Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

Corey Fischer
President CollegeClarity

Your child is an "adult" now

Colleges do not tell you how your child is doing. I know--they make you pay, but they will not tell you anything--very frustrating. But those are the laws. They cannot, legally, devulge any information to you unless your child has signed permission for them to do so. Most parents circumvent this by just making the student give them the student account login information, that way parents can see when the student needs more meal money/book store money on their student card, as well as the grades.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Colleges informing Parents about students

Remember your "child" is now an adult and to the college it is their responsibilty to inform you of their progress (even if you are paying). Remember the relationship changes when high school ends. The progress is reported but access is given or taken by the adult student. Establishing boundaries is the best way to remain involved throughout their college career, and recognizing that you (or your money) may have the upper hand, on your child, but you must first realize that your young adult is doing what you have raised them to be; adults.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting


Do to federal privacy laws, unless forms have been signed allowing access, parents will be dependent on their children updating them on their academic progress. While this can feel frustrating, especially if mom and dad are paying the bill for school, it is etched in stone. Keep those lines of communication open with a healthy dialogue about expectations and support and all will be fine.

Michelle Aronoff
Guidance Counselor

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

No they don't. Once the student is 18 they are considered an adult, no matter who is paying for the education. it is entirely up to the student themselves to keep up with their studies.The university communicates grades directly to them, usually through an online system.

Lynette Mathews
Director The College Planning Center

Keep the communication open.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA is a federal law that was passed to protect student education records. Once students reach the age of 18 years or attend college, schools can no longer provide parents with academic records - including grades, without the student's consent. If a parent is interested in monitoring their student's academic progress, I suggest they request that their student sign a consent form at the beginning of the school year BEFORE any challenges arise.

Cheryl Millington

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

Absolutely not! I’m also the mother of a son in university and I too wished that I can get regular updates of how he’s doing, but there are privacy laws against this. If you want to know how your child is progressing you’ll have to get that information from your child. Therefore, it’s so important to keep the lines of communication open through the school research and application process. I recommend that you start by knowing your child’s courses and schedule. This way when you communicate with your child on a given day, you can casually ask how their X lecture was today. Also, in your conversations casually ask about assignments they are working on or tests/exams they are studying for. It then becomes easier to ask how they did on each individual piece of work a week or so after the essay was due or exam written. Be positive and encouraging if they are disappointed with their grade. Remind and encourage them to get extra help from the various support services on campus. Likewise, congratulate them when they receive good grades. Don’t always ask about grades and when you do keep the conversation light. Hopefully, this will help to not only know how your child is progressing, but gives you a chance to continue to be a great support and a great parent.

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

College students are young adults. Most students are also over the age of 18, which means they are "legally" adults who assume full responsibility for their own lives, including their educations. It's up to students whether or not they share their academic progress with their families. Colleges don't send grades to parents or otherwise keep parents apprised of their student's educational progress, even if the parents are financing or contributing to the cost of that education. This can make parents uncomfortable. How can they be sure their student is doing well? What if he is flunking out? What if she dropped most of her classes, joined the circus, and is keeping it a secret? There are definitely scary stories out there about parents who believed their kid was doing perfectly well in college until she came home at the end of term and finally admitted that she had been placed on academic probation or had already been kicked out of school. For better or worse, it's up to the kid to decide what and how much he tells his family about his academic progress. The good news is that, even in the worst academic probation or dismissal cases, there are still ways for kids to complete a college education. It's never the end of the world. Parents who want to know how their student is doing in college should ask him or her. They'll get more honest, valuable information if they've established a supportive and trusting relationship with their student when it comes to academic matters. Kids don't want to disappoint their parents, and if things are rough, they might not let mom and dad know right away. But they're more likely to do so before the situation becomes dire if they know their parents will ultimately be supportive and will try to help them resolve academic challenges in a constructive way that is satisfactory to everyone involved.

Jeana Robbins

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

They typically do not. This is a major point of contention for some parents, but there are legal guidlines that prevent this information from being distributed, even to parents who pay for tuition. There are exceptions to this rule, however, ideally, parents and children should communicate honestly and openly to avoid any issues arising in this area.

Diana Hanson
Common Sense College Counseling College Mentors

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

Colleges do not keep you informed of your child's academic progress--they only communicate with the student. Even though you're considered financially responsible for your student until the age of 24 (or post Bachelor's degree), you do not get any information about the student's course work, progress, grades, health care, finances, or anything else, unless your student specifically gives the college permission to have contact you. Even then, you will be the one asking (your child or the college)...the college will not reach out to you.

Nina Sculler
Director College Prep

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

Not generally, a student has to give permission for parents to have access to their account. Since the student is considered an adult, it is the student's responsibility to keep track of and inform parents of his/her academic progress.