Chicago — Many college students face the challenge of adjusting to life away from home, especially if they are in a new country or state. That’s why “Rent a Mom” businesses have promoted themselves as outlets for students who need help navigating their new life, lending a hand with things like laundry, grocery shopping, banking, tutoring and apartment hunting.
One of the businesses, Concierge Services for Students (CSS Boston), offers round-the-clock services, holding a price tag of $10,000 per academic year. Joan Alfond and Tamara Jumin, who co-founded CSS Boston told People they came up with the idea for it after, “recognizing the need for these students to have a ‘mom away from home,’” according to People Magazine.
Mindy Horwits started her business, mindyKnows, for similar reasons. She saw parents looking for information about Washington University in St. Louis and its surrounding area that only locals would know.
"We started this business in 2019 as a service to parents," a spokesperson for mindyKnows told People, adding that the company has "experts" who "can help alleviate the stress of navigating a new town." Since then, the business has expanded to Northwestern University, Skidmore College and University of Hartford.
While some have wondered whether “rent a mom” services enable young people in ways that prevent them from being independent, the businesses have disagreed.
“Our students are independent thinkers and [they] navigate their own college experience,” a spokesperson for mindyKnows told People. “We simply help fill in the holes on the behalf of the parents.”
Some parents have seen value in the services. Douglas Feirsteing told the Wall Street Journal that he hired mindyKnows to help his daughter unpack and organize her dorm at Washington State University.
“We were able to spend more stress-free time with Emma,” said Feirstein.
Noah Johnson (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow him on Twitter: @noahwritestoo.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett