Colleges Are Working To Avoid Tuition Hikes By Cutting Costs

In these difficult economic times, colleges, as well as the parents and students who are paying tuition, are feeling the financial pinch.  Like the families who pay tuition, many colleges are attempting to tighten their budget in order to avoid raising tuition more than necessary.  Many colleges are also committed to maintaining, or even raising, their amount of financial aid to students.  Only 8% of colleges surveyed by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities said that they had plans to reduce their financial aid offerings.

Most colleges and universities have already looked at and instituted some of the big savings strategies also being used by the corporate world as well.  Many have looked to layoffs, halting construction projects, hiring freezes, and salary freezes.  But colleges are also looking for other ways to trim their budgets.

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Helping Your College Student Find Support On Campus

As a college parent, you want to support your college student in any way that you can.  You talk on the phone (but hopefully not too often), you send mail (students love to find something in their mailbox), you send care packages, you listen when they share joys or worries; but there is a limit to what you can do.  In your attempts to help your student find their increasing independence and sense of responsibility, you need to help your student find and use appropriate on-campus support systems.

Your college student may continue to turn to you for help.  Or they may feel that being grown up means that they need to do everything for themselves.  In either case, your student may not be finding and taking advantage of the resources available on campus.  Be there, but help your student consider who else might best help.  Ask questions and suggest that your student investigate some of the possible support available on campus.  Here are fifteen possible sources of help.

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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.

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Connecting With Your College Student By Phone – Part 3

This is the third part in a three part series about phone conversations with your college student. In the first post, we considered the nature of our phone conversations with our student. In the second post, we considered how your phone conversations might change as the semester progresses.  In this post, we offer some suggestions for maximizing your phone conversations with your student.

You’ve made the phone conversations with your student routine.  You’re ready to listen, and you’re prepared to listen to her college adventures and share something about life at home.  But sometimes the conversation just doesn’t flow.  How can you encourage your college student to share her thoughts with you?  Sometimes it’s all about the questions you ask – and the responses you make.

Here are five suggestions for those more awkward conversations.

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Important Academic Conversations with Your Student Throughout the Semester

All conversations with your college student will be different.  Sometimes your student will have lots to tell you or ask you, and other times you will both be searching for things to say to each other.  However the conversations go, they are important times for sharing news, sharing feelings, making plans, and encouraging each other.  Most of these conversations will probably not be about academics.  However, there may be sometimes during the term when you will want to “check in” about how things are going in classes.  Here are some possible suggestions for conversations at various times throughout the semester.

About a week into the semester:

By now your student has been in classes for one week and has probably had at least one class meeting for each of their courses.  This is a good time to ask how they like them and whether they have read all of the syllabi carefully.  If the college has a Drop/Add period, that deadline may be coming up soon.  This is a good time to ask whether your student needs to drop or add any classes.  (Remember that they may need to maintain a minimum number of credits to be considered a full time student – important for residence life, athletics, financial aid, and possibly health insurance.)

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Connecting With Your College Student By Phone – Part 1

This is the first post in a three part series about phone conversations with your college student. In the next post, we’ll consider how your phone conversations might change as the semester progresses. In the final post of the series, we offer some suggestions for maximizing your phone conversations with your student.

Regular phone conversations with your college student are a great way to stay in touch with what is happening in your student’s life – and for her to stay in touch with life at home. Even if you keep up with each other via e-mail, Facebook, or some other electronic medium, there is nothing quite like hearing each other’s voice.  However, just because the technology allows us instant contact, it doesn’t mean that every conversation will be satisfying.  Here are some suggestions that will help to maximize your conversations with your college student.

Make it routine.

Consider setting up a regular time for your student to phone you. Let your student phone you, rather than you calling him, so that he will choose a time when he is available for a conversation.  Reaching him on his cell phone while he is at dinner with his friends may not yield the most meaningful conversation.

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Twelve Things You Can Do To Help You Listen To Your College Student

Communication between parents and teenagers is often difficult.  As parents of college students we have lived through most of those difficult years.  Now that your student is headed off to college and you may not have the same kind of daily contact with them, you want to make good use of the times that you do communicate with them.  Although you may not see your student for several weeks (if they are living away), you may talk more often.  Daily phone conversations may not be the best way to encourage independence, but you may want to establish some regular phone contact to help you stay connected.  You also want to take advantage of those conversations that happen when your student does come home for a visit.

So now that communication with your college student may happen less often, you want to maximize the opportunities that you have.  What can you do?  The short answer is to talk less and listen more.  You may be surprised at how much you will learn about your student simply by listening.  Here are twelve suggestions that will help you listen more carefully to your college student.

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College Professors Are People Too!

As a college parent, you may wonder about the people at college with whom your student spends much of their time.  Who will their classmates be? Who will their friends be?  Who will their roommates or suitemates be?  Who will theircoworkers be? Who will their professors be?  Students often head off to college with many of the same questions.  They wonder, and then they discover their classmates, roommates, coworkers.  They work at making and maintaining friendships.  However, although students will see their professors in class each day, they may not think about the importance of working at establishing a relationship with these professionals.

You can encourage your student to get to know their instructors.  It will be to your student’s advantage to get to know their professors – and to help them get to know your student.  However, it is often difficult for many students, especially new students, to reach out to faculty members.  Here are a few suggestions you might pass on that will help your set your student apart as an individual.  Some may require more effort than others.  However, using even a few of these suggestions will help your student stand out in their professors’ minds.

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Exploring a Field of Study: Talking to a Faculty Member and Others

One of the wonderful things that can happen for a student during college is to have the opportunity to explore a field of study.  Your college student may know exactly what she wants to do, or she may still be undecided and want to explore options.  Even if she knows the field in which she would like to major, she may want to explore possibilities within the field.  One natural way to do some of this exploring is to talk to people.  Encourage your student to talk to other students in the field, talk to family members who may work in the field or related fields, talk to people she admires, talk to a Career Office on campus, talk to her advisor and talk to faculty members in the area.

Talking to others is good advice, but many students worry about how to talk to someone – particularly a faculty member – about an area of study.  Most people who enjoy their field are more than happy to talk about it, but they may need a bit of guidance about what is helpful.  Below are some possible questions you might suggest to your college student that will help him to get a conversation started.  He probably won’t ask all of them, but they may open up some possibilities – and hopefully will help him think of more questions on his own.

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Parent Relations Offices Offer College Parents an Opportunity for Involvement

As college parents of the millennial generation of students, we have spent most of our children’s lives actively involved in most of what they do.  Parents have been told throughout their children’s lives that the more involved that they were, the better their children would fare.  Most colleges and universities are currently working to learn how to best involve this generation of parents in the lives of their students at the college level, not by soliciting more involvement, but by channeling our energies appropriately.

In several of our earlier posts, we have discussed ways in which parents can shift to a coaching model with their student as well as how parents might communicate with the college.  In this post, we take a look at ways in which many colleges are reaching out to help parents find their place in their student’s college experience.

Two decades ago, most colleges and universities paid very little attention to communication or programming for college parents.  Parents dropped their students off at the beginning of freshman year and, with the exception of a possible Parents’ Weekend in the fall, had very little official involvement with the school until Commencement.  Today, as colleges begin to recognize parents as partners in student support, more and more schools are establishing offices on campus whose primary responsibility is Parent Relations.  The scope of services provided by such an office is continually expanding as parents insist on involvement and schools attempt to maximize and channel “helicopter parent” enthusiasm.  Colleges are paying attention.

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