If your son or daughter has recently been accepted to Butler County Community College, be sure to check our website. As a parent, you are just as excited about the college experience as your student. There is a lot to keep track of when your student is applying to college and an informed parent is an asset.
Do parents receive a copy of their student’s grades?
In accordance with Federal Privacy Laws, the College is not at liberty to release students’ grades to parents without consent on the part of the student. If you would like detailed information on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) you can visit their website.
Do I have to fill out the FAFSA every year?
Yes. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required of all families applying for financial assistance. It is a standard form from the Department of Education that determines eligibility for all state and federal grants.
Family financial situations change significantly as siblings graduate from or enroll in college, education costs increase, or unexpected situations occur, so it is required that every family submit a FAFSA yearly. It is very important that the form be turned in on time—check out the FAFSA online or consult your guidance counselor and finaid.org for more information.
Who do I talk to if I have financial aid questions?
You can contact the financial aid office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724.284.8509.
Tips for parents of college students:
Keep Lines of Communication Open
- Stay in touch
- Show interest
- Be a good listener
- Have an open mind
- Be encouraging
- Don’t push
Encourage Independence and Responsibility
- Learn to provide support and a listening ear but don’t try to control the student’s life via long distance.
- Encourage independent thinking. Help them sort out their thinking process and avoid making decisions for them.
- It might not be the best idea to just show up at the student’s apartment on a Friday afternoon. Always call first and arrange time to visit them in their new home.
- Beginning a college career can bring with it many academic challenges. Be realistic about your expectations of grades and achievement.
- Discuss the student’s new financial responsibilities. Establish limits and guidelines that fit both your needs and encourage responsibility.
- Keep the student informed about what is happening with family and in the community. Students typically appreciate it when parents communicate this information and often resent it when parents withhold unhappy news, such as a family illness or the death of a grandparent, in order to not upset them.
- Students love to receive a touch of home. Send “care packages” but don’t just send cash!
- It is important to make the most of home visits and to maintain a space for the student when she/he comes home.
- Allow some room for growth as you negotiate changes in what your expectations are with what the student’s expectations and needs are.
- Know the campus resources and encourage the student to take advantage of the services available to him/her.
- Get involved when tearful calls outnumber the others or when other behaviors arise such as frequent illness, excessive fatigue, non-beneficial changes in behavior or appearance, or talk of hopelessness or lack of purpose.
The Issue of Letting Go
Much has been written about the so-called "helicopter parents," who interfere inappropriately with a child's college experience. Community college officials admit that there are overzealous or overbearing parents of students in the community college system. Most parents, however, seem motivated by a genuine desire to be of assistance to their children during the transition.
The desire to "hold on" must be especially difficult for parents of community college students who live at home. Their home life may continue much the same as it was when the child was in high school. Even though college students in general don't have curfews, the parents of a community college student living at home may feel justified in continuing to enforce the same rules that applied during the high school years. But there will be a drastic change for both parents and child regarding education. First, the amount of time a parent spends daily in dealing with a high school student's education will be drastically reduced when a child begins community college. Also, much of the responsibility for areas such as selecting classes, planning schedules, completing homework, communicating with teachers, and grades, is transferred from the parent to the student. If parents do not allow children to exercise responsibility for their community college education, then the children will likely be at a disadvantage when they transfer to a four-year institution or enter the workforce.
Ten Questions to Ask Community College Students
One of the tips for parents listed above is to ask students questions about their experiences at college. Even if your child fails to provide satisfactory answers, the fact that you asked the question may plant a seed in the child's mind that the subject of the inquiry is important. The following are examples of questions that parents who want to support their students in community college may consider asking:
- Are you going to class?
- Are you studying at least 25 hours per week?
- Are you reviewing the material in each class weekly?
- Are you balancing study time with fun time?
- Do you know when the last day to withdraw from a class is?
- Are you starting your assignments early?
- Have you seen your advisor?
- Have you gone to your professors' office hours?
- Are you going to need any tutoring?
- Have you formed a study group?
Tips for Supporting a Student's Transition to College
Some or all of the following tips may be helpful in supporting a student's successful transition to college.
- Encourage students to make their own decisions, learn from their failures, and enjoy their successes.
- Encourage your student to get involved with campus activities, such as student government, athletics, drama, or debate.
- Don't pressure your student into declaring a major or choosing a career immediately.
- Encourage your student to meet with an academic advisor regularly for help in selecting courses.
- Support your student by understanding the stress that the student feels in adjusting to the new college environment.
- Ask about your student's classes and experiences.
- Understand that college is much more challenging than high school.
- When students experience problems, urge them to seek help immediately from the appropriate college resource.
Parents' Handbook for College Success
What is the difference between a high school and college environment?
The college environment requires students to function independently, be self-directed, and be mature enough to handle adult subject matter and a diverse population. College students are expected to contribute to the learning environment and behave in a manner that will not disrupt instruction, the classroom, events, or other campus settings. The college workload averages two hours of homework for every hour of class time.
If my student is having problems with the teacher, how can I set up a teacher conference?
Trying to arrange teacher conferences or making personal phone calls to the instructor to discuss your student's performance is inappropriate at the college and university level. When the minor student is enrolled in a college class they are considered to be a responsible adult, as any other student. Students (regardless of age) are expected to take the initiative to address academic or personal problems that may interfere with their ability to succeed in a course. The college provides ombudspersons, advisors, and counselors to assist students in overcoming academic difficulties, up to and including a grievance process if students feel they have been treated unjustly. However, it is entirely inappropriate for parents to contact faculty or academic administrators about their child's performance - that is the responsibility the child assumes when registering for college level classes.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Direct Loan Basics for Parents
What are Direct Loans?
Direct Loans are federal loans to help you pay for the cost of your child’s education at a four-year college or university, community college, or trade, career, or technical school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (ED) rather than a bank.
Direct Loans are:
- Simple—you borrow directly from the federal government.
- Flexible—you can choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet your needs, and you can switch repayment plans if your circumstances change.
What kinds of Direct Loans are available?
Direct Subsidized—for undergraduate students. No interest is charged on subsidized loans while a student is in school at least half-time and during deferment periods.
Direct Unsubsidized—for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree students. Interest is charged on unsubsidized loans during all periods.
Direct PLUS—for parents of dependent students, graduate, and professional degree students. Interest is charged during all periods.
What is the difference between a need-based and merit-based financial award?
The amount of need-based assistance for which your family qualifies is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines an individual family's Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), which influences the amount of state and federal dollars a family is eligible to receive. Need-based monies include loans that must be repaid over time; campus employment, which allows students to earn money at campus jobs; and grants, which do not require repayment.
Merit-based aid is gift money granted according to personal achievement, regardless of financial need. These awards do not require repayment.
Federal Student Aid includes
- Grants—financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund)
- Loans— borrowed money for college or career school; you must repay your loans, with interest
- Work-Study—a work program through which you earn money to help you pay for school
Butler County Community College limits access to student data, including grades, transcripts, and other educational records, in compliance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act 1974 (FERPA). FERPA was enacted to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through informal and formal hearings.
Student data may only be accessed by the student requesting the information. Students who wish to release certain information to their family, employer, Transfer College, or another third party must complete and submit the Student Information Release Form