Frequently Asked Questions by Parents
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (commonly known as the Buckley Amendment) is a federal law, which provides that colleges and universities will maintain the confidentiality of student education records. The law basically says that no one outside the institution shall have access to students’ education records nor will the institution disclose any information from those records without the written consent of students. There are exceptions, of course, so that certain personnel within the institution may see the records, including persons in an emergency in order to protect the health or safety of students or other persons.
What is considered directory information?
In compliance with FERPA, the following statement reflects the Pratt Institute’s policy.
The following directory information may be released by telephone: a) student’s dates of attendance and b) date of graduation and degree earned. Other kinds of directory information, such as a student’s address, telephone listing, major field of study, awards received, and the most recent previous education agency or previous institution attended, will be released only in response to a written request. Pratt Institute reserves the right to refuse the above information if the reason for the request is not considered to be a sufficient need-to-know.
Information regarding the student’s record: grades, courses, GPA, social security number and other personal information will not be released without the student’s written consent.
Health & Safety
What do students do when they get sick?
The Health and Counseling Office offers primary care services to all students Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. The office is staffed by nursing and medical professionals. A nurse is available on a walk-in basis every weekday, throughout the day. If a student has a medical emergency during the weekend he/she should call 911.
Pratt also provides on-campus mental health services and can refer students to specialists off campus. Students are seen by appointment unless there is an emergency. Day and evening appointments are available. A mental health professional is on call through Pratt Security for emergency situations when the office is closed.
Are students required to have health insurance?
All Pratt students are required to have medical insurance. The Pratt student health insurance is provided through Aetna Student Health, a partner of Aetna. The policy is a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) which has a network of providers and facilities agreeing to provide treatment at pre-negotiated rates. Although you may go out of network, this will increase out-of-pocket expenses. A brochure outlining the policy is available online on our website and through Aetna’s student Health Portal. Dental and vision plans are offered through Aetna.
How can students waive health insurance if they are already insured?
Students can go online to the Health and Counseling page of the Pratt website (http://www.pratt.edu/health) and click on the link to Student Insurance: Enrollment/Waiving. Your student will be directed to create an account and enter his/her current insurance policy information. Your student should have his/her insurance information available as he/she goes online to register. After registering, an email confirmation will be sent. Waivers must be completed by September 10, 2008, and must be completed every semester.
What do you do to ensure my student's safety?
Generally, Pratt is a safe place, but crime may happen anywhere. You can educate your student about safety on and around the campus community by teaching your student ways to keep property safe (such as locking doors and locking bikes), and by letting them know that personal and property safety are individual responsibilities. Additional campus safety information is available online at http://www.pratt.edu/security
Campus & Student Life
What are the biggest adjustments during the first year?
First year students are faced with the transition to a college schedule and workload, being away from home, being on their own, and managing their money. It is a rough transition but can be made much easier if support is made readily available from home. Keeping in touch with your student is important, but allowing your student to have their independence and grow on their own is the key to a smooth first year and start to a college career.
Where can they study?
Pratt has a library where tables and work spaces are available for studying, but many students choose to study where they feel most comfortable. The student lounge at the lower level of the main building is popular for studying, and many students find their own space in the dining room, and cafes on campus as well as cafes and coffee shops in the surrounding area.
What kind of meal plan options does my student have?
Pratt offers a number of meal plans that cater to how regularly your student wants to eat on campus at designated eateries such as the main dining room, convenience store, and pizza shop. The meal plans are designed on a debit card system on their ID cards; the students’ meal plan points decrease as the student purchases items. A meal plan point equals one dollar, however, the cost of meal plans is fixed and unused points will not be refunded at the end of the semester (for optional plans) or year (for mandatory plans). With all meal plans, students have the option to add points at any time during the semester in $50 increments.
All students living in Stabile, ELJ, Cannoneer Court, and Pantas, and all freshmen regardless of their assignment are automatically enrolled in the minimum mandatory meal plan that offers roughly 14 meals per week. Students can opt for larger plans if desired. Students not living in the aforementioned areas, upperclassmen, and commuters may opt for a mandatory plan or an optional plan (per semester only).
Do students need a car?
At Pratt, just as in New York City, a car is a luxury and not a necessity. Public transportation is the most efficient way to travel in Brooklyn and around the city, and Pratt is conveniently located a few blocks away from the G train. If your student does decide to have a car on campus, parking must be considered. Parking on campus is by permit only and availability is extremely limited. The current permit rate for the academic year is $125.
What should s/he bring?
Your student is provided a room, bed, desk, and closet space. Sheets, towels, bathroom toiletries and other necessities and luxuries may be brought from home. There are various stores in the area where supplies can be purchased, so if something is forgotten at home it shouldn’t be too much cause for worry. Something to consider, however, is that there isn’t too much space in the rooms, so minimalism is key for a more comfortable living space.
My student is having difficulty with their roommate, how can you help?
The first and most obvious suggestion would be for your student to have a talk with his/her roommate to determine the root of the problem and if there are ways to fix it. If the problem persists, however, an RA can be consulted to mediate and further action can be taken if necessary.
What kind of academic support do you offer?
In addition to the available support from faculty, Pratt offers the Writing and Tutorial Center (WTC) for academic support. The WTC provides academic assistance from individual or small group writing tutorials to specific tutoring in various subjects and across all levels of intensity on both a scheduled and walk-in basis.
Do students need a computer on campus?
The School of Art and Design, with the exception of the Interior Design department, does not mandate computer purchases for incoming students. There are ample computer labs on campus for student use. Parents and students should wait until students declare a major in the sophomore year to purchase equipment based upon the requirements of the department or major in question. The School of Architecture does have a mandated laptop program for entering freshmen and M.Arch I, M.Arch II, and Urban Design graduate students. The Interior Design department also has a mandated laptop program for sophomore and entering graduate students. Industrial Design, City & Regional Planning also have a recommended program. Requirements for these programs are located online at http://pratt.edu/~laptop
If you have any questions concerning these programs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial Aid & Tuition
How can my student get financial aid?
All students requesting financial aid consideration should contact the Office of Financial Aid at Pratt for a financial aid estimate after filing the FAFSA.
To be considered for most kinds of financial aid, applicants must complete the FAFSA by February 1 since most aid is need-based. The Presidential merit-based scholarship and the PLUS loan do not require completion of the FAFSA. We do encourage all families to submit the FAFSA, however, in order to qualify for all aid possible. More information can be found at http://www.pratt.edu/admissions/financing_your_education/financial_aid_options/financial_undergrad/
Once students are accepted, they will receive notification by email that their financial aid package is posted online. Pratt students who wish to attend summer school or study abroad must also fill out the Summer Application for Financial Aid.
What forms of payment does Pratt accept?
We accept cash, checks, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and Wire Transfers. Secure Payments can now be made online at my.pratt.edu under Advisement, Registration, and Billing. After logging in, your student can: View his/her Tuition Bill and Make a Payment. MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and Electronic Checks are accepted. There is a non-refundable $25 per transaction convenience fee for credit or debit cards and a $3 non-refundable convenience fee for E-Checks. If paying by mail, please allow 5-7 business days for payments to be received.
How can tuition be paid?
Tuition can be paid via the Web, mail, over the phone, or in person at the Office of the Bursar, located on the first floor of Dekalb Hall on the Brooklyn campus.