HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — When you send your kid off to college, what do they reallly need? In this day and age there are more and more amenities offered, but do you budget?
CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke to some experts on Friday.
College is a step towards independence, but at what cost?
“I think that young boys and girls should learn a sense of responsibility. After all, parents have taken care of them for a long, long time,” Judy Schlazer said.
Kids may be out of the house, but many are still financially dependent on their parents, asking for things beyond the necessities of housing, food and books — for what some call college luxuries.
“So the conversation about what the needs are, what the expectations are, what parents are willing to support or not, it’s a good place to start,” said Dr. Bari Norman, a certified educational planner and co-founder and president of Expert Admissions.
Some of the latest add-ons include debit cards for off campus restaurants, meal delivery, download an app for errand running, and private gym memberships.
“I know some kids who go to Planet Fitness down street, but I just use the school gym that’s free,” said Stevens Institute of Technology senior Michael Fasulo.
Walking the Stevens Institute campus in Hoboken, Baker found a mix of students — some that said they work for their extra spending money and others that get an allowance from mom and dad.
Lalita Gajbe gets $500 a month for what she calls “extra things,” including having someone else do her laundry.
“Usually once a month and they charge me around $20,” Gajbe said.
Dr. Norman said some parents do choose to pay for additional amenities like laundry service to help their child save time and focus on studying.
“There are some parents who would, knowing their kid, would say ‘listen, I know they need to do one thing versus another,’ and other parents who say ‘I want my kid to learn how to do the laundry. I want them to be able to do these things that they’re going to have to do probably on their own after they graduate,'” Norman said.
Some parents Baker spoke to said college is the time to learn how to multi-task.
“She did go to one college where they offered the laundry service and I thought it was ridiculous,” said Anne Regina, a mother of a college student. “They should learn on their own.”
“A sense of having responsibility. You just can’t have somebody do everything for you in life,” Schlazer said.
Some of the largest expenses come in the form of a computers, electronics, and sports equipment. Insurance expert Jeanne Salvatore said parents should discuss the value of belongings, get insurance, and leave expensive jewlery at home, Baker reported.
“It’s important that you talk to your son or daughter about insurance or other financial situations, but it’s also important … have them help you with that inventory,” said Salvatore, the senior VP and CCO of in Insurance Information Institute. “You’re sending them off to school. This is the sort of first step to being an adult, so let them put together that home inventory.”
Experts said the conversation about budget and value are all a part of the growing-up experience that will shape them to make smart decisions for the future.