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Earn a major in smarts by avoiding a minor in possession

They’ve graduated high school and are ready to live in their own place, miniscule as it may be. Your college-bound children may feel that they’re leaving the realm of adolescence behind and will soon gain entry into the adult world, one teeming with new freedoms and rights: unlimited curfew, endless social engagements and myriad caloric options. If your child is still a minor, though, there are a few restrictions that can hamper the laissez-faire existence he’s crafted for himself on campus.

Enticing as it may be, the lure of alcohol consumption is one that can lead to problems beyond a next-day hangover. Minors found drinking or having alcohol in their possession can be cited with possession as a minor (MIP) and charged with a misdemeanor, even if the minor is not driving. If your child is cited with alcohol possession, this charge could create long-term repercussions that impact your child’s future. The enduring effects of misdemeanors have been mentioned earlier on this blog.

Rather than emphasize what may happen in twenty years, let’s talk about the present and two years down the road. If your child is charged with a misdemeanor as a freshman in college, the impact of this transgression will resonate for the two years it remains on your child’s file before the record is expunged. Progressing through freshman and sophomore year, your child may encounter restrictions in his short-term financial, educational and residential options.

Financial consequences

If your child is responsible for a portion or all of college tuition, those funds will be lessened by the fees associated with discharging misdemeanor fines. In Minnesota, the price to discharge penalties starts at $100 and may increase to $1000 with jail time attached. When you introduce a DWI into this scenario, bills begin to quickly accumulate to cover license reinstatement and court costs among others. Students who make their money by delivering food for Jimmy Johns or Dominos will obviously find increased insurance rates eliminating the financial cushion their delivery tips provide.

Educational effects

In addition to the impact a hangover can have on test success and class attendance, long-term binge drinking deleteriously influences student GPA. Studies have been conducted reviewing the correlation between binge drinking and GPA. The relationship is not positive. Coupling a lower GPA with a misdemeanor could result in loss of academic or athletic scholarship, especially if the student fails to meet eligibility requirements for the scholarship.

Residential results

If your child receives a misdemeanor as a freshman, options for housing may not initially be a concern because almost all freshmen are required to live in college dormitories. Of course, during sophomore year and junior year, this may not be the case. Many students prefer apartments to dorm rooms due to increased space and independence. In order to apply for a lease, housing applicants are typically subjected to background checks to determine if the students are reliable. In tight markets, such as those that exist in college towns, the best rates for the best rentals are given to those with clean records. It’s tricky to compete for living space with a record.

Yes, college can be the best four, six or eight years of your child’s life. For a student with a misdemeanor, however, two of those years will be less than optimal. Before the new academic year begins, share this blog with your college-bound children. Their lives could be better in two years because of it.