Four in five (81 per cent) undergraduates said that their university could share information with their next of kin, according to a poll of over 14,000 students. The Telegraph reports
The annual Student Academic Experience Survey, conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) and the sector group Advance HE, also found that students are increasingly anxious.
Two thirds (66 per cent) of undergraduates said their university could contact their parents about their mental health under “extreme circumstances” and another 15 per cent said they could under any circumstances.
Nick Hillman, director of Hepi, said he is “constantly” told that “students are adults, they don’t want their parents interfering in their life, parents are the last people you would want to tell if you had a challenge”.
“Those opinions are out of date, mental health is something people are much less embarrassed about it,” he said. “Parents are also much more involved in their children’s higher education than they used to be.”
James Murray, whose son became the tenth Bristol University student to take his own life in the past three years, has campaigned for a change to data protection rules prevent further deaths at universities.
His son Ben, 19, died last May and it was only after his death the family discovered Ben had been falling behind in his studies, missing lectures and had been put in a “withdrawal process” by the university who were considering his “fitness to study”.
Universities say that under data protection laws, they are unable to share confidential information about students – who are over the age of 18 so legally regarded as adults – without their express permission.
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