College Lingo For College Parents: Talk the Talk — Part 5

We’ve written four earlier posts about some of the college vocabulary it might be helpful for you to know. Be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Here is a fifth installment.

Clery Act

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is named for Jeanne Clery, a nineteen year old freshman at Lehigh University who was raped and murdered in her residence hall in 1986. The law requires any college, either public or private, which receives federal financial aid, to keep and disclose crime statistics on and near campus. Amendments to the Clery Act passed in 2008 require institutions to include a campus emergency response plan in their reporting.  Institutions are required to publish their report in the fall of each year, and it must contain information for the prior three years.

Defer Enrollment

Once a student has been accepted to a school, and has paid the required deposit, he may request to defer or delay his enrollment.  This means that he is asking the college to hold his place for him for a semester or for an entire year.  The student may be required to submit his request in writing by a certain deadline, and he may be asked to submit a plan for what he plans to do for the year.  The student is then guaranteed a place in the next entering class.  Policies vary by school.  For many students, taking a year off, or a gap year, may be very beneficial.

First Generation Students

This term is used to refer to students who are the first in their immediate family to attend college: students whose parents have not attended a post-secondary educational institution.  Colleges understand that many first generation students may have particular issues in learning about and adjusting to the world of college.  Some institutions develop special programs or even organizations for first-generation students.  Many institutions provide extra support and guidance for these students.

Meal Plan

A meal plan is a pre-paid account for your meals while you are at college.  Prior to the beginning of the semester, students select the meal plan that they prefer.  Policies vary at different colleges, but students can often choose the number of meals per week that they wish to eat in the dining facility.  They are then billed for the appropriate amount at the beginning of the semester.  Each time a student eats a meal, a designated amount is deducted from the account.  Students can often change plans if they discover that their needs are greater than what they had planned.  Some meal plans may charge students “a la carte” depending on the items that they choose.

Parental Notification

Parental Notification laws, or Parental Notification Policies, allow a college or university to notify parents if their underage student violates alcohol or drug policies of the institution.  Many argue that parental notification, allowable under the FERPA health and safety exception, allows parents to become part of the solution to underage drinking.  Parental notification policies vary from school to school.  The federal law allows a college, but does not require a college, to notify parents of student rule infractions.

Don’t be intimidated by college terminology or “lingo”.  If you’re not sure what something means, ask!  You’ll be “talking college” before you know it.

We’ll address some additional terms in future posts.  Watch for more lingo to come.

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