Moving to your kid's college town?

I keep reading articles about the new “trend” of parents moving near their kid’s college – sometimes even living with them, but other times just living nearby. I’ve also read an insightful article by a student on this topic:

Here’s my situation. I’m a single mom, and my daughter is about to head off to the University of Minnesota. I currently work as a writer, and my employer will be making my job full-time remote at the end of the month, so I can leave Atlanta where I currently reside. I’ve always planned to move away once D graduated from high school. However, I never thought about where I would move.

Now that the time has arrived, I admit I fell in love with Twin Cities on our two visits there. Would I be ruining my child’s college experience if I also moved to Twin Cities? She’d still be in the dorms of course, and I’d just be among the 3.5 million other people in the metro area. She’s nervous and ambivalent about the idea, and so am I, but the alternatives are to move to my hometown in Florida to be near dad and sister, or move somewhere I have no family connections.

Feel free to share your honest opinions here, yet consider before you speak that most students go to college close to home, and most of the students at UMN are from Minnesota – many from the metro area – and will be able to see parents regularly on weekends.

Sure! If you are moving anyway, why not move to Minnesota! Who knows - perhaps later she could eventually get instate tuition.

I live in my kids’ college town and we love it. It doesn’t detract from the ‘college experience’.

Do you have any other children? What is your big picture plan for retirement, and how does a move to MN fit into that plan? I am realizing my desire to move closer to my siblings and my mom, in hopes of being able to care for family as they age. Will you ultimately want to move to Florida? If you did not have a child moving to MN, what would attract you to pick up and move there? Do you have personal goals to travel ? Are you the type of parent that could leave space for your college student to truly have the college experience ? My advice is to think it all through and give your child some time in MN without you. What if she flunks out first semester, or hates the winters and transfers to a southern school? She will feel more independent if you stay in Atlanta for her first year of school . Yes, it is scary to be on your own. But it builds confidence to be scared and still move forward in building a new life in a strange new place.

@Madison85 Oh… I hadn’t even considered the tuition, as she has a scholarship for OOS portion and another one for in-state portion – guess that OOS scholarship would be impacted. Thanks for the heads up.

@powercropper I’ve been thinking along some similar lines, like what would I do when she finished her bachelor’s and possibly heads across the country for a PhD somewhere else? Would I like Twin Cities enough to plan on living there whether she’s there or not? I’ll give that part some more thought, along with the idea of at least waiting a year or whatever before moving up there. My aging father could actually use my help in FL but he’s the one who encouraged me to look elsewhere to move, as my hometown is still suffering from recession and rather dismal right now (his view). Definitely not staying in Atlanta though. Time to move on… And Yes, travel has always been in my plans. If I didn’t have two dogs, I’d be probably be heading out of the country right now or down to Puerto Rico. Open to new adventures.

Some considerations:

If u move to MN, would u expect your social life to revolve around your daughter? She seem unkeen to be 'coptered over as she is learning to spread her wings.

We are empty-nesters. During our last corporate move, we found it more challenging to build a social network w/o the benefit of being associated w our children’s K-12 school. A single friend who relocated to another location reported the same difficulty. It is not an unsurmountable issue-- just harder.

Do u not have an established social circle where u presently live? Why do u want to leave Atlanta? (I would kill to live in a city w non-stops flights to practically everywhere)

Living closer to your dad & sister sounds appealing. As I observe my aging parents slowing down, the great physical distance between us becomes an ever increasing concern.

I’ve been thinking about it to establish residency and get in-state tuition. The process would probably take a couple years so we’d only qualify for junior and senior years. But it would save roughly 25k/yr which isn’t chump change. I have a lot of mobility for work so where I live isn’t really a big deal.

If I did, I wouldn’t really expect to see DD except for the usual holidays and maybe long weekends. I’m a firm believer that college kids should be doing college things, including hanging with their friends as much as they want.

Moving away from Atlanta, if you have no strong ties to the place, sounds like a good idea - for the future. I would hold off for at least a year or two. Actually, I would hold off for four years. Going “away” to college is a big thing to most kids. Following her to her college town (no matter how populous) may negate that feeling and worse, it may send an subconscious message that you don’t think she can do it on her own.

Some thoughts:
How about wait at least a year to see how the school/area works out for you D? And to give her some initial space and for you to adjust to time/space etc. without her in your current area.

Minnesota and Atlanta are worlds away in terms of climate. Winter is half the year! REAL winter. Can you handle that? It won’t be the pretty fall scene we see in the college brochures except for a brief time!

I would definitely not push the issue if my child didn’t seem keen on it. If you haven’t given much thought to the idea of where to move previous to now, maybe you should really take some time to “figure out” where you want to be.

If I were going to move to be closer to my child, I’d probably wait until I saw where she actually “landed” after college, though even that might not be a full proof way to stay geographically close.

@GMTplus7 Yes, Atlanta’s airport is the best thing about Atlanta! :slight_smile: Long story, but I’m sick of the traffic here, and have dreamed of moving away for years. Also, I run into my ex and his cronies and family everywhere I turn in Atlanta, since we have similar interests, and I want to start fresh somewhere else. But I was wondering how hard that might be. Very much appreciate your insights on the challenge of building a new social network! Also nice to keep hearing from people that they also worry about aging parents.

Might your sister help you build a new social network?

MSP is also a delta hub. It doesn’t have as many non-stops as ATL, but it ain’t shabby.

Folks from Atlanta are not keen on our airport. We still have to leave our homes 3.5 to 4 hours before our flight time to fight traffic driving to the airport, and to allow enough time to get through security, etc. I can often times drive to my destination in less time than I have to allow to fly out of Atlanta.

No one dreams of living out their retirement years in metro Atlanta. Everyone dreams of escaping into the mountains or moving away to be closer to the beach or to relatives. I am dreaming of moving closer to the beach AND to relatives, but have too many years left before that is a possibility.

If you are itching to physically move, is it possible to downsize, pack up and store a lot of your stuff, and move with minimal baggage to Florida for a short-term stay with or near family while you make more long-term decisions? That would let you enjoy time with family, relax a bit, and let you dream a bit about where you want to relocate more permanently. Another benefit is that you could see your dad’s living situation and have a better understanding of the reality of his needs for care from his family. Sometimes in an attempt to not worry their children, parents try to pretend they are more independent than they really are. Living right there, you will notice if meds are being taken regularly, bills are being paid, maintenance is being done on the house, medical appointments are being made and kept, and if other family members are exhausting themselves and need some relief.

The benefit of moving to Minnesota as a single parent would be potential money savings.

  1. in state tuition
  2. saving room and board expenses if both of you live together off campus.
  3. saving flight costs if you live locally vs living out of town.

@powercropper I think you hit the nail on the head. I’ve actually researched the cost of storing my stuff up the street, and thought of going to FL “temporarily” while I make up my mind. Maybe that idea has been the right one all along…

Sounds like you know Hartsfield well. I’ve literally had that experience before also, where I could’ve driven somewhere faster than flying. And thanks for echoing my sentiment on how “no one dreams of living out their retirement years in metro Atlanta.”

I really am trying to think long-term about my next move – whether a location has what I would want and need say 5-10-20 years from now – but maybe FL by relatives while deciding would at least help me figure out if that’s the place to be or not long-term. Whichever way I decide, I could then just take my stuff out of storage and make that move in the future, rather than jumping into things in a bigger way in the next few weeks.

Also, thanks so much about pointing out how my dad may be putting up a big front about being independent. I think he really does need lots of help right now, and my sister is really worn out helping him and his needs are going unmet. I wondered why he would encourage me not to move there, but he’s always been very self-sufficient so it could be him still trying to come across that way and not wanting to burden me.

Will you be playing “Ride of the Valkyries” as you swoop in and unload the moving van and will the helicopter noises be added to the soundtrack or simply imagined?

LOVE this. When my D was first looking for colleges, I said, " pick a good location, kid, because i’m moving with you." She was all, “Mom. No.” LOL So it’s great to see someone actually considering it!!

We live in Minneapolis/St. Paul and our youngest attends the University here. We really don’t see him that often, but it is nice to grab a quick dinner or do a Target run and it sure makes holidays easier.

I would be thinking about my retirement plans and now is the time to make new friends for those golden years so select an area where YOU want to be and try to keep it within one hour of a decent airport for future travel.

We love this area, except for January/February. But I am sure you wouldn’t appreciate July and August in Florida!

@JustOneDad I realize that could be the perception of many, even if I only saw my daughter infrequently and focused only on building my own life there. Even worse than other parents looking at me like that would be if her fellow students perceived me that way. However, there are plenty of reasons aside from helicoptering that parents may choose to live in a city near their child. In fact, in the Twin Cities, I could even choose one city while she lived in the other. But I think the consensus so far is that this is not a good idea for the time being…no matter how much I may like Twin Cities.

Thanks, @Kajon for sharing your insights and experience. I agree – living near a major airport is a priority, and that is what is lacking in my hometown. Also, the FL lifestyle is not appealing to me because just about everyone I grew up has had skin cancer removed already (one friend died from it), and I keep battling precancerous growths myself from all those years of getting sunburned at the beach. I don’t picture taking advantage of the beach lifestyle at all if I move back to FL. Not surprised at all you love MSP – haven’t met anyone yet who didn’t say the same! Seems like an awesome place to live.