Parents' "right" to college kids' grades?

Just wondering what access you thought parents ought to have WRT their kids’ grades. Assume the parents are at least making a substantial contribution to the kid’s school costs. In case you didn’t realize, no matter who pays the bills, once the student turns 18 their right to privacy prohibits the school from disclosing grades to a parent.

We pay a good portion of our 3 kids’ college costs. My eldest recently finished her schoolwork, will student teach this fall and graduate in Dec. She moved in with her BF/supposed fiance-to-be.

We feel that if our kids wish to accept our financial assistance, they ought to put forth a good effort, and let us know their grades. We knew grades were supposed to have been recorded, but she hadn’t told them to us. When we asked, something about what she said seemed vague. So I told her I understood that she was becoming more independent, but that we required to see a printout of our kids’ grades, and if she didn’t feel that was appropriate, perhaps we needed to discuss arrangements for tuition while she student taught this fall. She responded that she guessed we would have to discuss that. I told her that was certainly her choice. I thought it not the wisest choice, but it was hers to make.

Turned out as we suspected. She called back to tell us she had been embarrassed because her grades were not up to her usual high standards. Apparently got a somewhat severe case of senioritis. Nothing huge, but just dropped her from summa to magna. An avoidable unforced error in an tight job market IMO. She apologized for lying to us, and said she’d print the grades out.

So I’m kinda okay with how it turned out, but I felt kinda crappy for having to play the $ card. What do you think? A really tough situation to deal with, but I’m basicaly pleased with how my wife and I handled it.

Well, my evil sociopath half brother, in his 30’s, scammed my dad out of three years of college money by immediately withdrawing and taking the refund. I do almost wish he’d gone four just so we could see what he’d have come up with when it was time to graduate.

Thing is, it went that long because they couldn’t demand to see his grades.

I think the legal protection/school policy should remain as/is.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable IF YOU ARE PAYING to want to see your kid’s grades. It seems like a practical way to make sure you’re getting a good return on your investment. If she chooses not to share those grades you have the right to withdraw financial support. It’s not like you’re obligated to financially carry a legal adult.

I tend to feel that dependent children should be treated like dependent children, regardless of their age, and independent children should be treated like independent children. If you’re not willing to take on the adult responsibility of financing your own education then why should you have adult privileges?

But I was raised very differently and was told since I was knee-high to a grasshopper that I wouldn’t receive any financial assistance following my 18th birthday. I ended up leaving even sooner than that and was financially independent throughout my entire college career. I can’t even imagine being in your daughter’s position.

ETA: I think you may be exaggerating about the significance of this term’s grade decrease, though. Employers IME don’t care whether you were an amazing college student or just a pretty good one. I don’t think academic achievement translates to respect in the working world.

I think that parents or anyone else has the right to know where their investment is going.

My parents never paid for any of my university education, but if they had I would assume that they would want to see the grades. I showed them the grades anyway, just because they were interested; however, I was a more…erm… mature learner and had been living alone for a decade and really had no reason to try to enforce privacy.

I think the school should stay out of it, but that it is perfectly reasonable for a parent who is paying the bill to demand that the student show their grades. What they should not do (but what does happen) is call the school and demand that the school release the grades.

That said, I do not see a minor drop in GPA as playing any role whatsoever in whether or not your daughter gets a particular teaching job. Her interviews and recs will make a much bigger difference.

As you are aware, paying tuition confers no legal right to view the grades of your non-minor children. However I think you are within your parental rights to ask to see the grades considering the funding situation.

They takes your money, they plays by your rules; it’s quite reasonable. It would be better if you had been quite clear at the outset that this was an expectation. I do not believe there is some “standard” of disclosure that can be uniformly assumed in the absence of a frank conversation. My parents, who contributed about 1/3 of my undergraduate education, considered my grades my problem. The only one bad grades could possibly could hurt was me (they reasoned) and they had been quite clear that I was expected to support myself on graduation; neither was I welcome to return home except as a visitor.

So basically, I think it was fine for her to not share them until asked, it was also fine for you to ask and expect an honest response.

I’d agree that if you’re paying the bills, you can (and should) require the student to show you the grades. So I think in this case it was handled appropriately. As far as the legalities go, the status quo is just fine.

I think your situation played out exactly right.

Most college students are legally adults. That means that they have the same rights of privacy as any other adult, which includes grades. I think that is as it should be. Colleges certainly shouldn’t be expected to keep track of who’s paying for what that allows some parents to see grades and some not - that’s a huge nightmare and a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I also agree that parents who are contributing financially to their kid’s education (or anyone financing someone else’s education, for that matter) have the right to know if that money is being well-spent, i.e., what grades were received. But the way to do that is exactly what you did - make it a condition of recieving financial assistance. No lookee, no payee.

I’m recalling a recent conversation with my step-daughter and her husband (both just turned 21). They were whining and bemoaning the horrible fact that his parents put requirements on his behavior in return for supporting him while he was in college.

I don’t think they got the reaction they wanted, since everyone else in the room replied “well, duh! If your parents are supporting you, then they get to make the rules. If you don’t like it, get off your ass and get a job.” The fact that the rest of us were all 35+ and most of us had paid our own way through college (or went straight to work from high school) may have had something to do with it. :smiley:

Their children are legally adults (other than the handful that go to college at 17). The grades are confidential information. Legal adults have the right to keep confidential information confidential.

Either they’re adults or they’re not. If they refuse to let you see the grades, then you’re in your rights to stop paying for college.

I think you handled it well. Yes, I agree that schools should respect their student’s privacy, so I don’t think the school should reveal adult students’ grades to their parents. But I also agree that anyone “investing” in another’s education - whether it be the parents, an employer or a government program - should be able to monitor their investment and have access to grades…from the student themselves.

My parents insisted that I show them my grades - which I thought was fair enough, since I’d been a giant slacker in high school and they had little enough reason to believe that I wouldn’t slack through college. As it turned out, this wasn’t much of a burden - I did quite well in college, so I didn’t have a problem with my parents seeing my grades.

I think you handled it right. Just be glad that your daughter didn’t improve her transcript via exacto knife, glue, and multi-generation copies, (though I guess in these modern times you’d do it with a scanner & Photoshop) like a “friend” of mine did to his dad 22 years ago.

As a dissenting opinion, I’m very glad my parents never put me in the position of disclosing my grades.

My whole school life was full of lots of pressure and expectations. As such, I never really actually “owned” my education, since I felt like it was something I was basically doing to live up to expectations. I put in enough effort not to get in trouble, but never really gave it my all because I was just so sick of all the pressure. I ended up being a high B low A student, when I could have done a lot better if i had actually tried.

When I got to university, it was such a relief to finally be studying for me. I worked harder than ever before because this time I understood that my education was for my benefit and that I’d get out of it what I put in to it. I finally “owned” it, and so I gave it my all.

Obviously not everyone thinks the way that I do, but this is my experience.

Thanks for the responses. And I apologize for being somewhat unclear. I wasn’t really objecting to the policy that does not allow me access to the grades, but rather, was focusing on the relationship between us and our kids. (Altho I will note that the schools have no qualms about sending the bills directly to my wife and me rather than our kids!) :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m pretty sure that we have made it very clear all along that we wanted to see the grades - and that we have pretty high expectations in that area. We’ve got 3 kids in college and this one just finished her 4th year, so it isn’t as tho this is the first time the situation came up. So it was unusual that she didn’t volunteer ther grades to us.

I don’t mean to exaggerate the impact of these grades on my kid’s future, tho I must say that as a parent this job market kinda worries me about all of my kids’ prospects. And ISTM that it just makes sense to position yourself such that you can present yourself as being as accomplished and capable as possible. Magna cum laude is very nice - sure a hell of a lot better than I did. But if you had the possibility of being summa instead, there is at least the chance that that might have caught someone’s eye. Not to mention the possible negative effect of getting your only C your final semester in a class within your major. When a kid has a total of 2 Bs the first 7 semesters of their college career, I think it at least a tad disappointing - and unnecessary - for them to pull down 2 Bs and a C their last semester.

So I’m a little disappointed that she appears to have slacked off her final semester, and a little disappointed that she lied to us about it. But I’m glad she so quickly apologized.

Hell, realistically her options as a music teacher probably won’t be significantly different one way or the other. I’m hoping she buckles down and kicks ass during her upcoming student teaching assignment.

I worked with a guy who supported his younger sister thru college for at LEAST 4 years…she may have even milked it for 5 or 6 years for various “reasons”.

She pulled the same take the money but not the classes stunt. And this guy wasnt exactly rolling in money either. I’d bet a MAJOR fraction of his take home pay was going to support his sisters years long party/vacation.

Beyond all belief, he actually stayed friendly with her after the scam was exposed. Then, after all that, he let her drive his nice sports car all the time while he drove her, I kid you not, PINK GTO Yugo with racing strips, curb feelers, a spoiler, and these things you put on the windshield wippers to keep them pressing against the glass when you drive at high speeds.

And not suprisingly, she ended up knocked up from “one solitary night of loving bliss” while poor pink Yugo driver probably couldnt get laid due to his ride alone.

I always wondered how much he spent on her and her love child in the following years.

The twist regarding “they are adults” is that the college and related institutions insist on seeing my financial data to decide whether my son gets any assistance. I was mildly annoyed by the concept that they were considered independent when it was in the school’s interest and not independent when it wasn’t in the school’s interest for them to be.

I had the general policy that if I was writing checks, they would show me their grades. As I said more than once “I’m not paying for a four year party”.

I have a somewhat but not totally dissenting opinion. Of course if you are paying for the education, you have a right to see your daughter’s grades. But consistently asking to do so bespeaks a lack of trust between you. My parents supported me (paid for my housing and living expenses) through college, and not once did they ask to see my grades. Not once did they ask me how well I was doing academically. They trusted that I would keep my grades up so that I would not lose my scholarship.

Now, perhaps my situation was different because I had proven prior to college that I could manage my own academic life. If your child has previously failed classes or proven themselves untrustworthy, maybe it is wise to keep tabs.

Also, no employer is going to give a damn about summa vs. magna. The only thing employers have ever cared about in my experience was seeing proof of a degree. They didn’t care where you got it or how well you did getting it. They just wanted to see proof of graduation.

Scholarship awards that require a minimum GPA are handled in the same manner. The school doesn’t automatically send the grades to the scholarship trust, it is up to the student to request that the grades be sent to them. If the Trust doesn’t receive the grades, the scholarship is cut-off.

I don’t see why parent financial support should be any different.

Not really relevant, but in my situation I never had to send out my grades. I assume they were reported automatically.

The difference I think is the relationship. When my tuition was being paid through a scholarship, I never met or spoke to the group of people who were supporting me. It was a written agreement between individual and institution, formal and official.

When a parent pays for their child’s education, they are doing it (I assume) out of love. They desire their child to have a good future. It’s not some purely financial transaction: I paid for it, now show me the results. Also, if you want your child to act like an adult, you must treat them like an adult. Demanding a report card every semester just seems so…elementary school.

I think I said something about this instance was unusual. It seems our kids generally print off or e-mail us their grades without us asking. I don’t recall ever before asking a kid to give us a print-out. They usually do quite well, and are rightfully proud of their grades. So it was only after my daughter failed to tell (or show) us her grades, that we asked, and only after her answer seemed evasive that I said if she wanted next semester’s tuition I wanted a print-out of this semester’s grades.

Parenting continues to be so interesting. There are just a whole new set of issues that come up as my eldest is nearing graduation and moving out of the family home and in with her BF. Seeing her do various things to exercise her increased independence, and seeing how I and her mother react. Just continuing to wing it as we go along! :stuck_out_tongue: