The eight Ivy League schools might be the most prestigious places to get an education, but they all get astonishingly poor marks for accommodating students with mental health concerns, according to a scathing new report.
Last year, the Ivies were rocked by a series of damning statistics and heart-breaking suicides.
By February 2017, five Columbia University students had killed themselves since the start of the school year.
At Harvard, rates of suicide attempts are twice as high as among the general population, and 35 percent of Princeton students said in 2012 that they developed a mental illness after arriving on campus.
Far from creating a more mentally healthy environment for their students, the Ivy Leagues also fall short of the care they owe these students under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a new Ruderman Family Foundation report suggests.
Of the eight Ivy League colleges, University of Pennsylvania (left) got the the best marks for mental health care of its students with a D+ from a new report. Yale University got an F
It’s no surprise that college – especially at eight of the nation’s most competitive institutions – is a challenging time.
But for many undergraduate students, school has crossed the line from intellectually demanding to mentally debilitating.
The American College Health Association’s 2017 survey found that 40 percent of college students had felt so depressed it was hard to got to class, spend time with friends, or even perform basic functions at some point in the last year.
The mental health of teenagers and young adults has been dismal for years, and getting worse.
Schools like Harvard University and Columbia University may publish important research on the state of young adults’ mental health, but that doesn’t mean these institutions are actually providing their students the support they call for.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 provides a number of legally protected rights to college students who find themselves in times of mental illness or crisis.
Provisions for accommodations or the ability to take a leave of absence are meant to guarantee students the ability to take care of their own mental health without worrying that their academic careers will be derailed.
Some 35 percent of students said they developed a mental illness after coming to Princeton University (left) in 2012. Princeton and Brown University both got Ds in the new report
During the 2016-2017 school year, five Columbia University (left) students committed suicide. Both it and Harvard (right), where mental illness rates are twice as high as in the general population got Ds on the new report
Ivy League schools are, by and large, failing to provide these assurances, according to the new report.
Not a single one earned higher than a D+ from study author Dr Miriam Heyman, a program office at the Ruderman Family Foundation.
She scored the Ivies as follows:
- University of Pennsylvania: D+
- Brown University: D
- Columbia University: D
- Harvard University: D
- Princeton University: D
- Cornell University: D-
- Dartmouth College: F
- Yale University: F
Four of the schools are perfectly willing to suspend students for being ‘disruptive’ – even if that disruption is due to mental illness, which is considered illegal.
Half of the schools also prohibit any students from coming back to campus during a leave of absence, even if it’s a voluntary one to take care of their mental health.
Social Isolation is considered one of the top risk factors for suicide, so the Dr Heyman and the Ruderman Family Foundation worry that being prohibited from being around their peers will only put students on leave at higher risks of suicide.
And if a student decides that they need to take a leave of absence to sort out their mental health, the majority – five out of eight – had a minimum required length for the break.
Cornell University (left) and Dartmouth College (right) round out the bottom with a D- and an F respectively
That means that a student could either have their brief absences counted against them in class, or take an extended period off, meaning that they would get more behind in their coursework, an added stress.
That, too, is against the ADA.
On these and many other criteria for following policy and indeed the law, not a single Ivy League school received a passing mark.
‘The Ivy League schools are the most elite in our nation, and they are failing to provide leadership that the sector of higher education desperately needs,’ said the foundation’s president, Jay ruderman.
‘It is our hope that the Ivy League schools will change their policies to reflect institutional commitment to supporting students with mental health disabilities. This will encourage hundreds of colleges and universities around the country to do the same.’