Weighing Student Privacy vs Suicide Risk

Article suggested by Rhett on a Hamilton College Student

Should colleges notify  parents if they become aware of a student “at risk?”

Have student privacy rules gone too far in keeping the tuition payers in the dark about everything in their student’s life, including grades or academic probation  or health center admissions or unpaid campus bills?

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140 thoughts on “Weighing Student Privacy vs Suicide Risk

  1. I went to the parent orientation session at my kids college on Tuesday, and FERPA came up a lot. You could tell the administrations giving the talks really hate it. The advice that several of them gave was to obtain your kids login and password for the university student portal and monitor everything. They said most kids are happy to give that information to their parents. The administrators did not think this is too helicopterish at all – they all said that there are so many deadlines and the portal is so disorganized that students are relieved to have a second set of eyes watching things. And yes, I do have that information from my kid.

  2. One of the things I truly hate about FERPA is that when a student registers with disability services, they are not allowed to tell me, the professor teaching that kid, anything other than the mandated supports, which are usually pretty minimal. It is really different from K12, where the teachers are told of the diagnosis and get help on appropriate ways to help the student. The teachers of my hearing impaired kid always get an in service training from a teacher of the deaf in the fall as classes start. But we professors aren’t even allowed to know what the disability is.

  3. How do students with disabilities do once they move on to the workplace? My brother had dyslexia, which made him a poor speller and a slow reader. In engineering, the volume of reading is moderate and careful reading is necessary, so he was very successful but he wouldn’t have been successful in a reading-intensive liberal arts major. If he weren’t engineering material, he might not have gone to college or he might have chosen a more vocational major like nursing or law enforcement.

  4. Parents should have been notified about his depression. It galls me that parents pay the tuition but are not allowed any other information. A condition for paying tuition should be grades are sent home.

    My husband’s first year at Wharton was ’66-’67. He just came from a Military HS and broke loose a little bit. His Dean wrote his father telling him that my husband was not working to potential (he was far from failing or even a gentleman’s C). After meeting with the Dean and hearing from his father, my husband worked harder and played less. The Dean continued to write my father-in-law during the rest of the year. Fortunately my fil kept the letters and when my husband got on my children about a grade, I would pull them out and wave them in front of my husband and remind him he wasn’t as perfect as he thought.

    Interestingly, the letters were only addressed to my fil and not both parents.

  5. How do students with disabilities do once they move on to the workplace?

    Great! In my personal experience :-)

    As you mentioned adult jobs have a lot more variety than high school or college. What it takes to be a successful interior decorator is vastly different than what it takes to be a successful air traffic controller.

  6. As I’ve mentioned before I have a real problem with the assumption than every kid has Ward and June Clever waiting at home. 4th grade teacher. “Your parents will love working with you on this diorama.” And how the fuck do you know if Timmy comes home to find mom passed out drunk on the couch every afternoon at 3? Does dad come home and beat mom and the kids…just because?

    The MIT girl who set herself of fire after getting a B. What do you bet the parents aren’t entirely blameless? Not all parents love their kids. Not all parents want what’s best for them. Some are using their kids to fight their own demons, etc.

    Maybe changes need to be made but try and think outside the totebag bubble.

  7. The kids are adults. Period. Why should they have any lesser right to privacy at 18 than at 21 or 25 or 45? And who says the parents are paying? Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. I don’t know how we expect the federal government to make these fine distinctions in such a huge variety of possible situations. Seems to me that if you want to cut a different deal with your kid, as a condition of tuition payments or whatever, you are free to do so — make them give you their passwords, sign papers allowing the school to pass on any health info to the parents, or whatever.

  8. My child with dyslexia appears to be doing well in the workforce, as much as you can tell from less than a year. I had concerns when she changed her major to Communications, for obvious reasons. But she’s been upfront with them that she should not be the last line of defense against typos, and she has been pleased with the praise she gets from them regarding her writing. She has taken on some additional responsibilities in a more analytical vein, and is figuring out how to play to her strengths. I’m more worried about DS, who relies on dictation for much of his writing, but is having to do some literature summaries at his internship and is just typing them up. The last time I saw an unedited snippet of his school work was a couple of years ago, but it was a dense paragraph with no capitalization or punctuation. I have reminded him that he wants a recommendation from these people in the future, and that he should edit anything about five times before he gives it to them. Presumably he would not submit anything lacking punctuation, but that is still very much an afterthought in his writing process. It clearly bothers me more than him.

  9. This topic was a concern of mine years back when my child had some struggles. Their desire to not worry their parents, or to appear to not be able to handle what everyone around seems to be managing makes some kids hold it all in. Shame is a powerful driving force for some people. I know from multiple friends the extreme difficulty students have getting in to speak to a mental health counselor, with wait times approaching a month. Obviously most parents would pay for a private therapist in an emergency but you can’t get a same-day appointment there as a new patient. I don’t know what the solution is, but I don’t blame these parents for being upset. It’s impossible to accurately sense the mood of someone hours away that you only talk to occasionally and some students will try to mask their struggles from their parents. Not all young people are prepared to take on all of that and manage the pressure at 18-19.

  10. The advice that several of them gave was to obtain your kids login and password for the university student portal and monitor everything.

    Is that the plan for their first job as well? Log into Outlook and make sure they don’t miss the rescheduled staff meeting tomorrow?

  11. I agree with Laura. Just because a Totebag parent would be a good resource for a student does not mean that all or even most parents are. I would like to see schools come up with an acceptable release that the student can sign if he/she wants to give access to parents. Those who wish to have parental involvement can make it a condition of paying tuition or whatever deal they want to cut with their kid(s).

  12. I’d like to see Rhett’s suggestion get more traction – these students usually don’t just have issues in college. Some are brewing long before they get there. I don’t know what interventions or checks can be put in place though to help with the root causes of these issues.

  13. From what I have heard, the first semester at college can be tough for some kids. And it’s not that all parents were helicoptering before. 18 years old and a total cutoff from notifying parents what is happening doesn’t work for everyone though for most kids and the normal bumps in the road it should be fine. I know of two neighbor kids who came home due to too much partying. They are now at the city branch of UNC and living at home. I am sure they will move out of the parental home pretty much in line with their peers.

  14. Schizophrenia runs in my family and two family members needed help in their late teens/early twenties. One had joined a religious order and in the 60s in the home country they brought her back to her parents. It was a shocker to the family that they had not been notified of any troubles and then their child was dumped on their doorstep. It turned my family off from the institutional church.

  15. I have very mixed feelings about parental involvement in the lives of college students. Certainly suicide prevention makes the issue one of life and death.

    But although I understand the desire to assist and monitor communications with password and login, it is something I cannot stomach, and one of my kids had a 2 1/2 year special needs outplacement in middle and high school, so I am not unfamiliar with those sorts of issues. Such access, had it even been possible in those days, for my late adolescent and young adult kids certainly would have kept me in the loop, saved a few late payment fees, early job issues, electricity cut offs, and life embarrassments for the kids when they screwed something up.

    But is that really the point? I think of an acquaintance’s 20 year old son who is in Army Ranger training. He knows his family is in his corner and loving, but he is part of a new group now and expected as an adult to discharge his responsibilities and shift his reliance to them. Family contact is regulated heavily. Are college bound 18 year olds not capable of being adults, too?

    I do have to confess that although I loved the learning, the community of minds, and was successful at “school”, I did not care for traditional college life at all. The Stanford kid liked all of it, but most of the rest of us don’t look back on those days all that fondly.

  16. I agree with LFB. They are adults and the world will treat them like adults with all benefits and consequences of being an adult regardless of who is paying what. They only way to change that is for them to sign a document giving the parents (and anyone else the deemed) rights to view certain information or go the way of demanding their passwords for certain systems. I’m waiting for the test case where a parent does something in the system and the child and or school sues them for it saying the password was “stolen” or given under duress.

    Or I guess we could change the age that we consider someone an adult and take away any “adult” rights that currently exist for example voting.

    BTW, there is already certain medical information that you can’t get on your underage children now because of privacy laws should that change as well?

  17. One of the things I truly hate about FERPA is that when a student registers with disability services, they are not allowed to tell me, the professor teaching that kid, anything other than the mandated supports, which are usually pretty minimal.

    You can ask the student. They don’t have to tell you obviously, but maybe they will.

  18. While I tend to agree with all the other old people, I do have an observation. I was looking at the online archive of my high school’s newspaper, and looked up the last issue of my senior year. It listed where everyone was off to. AT LEAST half the class was staying home and attending Foothill or DeAnza, the two well-regarded (and free at the time) junior colleges near my home town. Of course many were attending for financial reasons, and many because their grades and test scores weren’t fabulous, I would guess. But it really isn’t true that in the good old days, all 18 year olds went off to four-year colleges and never contacted their parents until Christmas. There have always been some kids who stayed in the parental shelter til 20 or older.

  19. I also agree with LfB and Rhett. If parents who are paying tuition want access to their child’s information, they can tell the child to give it to them or they will stop paying. Maybe actually doing this is more difficult than it seems, because it seems pretty simple.

    I didn’t read the whole article, but if the school was aware of how serious the issues were with this student, FERPA does allow exceptions for health and safety reasons, so they could have notified the parents.

  20. ALSO, I think a lot of you haven’t actually hired/trained any really young people recently. (Well, I haven’t recently either). But actually kids in their 20s do a lot of dumb stuff in the workplace and have to be spoken to about it. One guy kept taking office supplies and using all the office equipment for his own personal use. He had to be spoken to. Other kids treat their bosses like their parents, and have to be spoken to about that. We employers and managers don’t love you for your own sweet self, honey. Do your damn job and don’t talk endlessly on the phone or cry in the boss’s office about personal shit.

  21. But is that really the point?

    I’ve mentioned before the idea that some lessons can’t be taught, they can only be learned. If you micromanage everything doesn’t it eventually have to come to a head?

  22. “But although I understand the desire to assist and monitor communications with password and login, it is something I cannot stomach”

    Agree with Meme and others who expressed similar thoughts. Plus while I want to be a supportive parent, I simply did not want to expend the energy to manage my kids to that extent. And yes, the point is for adults to manage life on their own, as much as possible. Many kids at 18 may not have the executive function or emotional maturity to handle college away from home, so they could wait and/or start college locally while living at home. Or they can be closely managed by parents while they are away at college. These are choices.

  23. “But actually kids in their 20s do a lot of dumb stuff in the workplace and have to be spoken to about it. ”

    As someone who has hired and trained a whole lot of new grads….Oh GOD yes. And it’s not because they are “millennials’ really. It is because they are young and have to learn how to work. MAYBE it is slightly worse than BITD because fewer of them have ever had meaningful paid employment. But maybe not.

    And some are responsible and fairly professional from the get go.

    On college – I agree with the others who say that status quo is fine. If you want a different deal with your college kid because you are paying or they need more hand holding – fine. But that’s between you & the kid, not you & the school and certainly not the government or the legal system.

  24. I do think it makes sense for students to authorize their parents to have access to some of their medical information, especially in cases of emergencies. I had a bad experience with an injured kid at school and, as I would with my H or another close relative, I would have liked to be involved in supporting his medical care rather than being kept in the dark by medical personnel hundreds of miles away.

  25. Many if not most of the fortunate kids with a lot of support in young adulthood grow up into fine responsible adults without having to experience the school of hard knocks. However, for some of us it is such an integral part of our narrative that it is hard to imagine the result without the process.

  26. I agree that someone in this student’s personal life should have known how much he was struggling, but parents, whether they’re paying tuition or not, should not necessarily be that person. If it weren’t for privacy laws, many students would not go to student health services for certain ailments or seek psychological services for conditions that could be effectively managed—and that parents might make worse. Perhaps identifying that outside person should’ve been part of this student’s treatment. Sometimes “is it ok for your parents to know?” would be enough. In cases where a student was raped, or is just realizing they’re gay, or had an OD, telling the parents could be really harmful. I’m sure there are other such instances. Simple depression, which many people here have first hand familiarity with, can bring disparagement from families, at a time when it is most likely to be harmful.

    For grades, it is really super easy and does not require universities to invade anyone’s privacy; if you are paying the bills and require a certain gpa, then tell your student that up-frnot, just like scholarships do, and then require them to show you their grades, just like scholarships do. All between payer and student, no change of university rules required.

  27. I agree with Rhett that some lessons have to be learned, no matter how painful that lesson is. I never got my college children’s login info. Could I have intervened and headed off that lousy grade? At a minimum I could have said drop the class, but I don’t think that’s my role for a young adult unless they come ask my advice. No one asked for a transcript in her interview process, so it turned out it didn’t matter, and some lessons were learned that she has tried to impart to her younger sibling (showing up for class does actually matter).

    Meme I appreciate your view that not everyone loves the full college experience. DS had no desire to live in a dorm, and DH and DD agreed that he probably wouldn’t enjoy it, but I kept feeling like he’s missing out. Missing out on something you don’t enjoy is probably not a great tragedy.

    RMS, you don’t think there were people like those millennials you describe in earlier decades? I’m embarrassed about the amount of office supplies I took during my summer internship. I was set with post it notes and black pens for quite a while. And I knew waaayyy too much about some idiot, over-indulging colleagues lives back in the day. Our boss may not have, perhaps.

  28. I got the chance to read the entire article. I wonder how much of the issue is shame? This young adult was given names and numbers, but never followed through. Most people probably don’t in that situation. Mental health issues are still taboo. SM said it too, should the parents be the trusted person in those cases? When do teachers and admins stop being teachers and admins and start being “parents” or “concerned friends/adults”? How much can colleges really do?

    Hamilton College also sounds pretty small… how many young adults fall through the cracks at larger universities?

  29. RMS, you don’t think there were people like those millennials you describe in earlier decades?

    Oh, absolutely! I didn’t say Millennials, I said “kids in their 20s”. You want to hear my bonehead move when I was 23? The company was sitting in a staff meeting talking about how we were going to save a fortune by sending stuff to be digitized over to Indonesia to have two non-English-speaking typists type the files, then merge the files, and then an English-speaker would review the discrepancies. The final file would be sent back to the U.S. (This was 1983, so pipe down, whippersnappers.) I said something earnest about not exploiting women in the developing world and was met with dead silence. Gee, Toto, I don’t think we’re in a leftist college anymore. Ha! Fortunately I wasn’t fired, probably because I was so underpaid there was no point in firing me.

  30. I would like to be notified by the college of any serious medical event (e.g. emergency appendectomy, serious car crash). If my kid is unable to communicate, I would like the college to do so on her behalf (similar to how DH would be notified if I was in a serious accident). I would put serious risk of suicide in that category. I’m going to an orientation for DD’s university and this is on my list of things to find out.

  31. Note – I’m not saying I expect the college to notify me – just that I would like it.

    I’m also thinking of suggesting that I exchange cell phone #s with DD’s roommate (and my DD do the same with her roommate’s parents), they can contact us if an emergency arises. We all know each other so I’m thinking this won’t be a big deal.

  32. That’s an interesting thought, SSM. I would have called my freshman roommate’s parents if there had been a problem. Even though her parents were totally bizarre.

  33. What struck me was Hamilton is perhaps the type of place where the parents thought “small college – intimate experience” small classes, everyone knows you, help is not far away etc. Parents may have been lulled into thinking that they would be notified of anything serious.

  34. My heart breaks for these parents, who are trying so hard to find someone to blame for their family tragedy. I’ve watched parents struggle with the “should I pull him out and bring him home” issue. It isn’t simple at all to decide to pull your kid out and bring him home, whether it is a medical issue, eating disorder, or a mental health issue. Sometimes you just don’t want to see how bad it really is, and sometimes, it doesn’t seem as bad as it turns out to be in hind sight. Friends whose son committed suicide in grad school had seen him just the weekend before. They were hopeful things were getting better. They were wrong. It isn’t their fault, and it isn’t the school’s fault. But I totally understand the need to find something to blame. It is just unspeakably sad when a young person dies.

  35. I read the article when it was first published. Sad and disturbing. I also agree with other posters that sleep away college is not for everyone. I know some very bright kids that flamed out when they went away to college.

    My two older kids gave me their log on information. I used primarily to pay tuition, but with DS1 I also used it to check on his grades. The frequency of my checking has dramatically declined since he started college (he’s going to be a junior next year) but he was warned that he will not be permitted to return if he doesn’t keep up his grades. Both kids signed a bunch of waivers at freshman orientation giving me access to information. DD’s school actually provided the waivers in the parent packages. DS’s school did not make it easy; I had to visit each department with him (registrar, bursar, etc.) and request the waiver.

    DS2 is in the process of getting his paperwork together for college. He’s missing forms, and the school has left messages. He’s chasing down the paperwork, the medical forms, etc. and I check in with him weekly and ask where he stands with everything. There was a teaching moment recently about acting like a responsible adult: his medical form was unexplainably delayed and he had to visit the office in person to see what the hold up was. Apparantly, there was some info missing and he needed a shot. Multiple messages were left on his cellphone by the ped, which he didn’t retrieve because as he told us “I doesn’t use VM; they should email me”. Uh no, they will use whatever method they choose and it’s your responsibility to check the messages and emails on your devices. Since he’s 18, no one at the ped called the parents or the house phone.

  36. “Meme I appreciate your view that not everyone loves the full college experience. DS had no desire to live in a dorm, and DH and DD agreed that he probably wouldn’t enjoy it, but I kept feeling like he’s missing out. Missing out on something you don’t enjoy is probably not a great tragedy.”

    Yeah, I need to hear this and absorb it in case DS is the same way.

  37. “Team USA wins first place in international math olympiad.”

    Looks like an all-male team, other than the female deputy coach.

    As discussed here before, math seems to be male-dominated.

  38. “AT LEAST half the class was staying home and attending Foothill or DeAnza, the two well-regarded (and free at the time) junior colleges near my home town.”

    I’m close to RMS’ age, and that’s about what I remember of my HS class too. About half headed to the nearby CC (many on a part-time basis), maybe a third went to flagship U, a handful went to OOS colleges, a couple enlisted, one got married and became a SAHM, and TMK the rest got jobs, became or continued to be druggies, or acted on their preference for leisure. Some were some combination of the above.

  39. “You can ask the student. They don’t have to tell you obviously, but maybe they will.”

    How many of you work day to day with 18 year olds? You guys have this mental image of extremely competent, together, articulate young adults. The reality is far different. Yes, some kids will tell me, but most of them are too tongue tied and petrified. My school requires them to hand deliver the notification letter, which is just appalling because about half of them never manage to do it and lose their accomodations. Or maybe they are just too embarrassed. At the school my kid is heading to, they are given the choice of hand delivering or having disability services do it (with a requirement that the professor signs) which I think is far more humane.

    Anyway, the reality that I see is that very few 18 year olds are competent to manage all the administrivia of a university, and the consequences in many cases is not a few late fees – more typically the kid flunks out, loses their scholarship, or ends up taking an extra two years to finish because of massive advising mistakes. Nationwide, we lose about a third of students in the first year.

  40. I have been to Hamilton – it is very tiny, very expensive, very boutique-y feeling. It is also in the middle of nowhere.

  41. ” the reality that I see is that very few 18 year olds are competent to manage all the administrivia of a university”

    BITD, I remember a lot of us helping each other out with that stuff.

    OTOH, I was in a dorm with a lot of kids I knew from HS, so it was probably easier to form that sort of support structure than for someone moving away from home to an off-campus abode and not knowing anyone else there initially.

  42. Too many students are enrolling in college today. We don’t always know which ones do not actually belong there (at 18 or at all). Perhaps many of the 1/3 who don’t continue past the first year are among that group — but if we want to cast a wide net, isn’t it inevitable that one consequence is a high dropout rate? To the extent that the modern university requires a fair amount of paperwork and deadlines, how much parental hand-holding is reasonable?

  43. My youngest thought he had graduated from college because he marched and got some sort of piece of paper. He applied for a job and when they checked they said he had lied, he did not have a degree. He said, say what? Apparently he had some sort of final form he had to file and missed it. That is a lesson I think a 22 year old can experience for himself.

  44. I just got an email yesterday to check DS’ school’s portal because “new charges have been posted.”

    DS’ school has a separate login for parents or others who pay the bills. We pay the bills directly through the portal, and get to see the status of his account, but we don’t get to see things like his report card. I would like to at least be able to see what classes he’s taking/taken.

    I suppose that is, in a way, better than my undergrad experience. My dad would deposit money to cover tuition and fees into my account and trust me to make the payment. I’ve recently heard about a guy I know who did something similar for his son, who then used the money to buy drugs.

  45. I went to school in pre FERPA days. Grades were mailed to my house and my parents opened them . So did my friends parents. We just expected it. When a kid had a serious mental health issue on campus, the parents got called and usually the kid went home. There were no real mental health services on campus, so that was all they could do.
    My SILs went to college in the “in loco parentis ” era and tell me that if they violated curfew, the parents heard about it! They were not seen as adults in that era.

  46. but most of them are too tongue tied and petrified.

    How do they get past that if they are never forced to confront it?

  47. But we don’t measure adulthood by competency (only in very narrow cases), we measure it chronologically. There are 40 year old adults who can’t navigate “the administrivia of a university”. And there are 18 year old adults who may or may not be attending college but are navigating their life just fine without parental support. There is also the ability for those under 18 to have a medical procedure without parental consent and I’m betting some of them wouldn’t be able to navigate college either.

    So what are people advocating to change?

    Do the parents get to decide that their kids are not “adults” and mark them as that and they don’t have any adult rights? Do we raise the age of adulthood for everyone? Do we have a competency test to prove adulthood and if you can’t pass it then you must have a guardian until you do?

    I feel tremendously sorry for these parents but I don’t think you can change the system as it stands. Furthermore, if we try, I think it will open Pandora’s box and we won’t like the changes that result.

  48. similar to how DH would be notified if I was in a serious accident

    I don’t think it works that way. If you were in a serious accident but were conscious they would ask, “Would you like us to call your husband?” If you say, “No, I’m fine.” Or “No, call my mom.” Or “No, call my sister.” They need to respect that.

  49. “Do the parents get to decide that their kids are not “adults” and mark them as that and they don’t have any adult rights?”
    This is something that really has changed since the 50’s into the mid 60’s. When my parents, and my SILs went to college, the presumption was that they were NOT adults. That was the meaning of “in loco parentis” – the college was assuming the parental role for these not-adults. That changed over the course of the 70’s, although prior to FERPA, parents did have access to information on their child.
    The problem in our current society is that we are very murky on whether an 18 year old is an adult or not. They can vote and go to war, but they can’t drink, and in some states, they can’t buy cigarettes. As a society, we seem to have decided that the 18 to 21 span is somewhere in between being a minor and being an adult. And I am inclined to agree, based on my experience working with that age group.

  50. And I am inclined to agree, based on my experience working with that age group.

    So those with issues will just naturally grow out of them with time? The kid who is too meek and timid to bring you the accommodation letter will magically, in three years, morph into an assertive and articulate adult? He will do this even with his parents fighting all of his battles?

  51. MM, according to this paper http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/philip_lee/files/vol8lee.pdf , one of the driving factors of “in loco parentis” was to protect the school and have control over the students not necessarily the welfare of the students. Also just skimming, it appears that public universities are held to a higher standard for protecting a student’s constitutional rights versus a private one. And to your point, it was the 26th amendment ratifying the right to vote at 18 that led colleges to let go of in loco parentis (see below).

    “By the early 1970s, in loco parentis at universities was a relic of the past (Kaplin & Lee, 2007, p. 91). In addition to court cases, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution accelerated the demise of in loco parentis at colleges (U.S. Const. amend. XXVI). The 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, lowered the minimum voting age from 21 (in most states) to 18. Since most college students would reach this lower age of majority while still enrolled, colleges were hard pressed to justify its temporary parent status over these young adults. The constitutional rights of students at public universities, therefore, seemed well settled by this time. In the subsequent decades, courts struggled with the new relationship between university and students as it defined the contours of legal liability of universities when students were injured. These cases moved away from constitutional law; instead, they were based in tort law.”

    It is the commerce clause that allows for not selling certain products until you are 21. If you grew tobacco in your own field and smoked it, I don’t think you would be breaking the law but I could be wrong. But my take is other than tobacco, alcohol, legal marijuana and renting cars, which are all things sold between one party to another, you are an adult and the law and society is going to treat you as such. There are a lot of citizens who don’t agree with the age limits on those products and I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if in the future they are revoked. Yes some 18 year olds don’t conduct themselves as adults or might have trouble with navigating certain aspects of life but so do some 50 year olds.

  52. This is something that really has changed since the 50’s into the mid 60’s.

    Since the advent of the pill. All that in loco parentis was the due to the fear of some heiress getting knocked up or some heir doing the knocking.

  53. This is interesting – I just found this exception to FERPA – is this really true?
    “Can a postsecondary institution disclose financial records of an eligible student with the
    student’s parents?
    If the student is a dependent for income tax purposes, the institution may disclose any education
    records, including financial records to a student’s parents. If the student is not a dependent, then
    the student must generally provide consent for the school to disclose the information to the
    parents. ”
    https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/pdf/ferpafaq.pdf

    If this is the situation, why aren’t schools disclosing information to parents who are paying the tuition, since in that case, the student would be a tax dependent?

  54. It doesn’t really matter which law is being used to keep 20 year olds from buying alcohol. The reality is that we as a society have decided that 20 year olds are not developmentally ready. I actually can remember when 18 year olds were allowed to drink (though I never got to benefit). There was a lot of debate, and nationally it was decided that allowing people under 21 to drink was a bad idea.

  55. “As a society, we seem to have decided that the 18 to 21 span is somewhere in between being a minor and being an adult.”

    Only in very limited respects, such as the purchase and consumption of alcohol and some weapons. Even if they are enrolled in college, most people in this age range are not living on a college campus and receiving complete financial support from their parents. Some are parents themselves, and all are legally capable of entering into contracts (except for rental cars, perhaps), consenting to medical treatment, joining the military, working long hours in hazardous jobs, voting and running for many political offices, and being tried as adults in the criminal justice system.

  56. “lowered the minimum voting age from 21 (in most states) to 18. Since most college students would reach this lower age of majority while still enrolled”

    I believe this is not true, and that most college students reach that age of majority before enrollment.

    Of course, the trend to dual enrollment of HS kids could change that.

  57. receiving complete financial support from their parents

    In the past Milo mentioned being surprised at how many of the enlisted men and women were sending money back home to keep their parents afloat.

  58. Finn, I believe he was referring to ages of college students in the early 70’s but agree that has changed now.

    I believe that at 18 you’re an adult. You may be young, inexperienced, impulsive and maybe even a touch dumb but you’re still an adult. And at 21 you may be a touch smarter, less impulsive and gained some experience but it’s not like you woke up on your 21st birthday and you transformed into the most productive adult. If a parent wants or needs to hold their child’s hand through those 3 years or quite frankly for the next 20 that is between them. The rest of society appears to be satisfied with the current age. It may also be that at the age of 18 you’re the most “adult” person in your family and in some cases that may happen even earlier as I know may “kids” who functioned as the adults in their households.

  59. “why aren’t schools disclosing information to parents who are paying the tuition”

    DS’ school discloses financial information to us.

  60. I think handling the administrivia of a university is harder now than in the pre-internet era. Because everyone got a catalog that had everything, all the requirements, how to be exempted from stuff, what classes you needed to graduate, in writing, all in one place. Yes, every college today has their catalog on their website in .pdf, but for this one thing the current ‘distribute-and-print’ model is worse than the old school ‘print-and-distribute’ model. Who prints, what, 250pp now? And who’s going to do that much non-fun reading on their screen?

  61. If this is the situation, why aren’t schools disclosing information to parents who are paying the tuition, since in that case, the student would be a tax dependent?

    Because they don’t have to. It says they can, but it doesn’t say they are required. And while the school likely has the dependent status of the students from their FAFSA and other financial aid stuff, it’s easier to have a blanket policy that they won’t do it.

  62. So those with issues will just naturally grow out of them with time? The kid who is too meek and timid to bring you the accommodation letter will magically, in three years, morph into an assertive and articulate adult? He will do this even with his parents fighting all of his battles?

    I think it takes some kids longer to mature and develop the skills of “adulting”, but I generally agree with your comment. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to a ask a kid to give an accommodation letter to a teacher. He doesn’t even have to talk to the teacher to do it, he can just give him the envelope and leave without saying a word.

    I also think that those of us in the totebag world forget (or just don’t understand) how foreign so much of this stuff is to a lot of people. We have enough trouble navigating it and we spend a heck of a lot of time researching it and such. Imagine what it’s like for a kid who is the first in his family to go to college with parents who have never seen any of this stuff.

  63. DD – I’m not saying it isn’t difficult. What I’m saying is that just because it is that does not revoke your adulthood. Just like when my older relatives had to learn computer programs in the 50’s for work (and it was extremely difficult for many of them) didn’t make them children. I also think that many in the totebag world are very involved in the children’s lives and have difficulty letting go especially when it comes to education. The concept that they will not be consulted is difficult to take especially when footing the bill. Furthermore, I think many totebaggers underestimate the adulting that other’s do from different backgrounds because it is “foreign” world to them.

    Finn – I agree taking away the paper version has not helped. They should have bound copies somewhere on campus so you can get one if needed. Reading a 200 plus PDF online is no fun!

  64. DD – I’m not saying it isn’t difficult. What I’m saying is that just because it is that does not revoke your adulthood.

    UTL, I don’t know what you thought I was responding to, but it wasn’t any of your comments. But I will respond to this:

    The concept that they will not be consulted is difficult to take especially when footing the bill.

    Per previous comments, parents can put whatever conditions they want on paying their kids’ tuition. If they want to see the grades, tell the kids the money stops until you see the grades. Or whatever level of involvement you want to have. You can stop footing the bill any time you want.

  65. “Finn – I agree taking away the paper version has not helped.”

    I’m glad you agree, but it’s Fred who made the point with which you’re agreeing.

    I kinda agree too, especially if the website isn’t static, so you can’t always go back to the same place to find the same information.

    OTOH, if you can’t figure these things out, you’re not going to turn out to be much of a helicopter parent.

  66. If the student is a dependent for income tax purposes, the institution may disclose any education records, including financial records to a student’s parents. If the student is not a dependent, then
    the student must generally provide consent for the school to disclose the information to the
    parents. ”

    I saw this in many of the NYTimes comments.
    It seems that the schools don’t publicize this.
    Also having a waiver on file means that schools can contact parents in case of an emergency.
    In many societies the age of majority is 21.
    Here, saying at 18 that one is an adult but can’t drink is a huge contradiction in my mind.

  67. I also wondered about the exception to FERPA in cases where the student is a dependent. But as mentioned, the schools “may” disclose education records but they are not required to.

    “Many if not most of the fortunate kids with a lot of support in young adulthood grow up into fine responsible adults without having to experience the school of hard knocks. However, for some of us it is such an integral part of our narrative that it is hard to imagine the result without the process.”

    I fully relate to this. But with time I’ve seen that many people who I may consider to have been coddled by their parents do fine as adults.

    Also, as UTL points out, having to struggle with life’s challenges can be difficult at any age but it must be done. We’ve discussed before how as we age it is beneficial to stay tough by tackling “hard” stuff. Otherwise we get soft, our world shrinks, and we become more childlike.

    I agree there is some ambiguity, but for the most part society and the law consider 18 to be adulthood.

  68. But with time I’ve seen that many people who I may consider to have been coddled by their parents do fine as adults.

    I have seen this too and I recall this verse.

    “Every Night and every Morn
    Some to Misery are born.
    Every Morn and every Night
    Some are born to Sweet Delight,
    Some are born to Endless Night.

    William Blake, Songs of Experience

  69. I agree that it was easier in some ways BITD to manage the college paperwork. But it was also harder. No email or text reminders of deadlines or missing forms. No way to get instant forms from the website if yours never arrived or were misplaced. No website at all with FAQ or contact information for school officials. No parent portals or CC fora. Every single step had to be completed by snail mail or in person or over a landline. No answering machines to pick up a critical telephone message from the registrar. If you were away from home you were completely out of pocket, so kids who were working as camp counselors or at beach resorts had to have their ducks in a row before they took off. And there were no instant payment mechanisms.

  70. I think handling the administrivia of a university is harder now than in the pre-internet era.

    Yes and no. I agree the paper catalog was easier. I have helped people at the library navigate the community college websites, and they’re terrible. Lots of dead ends, nothing is where it seems like it should be, etc.

    But man, I also remember standing in the huge registration hall packed with kids sweltering in the August heat, long lines, and always several kids crying because of confusion and stress.

  71. “My school requires them to hand deliver the notification letter, which is just appalling because about half of them never manage to do it and lose their accomodations. “

    I’m not in your shoes and maybe I’m missing the point, but it is hard to accept that a requirement to hand deliver the letter is “appalling”. If a student does not have the wherewithal to hand deliver a letter, should that kid be in college? Is college just too much of a challenge for him? Should taxpayers be paying for this kid to go to college, especially if he’s likely to drop out? These questions may seem heartless, but maybe it’s more heartless to push this kid into a situation where he’s likely to fail.

  72. I’m laughing a little at the coincidence of the discussion of late-teen adulting, because I just got a long, weepy call last night from DD that “adulting is hard.” ;-) One of the kids on the trip is being a jerk (no shock — this is the kid who called her a b!tch because she beat him out for first-chair tuba); she got dress-coded even though her shorts were fingertip length; she couldn’t figure out how to wash her clothes in the sink and hang them up in time for them to dry before she needed to pack/wear them again; etc. etc. etc. I had to explain that that’s not real adulting — when you are an adult, you are not following someone else’s schedule from 7 AM to 11 PM, and so you can generally plan out when to do your laundry in sufficient time for it to dry before you need it.

    In some ways, I think college can be the worst of both worlds — the kids are on their own to figure things out, and yet there are still all of the annoying logistics of dealing with a big, centralized institution (registration, loans, parking passes, problems with classes, forms out the wazoo, conflicting class schedules and major requirements, etc.). My job seems to be much more hand-holding than my BigStateU law school was; I mean, when it’s benefits enrollment time, they send out the emails and the forms, and then send reminders all the way up until the final enrollment deadline. And there’s less paperwork to boot — sure, I had to fill out and read a ton of stuff when I started, but it’s not like I have to enroll in classes or give them updated immunization records every 6-12 months. And my work assignments and schedule don’t change every 6 months, either. Even in a demanding job, it’s easier to just get life into the routine, find time to do grocery shopping and laundry, do my benefits enrollment and car registrations when the reminders come out, and remember to do my taxes every year.

  73. My school requires them to hand deliver the notification letter, which is just appalling because about half of them never manage to do it

    That’s terrible customer service. If half aren’t doing it it means the process is broken and needs to be revised.

  74. In some ways, I think college can be the worst of both worlds

    I’m going to have to disagree. College is usually 15 hours a week of but in seat time from September to early December and from the end of January to sometime in May. So it’s like a job where you work 15 hours a week and have +18 weeks of vacation.

  75. @Rhett — I mean in terms of managing administrivia. Clearly the kids have more free time. But IME managing the administrivia of BigStateU required more executive function than managing life post-graduation. So when you have a kid whose mom has been managing the details for 18 years, going away to that kind of school is like going from 0 to 100 mph.

    That’s part of the reason that we have been focusing more on smaller schools for DD — with her questionable executive function, I want to minimize the risk that she, say, forgets to sign up for a class that is required for her major.

  76. My kids school pushes back when parents intervene on behalf of students starting 7th grade. If a kid for example can’t understand certain information or is absent and needs to catch up retake a test, ask how they can improve their grade etc. the kids are supposed to see the teacher. The teacher notifies all kids when they will be available and the students can approach them. I found this to be very valuable training in advocating for yourself and I have pushed my sometimes reluctant kids to go see their teachers.

  77. Yes, July, the hand delivery is appalling/ Put yourself in the shoes of an 18 year old, one who maybe is from a family that has little college experience and who sees professors as these far off gods. The kid is already totally embarrassed, but has managed to go to the disabilities office (a lot of them never make it that far because of shame and embarrassment), and now has this letter which he or she needs to give this to a professor who is this distant figure in front of the 200 person lecture hall, and the most likely time the kid will remember to do it is right after class – so now he or she has to hand this over in front of 10 other kids who are all swarming around the professor, and maybe mumble something about having ADHD or anxiety disorder or whatever. And while they could come to office hours to do it, for a kid with executive function disorder which is the most common problem – and remember, it is a documented disorder because they already went through the disabilities office – this adds yet another step in the process, making it more likely to be forgotten or the letter lost. From the POV of working with kids with executive function disorder or anxiety disorder, this is not a good way to do things.

    The school where my kid is going is also more humane about excuse letters. At my school, like most, the kid has to bring documentation if there has been an absence and something important like a test has been missed. I have always hated adjudicating these excuses. At the school where my kid is heading, the kid takes the documentation to student life, and they make the determination and notify the professors. Why is this more humane? Well, I will never forget the time that a kid, a very good student, had to explain why he had missed 3 weeks of class. He shoved the notes at me, and mumbled very sheepishly, drug rehab. He looked really embarrassed. My opinion is that I had no need to know that. It should have been done through student life.

  78. And I agree with Laura. There is far less of this kind of administrivia when on the job. Managing all the details at a university is hard for everyone.

  79. Louise – I think that is essential. Many students fail because they just don’t know to ask for help, or how to ask for help. DH nearly failed out of college for this exact reason. This is a super smart guy who graduated top 5% of his class (and the class was ~300 students). By “forcing” high school students to shuffle more papers, talk to their teachers, etc, I bet you a lot of MM’s issues with students would go away.

    Rhett – I don’t find the process of paper delivery broken. In fact, I think that’s exactly what’s needed – it forces the students to talk to the teachers. Despite popular belief, college professors want to help students succeed. The student just needs to show the willingness. If a student cannot be bothered (or remember or whatever) to turn in a piece of paper, the school shouldn’t swoop in and rescue them. You said it yourself above – how will they survive in the workforce?

  80. MM – at your school, how are the accommodations done if the student won’t/can’t approach the professor? I’m asking this in all seriousness. If the U did the leg work to inform the prof of the necessary accommodations, how does the professor know who the student is if the student doesn’t have to talk to the professor?

  81. I think that the college that uses a student life office to screen for excused absences has the right idea. The prof does not need to know why the kid missed a test. However, the office has to be fairly hard nosed about its criteria. If a class has students whose disabilities entitle them to untimed testing or emailed written out instead of oral or blackboard assignments or screens instead of bluebooks, that too could be handled by a student life office as a requirement presented to the prof’s department and the prof without identification, but the student who needs the untimed test or ability to submit a test essay electronically would have to present his certificate from student life to prof on test day. Every student in such a class could receive the emailed assignments. I am not sure what other accommodations are provided in college for ld and exec function issues, but I would like to hear from Mooshi about this. For physical disabilities, of course the student would have to be identified up front.

  82. Have to agree with July — though I too have no kids with special learning needs, it seems that a student who is unable to approach his professor to discuss his situation is a perfect candidate for a year or two of community college at home before transferring to a residential university setting.

    As for adjudicating absences, DH just refers students to published university policy. If it’s a funeral, he wants to see the obituary; if it’s an illness, he asks for the health office form. He had a student this year who asked permission (via email) to take the final exam a week early because the scheduled date conflicted with some world video game tournament for which he had qualified. Because it was not a university-sponsored event, the answer was no. He hates having to deal with this stuff, but because he never makes exceptions and always follows university policy, he doesn’t lose much time or sleep over it.

  83. At my first job, in two separate incidents, young people showed up to work and literally walked off the job without notice to anyone. It could be described as a bit of a stressful environment. There were however, same age peers to talk to and mangers were younger.
    One girl came in, went to get breakfast and never returned to her desk. One guy finished up on Friday and never returned on Monday. There was no indication that anything was wrong, they didn’t notify or talk to anyone.

  84. “But IME managing the administrivia of BigStateU required more executive function than managing life post-graduation.”

    Really? IME, landlords, banks, health insurance companies, utilities, DMV offices, etc. are far less accommodating than even the most bureaucratic university. There is a lot of stuff to manage when beginning adult work life — much of which is not actually related to work and most of which was handled invisibly by (functional) parents up to that point.

  85. “That’s terrible customer service.”

    But the earlier argument was that to prepare for real life after college students need to be able to learn to get past and confront difficulties, like terrible customer service for example. How will this kid who is too meek and timid learn this lesson, or will these issues just naturally resolve themselves over time? This is really a lesson in dealing with life as it is not as you wish it was.

    I agree that a student should not be required to disclose details about his disability to a professor.

  86. Do any of you with iPads ever use them for basic word processing? I’m trying the Word app on my iPhone as a dry run before getting an iPad and I’m encountering problems saving any documents. It appears the syncing between the Word app and either Dropbox or OneDrive just wont’ work.

  87. “This is something that really has changed since the 50’s into the mid 60’s.”

    The average age of marriage in 1960 was 20 for women and 22 for men. I don’t think this has to do with the fact that we had lower expectations for the maturity of 18 year olds in 1960. It was about control – particularly control of women who had to be controlled by their parents until they had a husband to tell them what to do.

  88. @LFB – That is exactly the kind of stuff that I think kids should navigate on their own – with loving parents to call and vent to (and maybe get some advice). I think that is far from the “school of hard knocks” but there are people who will step in & try to “fix” things – like the parents on your FB group. Rather than parents who will listen and sympathize.

    I agree with July on all her recent posts too. And with Scarlett on the adminstravia of regular adult life.

    “So when you have a kid whose mom has been managing the details for 18 years, going away to that kind of school is like going from 0 to 100 mph.”

    This is kind of the key – isn’t it? This is why managing all the details for an 18 year old can be a bad idea in the long run.

  89. Waiting for more detail at Student Orientation, but at a visit, the school encouraged parents to have their kids authorize certain kinds of contact with parents. More related to the notification about mental health issues and to encourage students to be in touch with their student vs academic adviser. They also asked parents to notify the student adviser if something huge was going on at home that they could help with.

  90. As for colleges assuming a parental role, that also is related to the history of colleges keeping everything on campus. Many colleges had their own police or security forces. BITD At my institution, the town cops could cross into college property only in hot pursuit. Crimes short of murder on campus were handled internally unless or until referred outside. If a college student was rowdy in town, he was handed off the the campus police. Drug and alcohol violations were handled “en famille”, we didn’t have much on the way of hazing and we all know about #metoo issues.

  91. Meme, they still do try to handle everything internally. That’s why they handle sexual assaults as Title IX disciplinary issues instead of reporting them to the police.

  92. So when you have a kid whose mom has been managing the details for 18 years.

    I think I’ve found the problem.

  93. In the home country junior college was 11th and 12th grade. There was a admission process and it was “college” as opposed to high school. That’s when parents started to be hands off on things school related, grades, classes, deadlines etc.

  94. Mooshi – Why doesn’t the disabilities office (or student life) notify the teachers that that they have a kid in their class with a disability? I find it odd that it’s all on the kid when the university is supposed to be supplying legally required accommodations.

  95. At my kids’ colleges each had/has a universal FERPA form that our kids all signed. Some were annual, some they could put in May, 20XX (expected graduation date).

  96. I think you all have been at the same job for a while. Think of a new job:

    1. W-4
    2. I-9
    3. FSA
    4. Health Insurance w/ multiple levels prices and vendors.
    5. Dental again with various options
    6. Short term disability
    7. Long term disability
    8. Vision
    9. Background check
    8. Drug test
    9. At one place my background check required a trip to the local FBI Office

    And that’s just the pre-on boarding paperwork. Then you have access to various systems, getting your badge, parking pass, various online trainings, etc. etc.

  97. 12. Direct deposit
    13. 401k – Roth or tradition, percentage and investment options

  98. Then you have access to various systems, getting

    This is very important at my job. We are supposed to dial the help desk but I know our local tech guy so he will come and help.
    Kids school also has dedicated tech guys, so I told them to know where tech support is located.

  99. professor who is this distant figure in front of the 200 person lecture hall,

    Then that isn’t the school they should be attending. In clown college we never had more than 20-30 kids, the professors were super engaging, knew everyone’s names, etc.

  100. To answer questions – if the kid does not give me the letter, I cannot give him accommodations. This has happened – one kid came up to me right before an exam and asked about his “extra time”. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about, and that I needed the official letter from disability services. You can’t just ask for extra time right before the test anyway because of the logistics. Any testtaker with extra time has to take the test in the student life center, and I have to submit the exam 24 hours in advance . This is because our class schedules can’t accommodate extra time test periods – there is always another class waiting to come in. With the kid that wanted extra time, I did call disability services the next day, and they said that yes, he was registered and no, I was correct to not give him the extra time since he had not notified me with the letter.

    Good news with my kid – he is now registered with disability services, and he showed himself to be very capable of navigating that bureaucracy. He made the appointment, got all his paperwork submitted correctly (and there is a pile of it), and then we went to the appointment. I didn’t really say a word, but just let him handle it. It went very smoothly. He has been trained to advocate for himself, so I was not suprised. He won’t have a problem taking those letters to the professors, but he has a lot of advantages that other kids do not.

  101. “Then that isn’t the school they should be attending.”
    Many students do not have that choice, because of finances. Many NYC kids have to go to a CUNY, which is so slammed right now with students that many classes lack enough seating.

  102. Choosing the small, warm and fuzzy, boutique school with lots of ADHD services is for the privileged.

  103. Continuing Rhett’s list:
    14. Consent to DMV check
    15. Acknowledgement of having received and read the employee handbook

    For DS3’s as a landscaping laborer, that entire list is about right, even including medical/dental. 401k and drug test were NA.

  104. I had to fill out/ confirm the online documentation for my background check. I passed the background check with no felonies- wahoo!

  105. “Rhett on July 13, 2018 at 11:00 am said:

    I think you all have been at the same job for a while. Think of a new job:

    1. W-4
    2. I-9
    3. FSA
    4. Health Insurance w/ multiple levels prices and vendors.
    5. Dental again with various options
    6. Short term disability
    7. Long term disability
    8. Vision
    9. Background check
    8. Drug test
    9. At one place my background check required a trip to the local FBI Office

    And that’s just the pre-on boarding paperwork. Then you have access to various systems, getting your badge, parking pass, various online trainings, etc. etc.”

    I don’t disagree. But the point is most of that is one-time — you sit at your desk and spend a half-day reading lots of gobbldygook and filling out forms, and then it all just rides forever. Heck, my company will even continue last year’s choices unless you tell them otherwise, and where they need something every year, they send the form to you and tell you in bold print that they need it back.

    To me, that’s a far cry from figuring out all of the school administrivia every six months. I haven’t changed any of that stuff in years. So, yeah, it’s a big hump, but then a lot of it goes away unless you don’t want it to.

    Until you have kids, of course, and then you’re back in the Land of Forms for the next 18-22 years. I spend WAY more time on kid administrivia than on my own.

  106. Choosing the small, warm and fuzzy, boutique school with lots of ADHD services is for the privileged.

    Looking at prices it’s really not. And that’s sticker prices. I bet the gap narrows even further when talking actual price paid.

  107. Rhett, I don’t think the gap narrows as much as you think. The working class kids I know who attend private schools have significant loans compared to their likely income. It’s why I’m such a fan of public college, either community or state university.

  108. I agree with LfB, And at many jobs, they bundle it all together and have you complete it at the HR office in one fell swoop. And if you do something wrong, the HR person calls. In comparison, university paperwork comes out at random intervals, is often hidden in the portal under some link, has dire consequences, and you can’t get anyone on the phone. I went to the parents session at orientation earlier this week, and my head is now spinning at the complexity of it all. The parents were all peppering the administrators with questions and complaining that they were very confused.

  109. WCE,

    There is more to the equation than just the initial price. If you can get out in 4 years (or less) and into a decent job that beats +6 years of fits, starts, advising mistakes and general flameouts.

  110. Rhett, if you go to CUNY, you likely are commuting from home. At fancy boutique college, you have to pay for dorm and meal plan. Also, the max you can get on a Pell grant is a bit over $6000 a year.
    CUNY is $3365 a semester so a kid’s Pell grant will cover much of it. In comparison, Landmark College, which is a school that is always recommended for ADHD kids, costs $68000 a year when room and board are added in. I did the net price calculator for a family with an income of 10000, and got 17,000 as the price AFTER applying the Pell grant and other aid. That is a lot more than it would cost to go to CUNY and live at home.

  111. At the jobs I have had, HR spoon fed everyone everything. Multiple notices about everything. Signups. Reminders. Calling people/their assistants if they didn’t respond. Nothing like big state college which actually required quite a lot of executive function skills to get through.

  112. MM,

    But didn’t you just go on about how high the dropout rate is? What the cost at the New York metro area median household income of $50,411.

  113. doesn’t matter what the dropout rate is. 17K is insurmountable for a Pell eligible family

  114. “Rhett, I don’t think the gap narrows as much as you think.”

    Correct. Look at MM’s example for a poor student, and a middle class student would get even less aid have to pay more. And a learning-challenged student is unlikely to get merit aid at posh private school.

    On balance, I think post-college adult administrivia is more challenging than college administrivia. Insurance, work forms, renting or home ownership, warranties, auto maintenance, bill paying, health care, investing, credit cards, etc. I run up against all sorts of deadlines all the time that require my attention. I just spent 30 minutes unraveling rewards program details and accompanying hotel reservations. In a way, life is just a series of handling administrivia. I’ll soon be facing Medicare enrollment, more deadlines and details.

  115. 17K is insurmountable for a Pell eligible family

    Then how do people end up $100k in debt to University of Phoenix?

  116. And a learning-challenged student is unlikely to get merit aid at posh private school.

    Having dyslexia, ADHD etc. doesn’t mean you’re stupid. You could, like I did, have terrible grades but high SAT scores and get quite a good deal.

    I believe MM’s had poor grades but high test scores and scored a number of generous offers.

  117. “Having dyslexia, ADHD etc. doesn’t mean you’re stupid”

    Of course not. But significant merit aid usually only goes to the top 1%, 5%, 10% of students to begin with. Add a learning disability that typically impacts academic performance, and you’re talking about a tiny minority of kids that are eligible for meaningful merit aid.

    Your two examples likely fall into the top 1%.

  118. But significant merit aid usually only goes to the top 1%, 5%, 10% of students to begin with.

    I don’t believe that’s the case. DD has mentioned a nephew who got a significant aid with a 2.x GPA. The average tuition discount for incoming private college freshman in 2017 was 41.6%.

  119. Both my kids were able to get their accommodations letters via email, and at all but one school were able to email them to their teachers before school started. DD never received them for the first three years, I’m assuming related to MM’s comments regarding shame. It didn’t really register with me until MM highlighted it that teachers have no idea what the disability is. I feel reasonably sure he never volunteered it. For both, their accommodations have been permission to test in the testing center with time and a half, permission to use a laptop for note-taking and in-class essay assignments, and permission to record lectures. Neither used these very often. DS prefers to just listen and not take notes, and chose to just use a blue book for essay exams like everyone else (hates to look different). He got C’s on every one, while getting A’s on essays he dictated at home, but I’m not going to tell him how to manage it. DD used the testing center occasionally, depending on the class size. Some teachers already share their notes and slides to everyone, so it is possible to print them in advance and have a much smaller note-taking load. DD also used audio books to keep up with reading volume in some upper division English classes, but that was not a school accommodation.

  120. “The average tuition discount for incoming private college freshman in 2017 was 41.6%.”

    Most, about 80%, was not merit but need-based.

  121. “permission to record lectures.”

    You need permission? BITD, that was very common. Many profs accommodated recording; I remember one in particular who would tell his students to bring their recorders up front and put them on pause, and he’d un-pause them just before he started his lecture.

  122. this is the kid who called her a b!tch because she beat him out for first-chair tuba

    Off the topic, I know, but my daughter’s friend had trouble all last year with a boy who was pissed that she was first-chair trumpet. (And he wasn’t even second chair!) Cute dimply sophomore girl, tall senior boy who’d figured this was his year to shine and couldn’t accept it when it didn’t happen that way.

  123. “Insurance, work forms, renting or home ownership, warranties, auto maintenance, bill paying, health care, investing, credit cards, etc. I run up against all sorts of deadlines all the time that require my attention. I just spent 30 minutes unraveling rewards program details and accompanying hotel reservations.”

    Hmm, see, I see much of that as either optional or rare. Most of my medical expenses go on my benny card; once in a while, the company doesn’t recognize a transaction, and I have to scan the receipts; ok. If that’s too much hassle, I can just skip the FSA entirely, pay out of pocket, and make those logistics easier. Credit cards: I can choose how many I want, and I can put them all on auto-pay; same with my investments. Each of those decisions took some time and thought initially to set up, but now they are on autopilot. And, honestly, I didn’t actually have to invest so much effort if I didn’t want to — I could have just stuck with my first CC that I got right out of college and bought target-date funds, or skipped it and relied on SS, or put my money in the bank. Each of those actions have consequences, but they are all still optional.

    On the flip side, I find rewards systems tremendously annoying, so I tend to limit my usage to the ones that make it very easy to do so (Marriott, Southwest, Amex). I haven’t even gotten a Shell rewards card, even though all it takes is sending in a stupid form. I know I am not maximizing the points/rewards I get, but ok — again, that stuff is all optional, and I choose to opt out of a lot of it. Health care, I tend to go when something bugs me enough to do it — so, again, that is largely in my control, and the hassle is minimal at this point in my life, just fork over my insurance card and my $30 copay. Obviously, that changes when you are dealing with a serious illness.

    I don’t want to imply that adulting is easy, because yeah, there are a ton of little annoyances — and I’m usually among the first to whine about them. ;-) It’s just that I cannot recall so much bureaucratic paperwork, with such significant consequences, at such frequent and regular intervals, at any time in my life since I got out of law school.

    Then again, I haven’t had to sign up for Medicare or SS benefits yet. ;-)

  124. My adulting got more complex as I went along. As a young adult I was just dealing with a rental contract, purely W2 income on which I was filing the 1040EZ (I didn’t learn about the state tax deduction until a couple of years after it would first have been worthwhile for me), that sort of thing. One credit card. Only as I got older did I add in complications like a mortgage and home maintenance, investments, additional credit cards with different advantages, and so on.

  125. “I didn’t learn about the state tax deduction until a couple of years after it would first have been worthwhile for me”

    Did you file a 1040X for those years?

  126. “unraveling rewards program details and accompanying hotel reservations”

    I leave it to Rhett to post the Golden Totebag for this. All I have to say is #firstworldproblems

  127. “unraveling rewards program details and accompanying hotel reservations”

    AKA my favorite thing in the world.

  128. Finn, I’m assuming it’s because professors have no desire to have a selectively edited video go viral, but it is my understanding you cannot record a lecture without permission. Neither of mine have, but I believe DS has an app recommended for it if he ever feels the need. Someone would then have to transcribe it, and I think perhaps the self-knowledge that that is unlikely to happen is what is keeping the recording from occurring.

  129. . DD has mentioned a nephew who got a significant aid with a 2.x GPA.

    And it didn’t last long. From what I have heard he did not even come close to keeping the required GPA.

  130. “professors have no desire to have a selectively edited video go viral”

    Not a concern back in my day.

  131. And it didn’t last long. From what I have heard he did not even come close to keeping the required GPA.

    This, I think, is the game. Probably the majority of the low-grades-high-scores boys won’t make the required GPA at college either, and the college only had to pay out a semester or two on the scholarship to test them out. Perhaps they consider it a worthwhile investment to attract (1) the ones who one way or another will continue to attend at full price and (2) the ones who really are ready to shine academically once they hit college, and wouldn’t have chosen that school if they’d had a stronger high school record. Plus they get the boost to their freshman class average test scores.

  132. “This, I think, is the game. ”

    Right. (Although I don’t remember if DD’s nephew had a high test score.)

    DD — Do you know if your nephew plans to attend local community college or something else?

    The reality is is that it’s very costly for a college to hand hold students who are handicapped in some way, whether it be inadequate academic background, learning disability, immaturity, mental illness, etc. Wealthy families can often provide that extra support needed to ensure college graduation, but sometimes they cannot as some of us have observed or maybe experienced firsthand. I don’t know exactly what the best solution is, but I do not believe that pushing college for “all” makes sense.

  133. I don’t know that he’s been kicked out, just that he’s probably lost the scholarship. He didn’t have high test scores either. I think they looked at his FAFSA and figured if he couldn’t keep the scholarship his father can easily afford to pay full freight.

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