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What is my checklist for sending child out of state?

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What is missing or needs correction on my checklist for child going to college out of state?


Tell Car ins he is taking car with him.

Find out if health ins covers out of state

Consider Renters ins. I.e. Liability

Get a Locking trunk or locking filing cabinet for valuables

Start looking for room to rent now.

Open bank account near college for cash access

Add checking account

Get credit card with his name

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Decide how you are going to get money to him.


In our case we set up a debit card on her credit union account here in town, and I have access to that account.  I can check balances on it and put money in it.  We have asked her to use that account only for transportation, books, school supplies, and food.


For clothes and fun stuff and eating out we send cash (well hidden) to her.


The debit card is loaded up on an as needed basis.  The cash I have been sending amounts to about $40/month.  She had plenty of clothes to start with, so that figure can be used for frivolous stuff or she can save the money and keep it.


We looked into renters' insurance, but it was unavailable for dorm apartment quarters.


Your child will need a portable computer, and I suggest that his data and docs be stored in the cloud in case it gets stolen or crashes.


Think through how you will move his stuff back and forth, and how much is reasonable.


Bed Bath and Beyond lets you purchase bedding, towels, etc. and pick them up at the store where the college is.  That can be pretty handy.

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You might want to check your home owners policy (or your own renters policy) they often extend to dependent children off at college.


Yes, something that behaves like a credit card.  I always worried as an out of state college student that my flight would get cancelled or I'd need a car rental and have no method for paying for a hotel, multiple meals, car, new ticket, etc.  Nor did I want to carry that much cash!

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As long as he is an dependent, undergraduate student, he should need to get a new driver's license and you shouldn't need to register the car in that state (if you do, you may not be able to include him on your current auto insurance policy).  

Today, having an account at a bank nearby the campus is not very important.  Most bank transactions occur electronically.  Does he currently have  a checking account?  Will your bank offer him a student account without fees?

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Your child might also consider where he or she wishes to be registered to vote. If a new driver's license is obtained, that will presumably alter voter registration.


Being called for jury duty is often tied to one's driver's license as well.




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I don't know if an 18 yr old can rent a car or get a hotel room, I am pretty sure they cannot rent a car, but just as a heads up, there is often a lot of extra hassle with using a debit card (even used as credit) when renting a car or hotel room.  Sometimes you can't do it at all with a debit card.

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If you elect to use your auto insurance's roadside assistance rather than AAA, make sure that it will travel, and also make sure your student keeps a checkbook or about $100 in cash on him at all times when he's driving the car. Also make sure he has some names of local auto tow places on hand. Our insurance covers roadside assistance for about $7 a year per car, so way cheaper than AAA, but we have to call the truck ourself, pay up front, and then get reimbursed. I think for a student, I would spring for AAA. But I think I would still want to scout out a reliable mechanic near the college, just to make me feel better.


Make sure he knows where he can get prescriptions filled, especially if they are important ones.


If you use a localish bank that does not have a branch near your student's college, scout out the best places to get cash from an ATM without exorbitant fees. It is so annoying when we need twenty in cash and between the two banks' fees, it costs more like twenty-five. We try to avoid that. The fancier gas stations around here seem to have no surcharge ATMs, and for a while, we had a bank that also reimbursed us for any other bank's fees. That was handy, since my DH works in a different state than our bank and occasionally needs cash.


Do you have to alert your credit card company? I don't know. If he will be going a long way from home, not to a nearby state, maybe?


Does he have a contingency plan in case the dorms close, but he's stuck because of bad weather or something?


I went to college out of state, and I didn't change my driver's license. I specifically recall tracking down someone to sign some form so I could vote absentee for my home state in the 1996 election. I never had a car at college, but my boyfriend had a couple of them. I think he kept his home state's plates on them with no trouble. In fact, I'm sure he did because I'm sure we had the home state's plate on the second one when we took it on our honeymoon a few weeks after graduation, and we didn't change it until we moved to Boston a month after the wedding.

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jdahlquist - Can I get clarification?  Yes, he is a dependent undergraduate. I understand from your post that the car needs to stay registered in my state, but I am not clear as to whether he needs to get a new driver's license in the college state. Thanks!

If he is a dependent undergraduate, wanting to maintain his residency in your home state, he shouldn't need a driver's license in the state of the school.  This would apply to a typical undergraduate, living in the dorm, going back home for summers, holidays, etc.  


There could be reasons why the student wants to try to establish residency in the state of the college.  There may be lower auto licensing and tag fees, lower state income tax, etc. The student may want to vote in the state in which the college is located.  Perhaps the student is wanting to continue on in graduate studies in that state and would like the benefit of in-state tuition.  The ability to establish residence in a state while a college student will vary from state to state--but it can be difficult while you are an undergraduate student.  In this case, having an in-state driver's license, auto registered in that state, etc. can help.

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If he will be getting a campus job, he may need to prove his citizenship.  A passport card is a handy and inexpensive way to do that.

A pocket folder can contain *important documents (copy of birth certificate and/or passport), *addresses of close relatives, friends or relatives who live near the school, doctors at home, potential doctors covered by your insurance near the school (if your insurance limits this), info about local pharmacy, etc.  (I found it helpful to go through my own phone book to see which numbers/addresses he might need.).  Throw in a few stamps and envelopes, etc.  A copy of the health forms you gave to the school.  Any newly acquired important documents can go into this folder: *employment documents and paystubs, *any important documents from the school. 

He should have his own copy of his health insurance card (medical, dental, vision).

Car should be stocked with the basics - charger for his phone, emergency gear appropriate for the weather (snow scraper), insurance and owner's documents.

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