New Trend: Parents Moving to College with Their Students

How would you feel if your parents moved to college with you? These did and, according to a new trend, yours might, too.

Elizabeth Hoyt

February 03, 2015

New Trend: Parents Moving to College with Their Students New Trend: Parents Moving to College with Their Students

For most students, college is a time to get away from the comforts of home and discover oneself. It’s a time to explore the world around you, learn new things and discover what new-found independence is really like.

Sure, at times, independence can be a struggle. Nevertheless, most students will tell you, the struggle is worth it, and they become stronger in the end.

According to an article published by USA Today College, however, this is not the case for all college students.

Let’s make this perfectly clear from the get-go: we’re not referring to students who have decided to take a gap year and stay home, students who have decided to live at home while attending community college to save money or any other similar scenario you’d guess.

What we’re referring to is a scenario in which students move away to attend college and their parents, rather than scheduling weekend visits or waiting for their students to visit for the holidays, make the decision to relocate and move near the college campus to be close to their student or students.

Example Family A
Once such story, detailed in the article involved a family from Denver, whose daughter decided to attend college in Portland, Oregon. Once she left, her parents became restless and decided it was time to relocate. They did relocate – they just relocated to Portland, Oregon, where their daughter is attending college. The parents purchased an apartment there, which they now share as a family.

While there are benefits, such as cutting down on the daughter’s costs in housing and staying close as a family, many see it as “helicopter parenting.” The family has stated that they are “taking it one year at a time” but are open to the “possibility of extending [their stay] throughout her college career.”

Example Family B
This mother is all about her two boys and their football careers. She’s planning on rearranging her career and life in Phoenix, Arizona so that she can move part-time to Anaheim, California and rent a home during football season, where her son will be playing college football.

It’s a bit complicated – her youngest son plays football in Phoenix on Fridays and she wants to attend those games, too. In order to attend both sons’ games, she will need to leave early Saturday morning to attend the college football games on Saturdays, but she’s arranged for the youngest son to stay with his father while she’s away.

A Growing Trend
This trend was first noticed in 2008 by real estate firm, Coldwell Banker. Originally, the firm noticed the trend while compiling its annual College Home Price Comparison Index, which ranks average home prices in over 300 college towns. While the index has not been calculated in several years, agents continually see this trend within home rentals and sales near college campuses.

Such agents aren’t strangers to situations where parents relocate for their college students. For example, one such agent recently relocated parents nearly 400 miles from their original home near a college campus their student was attending so that their college freshman was able to live with them.

USA Today College reported the agent as saying, “They felt very strongly they did not want their daughter living on campus. They felt like she would have a better study environment if she were with them. She didn’t seem to have any problem with it.”

An alumni who interviews prospective freshman for a school within Washington, D.C. has started to encounter this trend as well. When she asked a prospective student how her parents felt about her moving so far away, the student’s reply surprised her.

According to the article, “She said, `They don’t mind living on the East Coast or the West Coast, so I’m applying to those places.’ I was, like, `Do you mean to tell me they’re going to move wherever you go to school’ and she said yeah. She didn’t look entirely thrilled about it.”

When the alumni went home and mentioned the interview to her teen daughter, the daughter mentioned a friend who has parents doing the very same thing. Apparently, the situation wasn’t so unique after all.

We’re wondering what impact, positive or negative, you think this would have on the college experience? Do you consider this to be helpful or helicopter parenting? Write your comments below!

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