Essential Legal Documents for College Students

college student

Before your child embarks on their college adventure, several legal documents are crucial. These encompass a FERPA waiver, HIPAA authorization, health care proxy, living will, and a general power of attorney. You can obtain all these forms through Mamabear Legal Forms. Additionally, reviewing health and homeowner’s insurance policies to ensure your child’s coverage is recommended.

FERPA Waiver

Despite footing the college bills, parents don’t inherently gain access to their child’s academic records, such as grades or health details. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) shifts these rights from parents to students once they turn 18 or enroll in higher education.Exceptions exist where the student’s consent isn’t necessary, such as:

  • Parents claiming the student as a dependent on tax returns, given specific conditions.
  • Emergencies where the student’s or others’ health or safety is at risk.
  • Violations related to alcohol or controlled substances by students under 21.

However, to ensure smooth access, having the student sign a FERPA Waiver is advisable. Each institution has its own version, available through the college’s financial aid office or website.

HIPAA Authorization

Upon turning 18, parents can’t access their child’s medical records. A HIPAA Authorization Form grants this access. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Health Care Proxy

At 18, parents can’t make medical decisions for their child. A Health Care Proxy lets parents decide if the child becomes incapacitated.

Living Will

A Living Will outlines a child’s medical preferences if they’re incapacitated. It covers end-of-life care, pain management, and organ donation. Discussing these preferences and providing copies to medical professionals is essential.

Power of Attorney

This grants parents the authority to manage financial and legal matters if the child is incapacitated. Some institutions might require their specific forms.

Health Insurance

While the Affordable Care Act covers children up to 26, verify your child’s coverage, especially if studying abroad. Consider medical evacuation insurance for overseas studies.

Renter’s Insurance

Ensure your policy covers your child’s possessions at college. If they live on or off-campus, renter’s insurance is highly recommended. GradGuard is a great website to have this done with a deductible of only $100.

Medical and Dental Check-ups

  • Schedule health check-ups.
  • Secure prescription copies.
  • Update vaccinations.
  • Obtain medical records for chronic conditions.

General Recommendations

  • Prepare and sign all documents before college.
  • Some might need notarization and non-family witnesses.
  • Avoid generic downloadable forms; get the latest versions from relevant organizations.
  • For out-of-state colleges, consider executing forms in both states.
  • Periodically review documents, especially after significant life events.
  • Students should carry a card indicating they possess these documents and where they’re stored.
  • While students should willingly sign these, parents can make it a condition for funding education.
  • U.S. men aged 18-25 should register with Selective Service for federal student aid and carry proof to college.
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