you will need to sign one of these. All universities have one, so make sure your student signs one. In addition, you may want to check with your insurance company to see if a separate one is needed while your student is away at school. This form is especially important if your student will be attending college in another state.
  3. The Psychiatric Advanced Directive: When your child starts college, if they have any kind of psychiatric diagnosis and are taking medication for it, you will need this. These forms can be found online. This form is especially important if your child is headed out of state. You will need one of these forms for your home state as well as the state where your child is attending school. In the event of an emergency, this form will allow you to make decisions regarding healthcare on behalf of your student.
  4. The Health-Care Proxy, or the Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA). In the event of an emergency and your child becomes unconscious or in a coma, this will allow you to make medical decisions on behalf of your child. Not having this means you are not able to contribute to the medical caretaking of your child. Please be aware that if your child is attending school in a different state, you will need to have this document as it pertains to that state as well.
  5. The Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA), different than the Medical Power of Attorney. This one is important, especially if your student is studying abroad. In order to have access to things like a bank account, credit cards, tax information, car registration, etc, this one is imperative!
  6. A Living Will. If your student already has personal assets like a car or a pet, this legal document protects their assets from being taken away. You can find templates online to create a Living Will and then have it notarized.

Several of these forms revolve around topics we hope to never confront. And yes, they are difficult to discuss. But as we often realize, it’s better to be prepared than not. Make sure you have the forms signed and completed BEFORE your child leaves. In the end, the preparation from this process will hopefully make certain challenges easier to navigate should they arise.   

Best of luck with your budding college student! May they stay safe and healthy!

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