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to be shocked by parents of some university students

(248 Posts)
giraffesCantZumba Tue 05-Jul-11 12:26:44

My friend works in the graduation office, this time of year is really busy for her so been working weekends/long hours etc. She was venting to me about this and says she gets 3/4 parents a day phoning trying to sort out their childs graduation for them! ANd become totally outraged when told that it is confidential and they can only deal with the student. When do the apron strings get cut?!

Often its because student has totally missed the deadline for paying graduation fees and they are outraged as their poor dc had no idea.

MoreBeta Tue 05-Jul-11 12:33:33

giraffes - as many parents are now paying a lot of money towards their children's university fees I think it is inevitable they will see themselves as having a 'right' to interfere and make sure their DCs are being treated fairly.

I can also see court cases in the next few years as parents sue universities that have provided poor quality teaching. Higher fees means more parental involvement.

Insomnia11 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:40:33

Yep, it's going to be more of a customer/service provider relationship and the slightest slip in their "customer care" will result in complaints.

While I have sympathy for the staff who will have to put up with this stuff through no fault of their own, the universities have to an extent brought it on themselves by being greedy pants about fees.

But I also blame successive Governments for leading us into this mess.

jenniec79 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:44:24

It is interesting that there's confidentiality reasoning used not to speak to a student's parents, but that if you go to university at 18 (so legally an adult) you are means tested on your parents' income as to what help you can get from the LEA.

lesley33 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:46:06

If they are talking about graduation, their DC must be at least 21 years old. I do despair at young adults whose parents are so over involved and cosset them.

fluffyanimal Tue 05-Jul-11 12:47:26

the universities have to an extent brought it on themselves by being greedy pants about fees.

Actually, just to dispel that myth, universities are charging what they are because that's what it costs to deliver a course. The Government withdrew massive amounts of funding to universities, almost 90% in the case of Arts, Humanities and Social Science subjects, so the money has to come from somewhere. If not the Government, then, sadly, the students.

lesley33 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:47:57

jennie - Although you are means tested, parents can refuse to give their income levels. Just as anyone can refuse to give details of their income when applying for a benefit.

Parents income details are given voluntarily, but if not given, then the DC will not be entitled to any help. Not comparable IMO

unclefest Tue 05-Jul-11 12:48:14

well said fluffy animal

feckwit Tue 05-Jul-11 12:49:03

I think it is ridiculous. Part of the point of Uni is to become independent surely? It is getting harder and harder for young people to do so though because they have to remain dependent on their families financially. The least you can do as a parent is encourage them to stand on their own two feet.

Makes me laugh when parents go on the Uni tours with their kids too. When I was applying, we went off to open days on our own on the train. With friends or sometimes totally in isolation. I would have been mortified if my parents had accompanied me.

But the whole financial support system for Uni makes me mad.

jennie - exactly, it cannot work both ways.

lesley33 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:52:19

But parents would be asked to support children financially in the past if their DC was not entitled to a full grant. Of course the amount was far less, but the principle was the same.

The rael difference is that young adult children were much more independent in general than now days.

jenniec79 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:58:14

Lesley - I know there are differences, but it does come accross as this rule if it suits us to do x, that rule if it suits us not to do y. Comparisons are how you make things fairer across the board; I never suggested it should be identical!

Plus if you don't get the means tested allowance, you are somewhat stuck if studying full time, so no help aside from ... bank of mum and dad? Mates certainly struggled if their parents didn't support them or give details when I was an undergraduate, and it happens a fair bit. I know you can work PT alongside a lot of UG courses, but not all when you factor in placements/labwork etc. I had 35hour weeks of contact time for much of my course (of course this is the other extreme, but with higher fees will come higher expectations for face to face teaching in other courses too)

And importantly, you don't count as a mature student until you are starting a course over the age of 21. Under that age, parental income is a factor in your income. I did a longer course and graduated at 23, but I still wasn't deemed "independent" for those 2 years, and while I'm sure I was, am and will remain a DD, I sure as heck wasn't a child at that point. I'm now studying again and it's my income that matters - far more fair imo.

notquitenormal Tue 05-Jul-11 12:59:57

We've had couple of graduates come along with thier parents to a job interview! Wanted to come actually in the interview shock

A graduating student is in their twenties; time to act like a grown up ragardless of whose paying.

lesley33 Tue 05-Jul-11 13:07:52

A long time ago when I went to University, the poorest students were those whose parents refused to disclose how much they earned to the authorities, or whose parents were high earners but refused to help their child financially.

Of course it is very very difficult for adult children in this situation.

But they are adults, and at some point they need to be treated as such by their parents.

Would you give a job to a graduating student whose parents came with them to their job interview? I certainly wouldn't!

tallulah Tue 05-Jul-11 13:20:17

jennie I agree with you.

They are classed as adults so you lose your CTC and your CHB but you have to provide details of your income and family circumstances which are quite frankly no business of your child or the LEA.

Then they won't give you any info because they are adults.

ragged Tue 05-Jul-11 13:22:47

I paid my way thru Uni 20+ yrs ago (different country), no way my parents would have wanted to get so closely involved! Nobody's parents did get involved like that, far as I know, even those who did contribute a lot to their DC education. There is something modern to this happening.

pinkcupcakefairy Tue 05-Jul-11 13:26:52

I totally agree about parents needing to cut the strings once their children are at university/graduating but I think its a bit unfair to say they shouldn't even go and visit the universities with their child.

First visits happen in Yr 12, I was only 16 at this point so if I wasn't going on organised visits with the school or friends I would have definitely taken one of my parents. In Yr 13 for interviews at the universities I was then 17 & my dad kindly took time off work to take me, something I really appreciated as it meant I had someone else who got to see the university and discuss my opinions etc with.

exoticfruits Tue 05-Jul-11 13:32:32

YANBU I am really pleased that if you phone the university they will not tell you anything-unfortunately I can see the day coming when it changes. Parents need to untie the apron strings gradually and then they would have got used to it by the time the university cuts them at 18yrs.

acatcalledbob Tue 05-Jul-11 13:39:29

I used to work in HE and had parents phoning up all the time enquiring (mostly demanding to know) about their performance, why they hadn't done well, what had we not done to support them to the n'th degree. Most of them had terrible attendance records and although I would have dearly loved to tell them how immature and deeply unsuited to HE their PFBs were, I simply quoted the data protection act at them and said I couldn't discuss the performance of a third party.

When I was going to Uni open days, it was always by myself and my mum told me that if I wasn't acting (mostly) like an adult at 18, she hadn't done her job as a parent.

Ephiny Tue 05-Jul-11 13:40:33

I can understand parents would want more involvement/information if they're paying. But don't think it's necessarily inconsistent to have the rules we have. For example, if you were paying medical bills for your (adult) children, they'd still have an expectation of confidentiality.

As for parental income being relevant - this is a difficult one, because while the 'children' are technically adults, in practice their parents financial situation does make a big difference to what help they need. It's less about being a child, more about being a dependent (which many adult 'offspring' are) or part of a shared household. If you're a mature student and married or co-habiting, your partner's income will be taken into account.

I think you're assessed differently if you can show you've been living independently of your parents and supporting yourself for a certain amount of time, regardless of age.

Either way though, I agree graduating students should be able to sort this kind of thing out themselves without their parents having to step in!

Insomnia11 Tue 05-Jul-11 13:43:01

The students probably are sorting things out for themselves in most cases and don't actually want their parents phoning up and noseying about in attendance records and results.

Scholes34 Tue 05-Jul-11 13:44:43

It think it all stems from the fact that although they're 18+, many young people don't pay adequate attention to what's required of them by others, such as the graduation office trying to organise a gradutation and all that that entails. The parents should urge their children to pull their fingers out, rather than having a go at OP's friend trying to do her job. The vast majority of the younger generation leave things until the last minute and then expect others to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong.

Yes, there'll be more interference from parents once fees go up, but the unis aren't getting any more money through higher fees, it'll just be coming from a different source.

lesley33 Tue 05-Jul-11 13:45:38

I visited universities at 16 and 17 on my own, often a very long way from home. My parents would have been surprised if I could not have managed this alone.

towardsZero Tue 05-Jul-11 13:50:22

My parents wouldn't let me visit universities by myself at so I had them both along which made me very embarrassed - but when it was just my Dad it was better as he asked quite good questions. Their preference was different to mine though I put down and ended up at my preference.

I was badly prepared for the whole experience - never been shown how to write a cheque or other simple things.

However by the end of my degree - even my over protective parents had let go and would not have thought to phone the graduation office to 'sort' things.

feckwit Tue 05-Jul-11 13:50:26

Me too Lesley, I don't know anyone who took parents.

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