Students over the age of 18 are adults and as such are treated this way. This means a right to privacy and the protection of their personal information and data - that without their explicit consent staff cannot disclose any personal information on a student to a parent or supporter. We understand that in many cases you might be financially supporting the student but we are still unable to release personal information for example grades or attendance figures. If your student is under the age of 18 at the commencement of their studies you can find additional information about support for them here.
If you are worried about your student then you can contact our Student Advisory and Wellbeing department who will be able to follow up on any concerns. They will not be able to report back to you but they can encourage your student to get in touch with you. For more information on this topic please see here.
For students who register with our advisory and wellbeing teams there is the opportunity for them to complete a consent form that asks them to consider when it might be appropriate to engage with family or a supporter and enables them to take a level of ownership of this.
A very small number of universities are explicitly asking students up front to give their consent to the universities contacting parents if necessary: a so-called “opt in” agreement. Like the majority of universities, Royal Holloway has not formally adopted an opt-in agreement but is closely monitoring the experiences of those universities who have. In addition, Student Advisory & Wellbeing have had processes in place for a number of years allowing us to communicate with an emergency contact in exceptional or emergency circumstances without consent. Fortunately, such cases are rare and in most situations we make a phone call with the permission of the student. Alternatively, we can encourage the student to get in touch with family or supporters themselves.
We remain mindful of circumstances such as family estrangement, unsupportive relationships or other cases where students have explicitly requested that the university must not make contact with their family and of course we respect the right to privacy of our students who by the time they join us are adults. In these cases we encourage students to consider an appropriate person they can nominate to be their supportive emergency contact.