UMass Boston

Pathway Program - Parent FAQs

Congratulations! You're the proud parent of a college-bound student. The Pathway Program is designed for students who, although not meeting the university's direct admissions standards right now, are more than capable of successfully earning a degree. The Pathways Program is designed to support your student in their first semester here at UMass Boston and to help smooth their transition from high school to our university.

We recognize that a program like this may be unfamiliar. This FAQ is designed to cover some questions that frequently arise from parents whose students have been referred to the Pathway Program.

My child has been referred, what are the next steps?

In order to secure their place in the program, your student will need to log into their Beacon Gateway portal, confirm their participation in the program, and then submit a $250 Enrollment Deposit. We also strongly encourage students and parents/guardians to participate in an information session. Information sessions are offered February-May.


For questions pertaining to financial aid or billing, UMass Boston's One Stop has "live chat" Mon-Fri during business hours.

Access to WISER

University Health Services

What is FERPA and why is it important?

  • FERPA is an acronym for the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act. Once your student is 18, we CANNOT discuss your student with you. We cannot say if they are attending their classes and certainly not what their grade is…. even if you are paying for it! This is because at 18 students are legally adults.
  • Suggestion: Work with your student before the semester starts to make a communication plan. Ask for copies of the syllabi for each course, which will tell you when essays and papers are due so you can check in with your student. This is especially true if your student will not be living at home with you. If you have concerns, ask the Pathways staff how best to proceed.

How do HIPAA and FERPA relate for college students?

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act), just as with FERPA, means no one can discuss your student’s physical or mental health with you once they have turned 18 and this includes University Health Services.

My child needs academic accommodations or adjustments. Who should I connect with?

We recommend your student connect with the Ross Center for Disability Services.

What does my child have to do to be prepared to ensure they have what they need to start?

Make sure your student has access to any books and materials required for their courses before classes begin.  The UMB Bookstore can help you with this and, if budget is a concern, faculty will generally be able to advise you and your student about cost effective alternatives if possible.  Buying or renting textbooks rather than having them supplied may be new to you, but not having the materials they need to succeed is one of the quickest ways new students fail. When and doubt, the student should email their instructor from their UMass Boston email with any questions.

What is a piece of advice to best encourage my child throughout the semester?

Class Attendance it vital for success.  Students must be in class when it meets.  Since there are relatively few contact hours for each course, missing one or two is like missing a week or two of class in high school.

How does my child working while taking a full course load ensure they will succeed?

Some UMass Boston students work as well as attend classes. It’s important to note that students will spend an average of 30 hours per week on their work in addition to attending classes. If you and your student are planning for work exceeding 20 hours/week, speak with the instructor of your University Success course about how best to manage the situation. There are workshops offered and information covered in your courses to assist with this throughout the semester.

What does study time look like for the upcoming semester?

As mentioned, you can anticipate up to 30 hours of studying, class work, assignments etc. weekly for most of the semester. Since college students are expected to spend a lot of hours outside of classes reading, reviewing, and working on assignments, that means they are not ‘free’ just because they are not in class.