Thursday, September 24, 2015

College Students, Parents, and Who Has What Rights

This article got me thinking:
Passed in 1974, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is an unwieldy piece of legislation affecting all institutions that receive funding from the Department of Education. Although it has been amended over the years, the law’s bottom line remains: “Once a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, he or she becomes an ‘eligible student’ and all rights under FERPA transfer from the parent to the student.”

This essentially means that you have no right, as a parent, to know what or how your children are doing in school. They can binge-watch True Detective rather than attend classes, never disclose their grades, maybe become seriously anxious or depressed, and you have to take their word for it when they say “everything’s fine.”
So if these college students are adults, free and clear of their parents in these matters--so much so that parents can't even know how they're doing in school--how can it possibly make sense to expect the parents to pay for school, and/or to include parental income in financial aid calculations?  Either parents are a part of the "team", or they're not.  It seems not just wrong-headed but wrong to expect them to pony up the cash but otherwise be completely left out of the loop.


PeggyU said...

Damned straight. Pisses me off to have to fill out a FAFSA, especially when our kids receive no government assistance with tuition. What business of theirs is it what our assets are and how much we make if we aren't applying for aid?

Anonymous said...

Exactly - whoever's paying the freight should have the right to inquire how their "investment" is performing. And since it's generally the parents who foot the bill for their progeny's postsecondary education, they have every right to know if their kids are boozing it up, whoring around, flunking out, or any of the stupid stuff college students have become known for.

If the students are financially emancipated, then it's a different story - but usually those students are more likely to take their education seriously in the first place.