Running out of options
June 9, 2015 9:22 PM   Subscribe

Could I be forced to leave college due to my depression/current situation? I feel like I've hit the dead end.

I've spoken to the counseling center/student affairs on-campus and they warned me that due to my low GPA from prior semesters there's a good chance I cannot be enrolled for the Fall '15 despite how I did seek counseling/medical leave during my depression.

In addition I've been to the counseling center and due to the fact I'm not "officially" a student I probably will not be allowed to seek medical/housing help there. Instead I've been referred to outside hospitals and I've already visited small charity org listed in the my last thread. Also, I have a state-issued health insurance and it's a challenge to find providers who cover it (Even calling the main health insurance office gave me a listings where 7/10 offices were not available).

However, I've already been to Henry Hudson Street and I learned that it's not worth applying for SNAP benefits due to how I can't gather enough documentation (landlord refuses to verify my location) and that they recommended me to stay at a drop-in shelter for the time being at the end of the month.

Right now I'm feeling fairly hopeless as even though I've applied to many, many entry-level jobs and can afford rent for approx 1-2 months (due to a loan) if I even find a place to rent but there's no way I can afford meals too. I would rather not stay at a shelter if I can help it not because I'm too "good" for public assistance because I'm scared for my personal safety in a unknown setting.

Yes, I've tried contacting my relatives but they continue to avoid/ignore my calls and imply that I'm a lazy and inconsiderate. Yes, I still have a ongoing legal case which I haven't been able to resolve.

Is it possible for my college (CUNY Baruch) to kick me out due to my depression? Should I be concerned that this is the end of my resources? Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Education (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What do you mean that you're not officially a student?
posted by k8t at 9:38 PM on June 9, 2015

I work with student advocacy in Canada, so take this info with that caveat in mind. However, I looked up your college's policy on disability accommodation, which includes:

"Provide reasonable accommodations without lowering standards or changing the essential nature of a course or program"

I would interpret this to mean you can be asked to leave due to low grades, but they will work with you to find a solution that accommodates a disability.

In my experience typical solutions for students with depression or mental health issues (if documented by a doctor, or recommended by campus services) include:
- deferrals on assignment deadlines without penalty
- reduced course load requirements for maintaining full time status. (there seems to be somehting similar in your state)
- leaves from studies with the right to return to school without formal re-application
- retroactive waiver of a term's grades or course grades after failing or poor grades due to illness (This option is useful if what you want is to get better then apply to a different school with a decent transcript)
- help making an accommodation plan with teachers that suit a specific course/specific student need

Decisions about eligibility for enrollment (at my university) are not made by student affairs divisions, but by academic areas -- the registrar's office accepts your initial registration eligibility, and the Dean of your Faculty is the one who can decide you continue or not. Your school may be different. In my experience it is good to accept information about enrollment and eligibility only from the parties with actual authority. It may be worth talking to the academic adviser in your department/faculty about your situation and options. If they are not responsible for these decisions in your school, they will know who is.

Finally, have you talked to the student association? Student groups vary in their services and skills (and whether they are independent from the university), but in my office, we deal with similar cases every day, and know the ropes pretty well. We are independent and also have good relationships with the people in charge, attend tough meetings with students, and can just help find solutions where no policy seems to apply. There is lots of turnover in student groups, so if someone seems new/confused/unsure, seek out more experienced members or administrative staff to direct you.

Good luck!!!
posted by chapps at 11:38 PM on June 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

You need to approach this systematically. This would be my approach to the problem, in this order, in my context (CUNY may differ):

- establish/document your diagnosis
- present your diagnosis to accommodations office
- obtain specific letter of accommodation
- present letter of accommodation to department/advisors/professors/instructors
- maintain your GPA within the terms of the letter of accommodation
- stay in college and graduate!

Things will go much smoother if you get your ducks in a row. You can also begin by going to your academic advisor with this list and asking for comments. Also, in parallel, you should get as much other advice as you can. But you need to see how this builds in sequence, and where to start. Good luck!
posted by carter at 1:38 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm really sorry you're in the midst of all this. I struggled with really bad depression in college and grad school. I'm now a college professor, and I make a point to talk to my students about mental health.

Find an academic advisor who can guide you through the process of getting accommodations for your condition. Do you have any professors you're close to? You might try talking to one of them and asking for help with the process. S/he should be able to point you to the right people. I've done this with many students myself.

GPs can prescribe antidepressant medication. They also might know good therapists. Ask.

Finally, depression lies to you. It tells you things are hopeless when they're not. Work on just starting the process here by talking to an advisor and (perhaps) a professor. Baby steps. You can get through this, and college, too.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:23 AM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I tried looking into CUNY's policy. I have some questions:

-were you placed on a medical leave, or did you take a personal leave for medical reasons (i.e. your school didn't make you leave, you left)?
-what was your GPA? On CUNY's website, it looks like academic dismissal would be for 2.0 or below.

It seems really unfair to me that they could prohibit your return based on a GPA issue that existed before your medical leave, because you haven't been able to resolve it for the past year--it's not like you could change your GPA while you weren't at college. And if it's low but not dismissal low, you really need to fight to get back in (I know, hard when all this is going on) because I'm not sure what they are basing their case on, but we need more info I think to decide you how you should approach this.

Do you have an advisor/student dean? I think you really need to talk to someone like that about this, someone specific who doesn't just work at the counseling center or student affairs but instead is a specific liaison between the student and the administration.

Also, try and get a letter from your mental health provider that you saw during leave, to clear you to return if you need to formally appeal.
posted by hejrat at 7:00 AM on June 10, 2015

Also in the case that your school doesn't readmit you for now (and is vague on when you could come back, what to do in order to be able to come back, or you cannot afford to do what you need to do to come back) I think you need to leave New York as soon as you are legally able to. Rack up whatever you can with temp money and move somewhere where the cost of living is much lower, If you don't have a support network in New York there's really no reason to stay. Even if you do manage to get a job, it seems you have no savings and you have loan payments--you will be constantly living hand to mouth and might not be able to do anything except work and pay bills, which may make it difficult to get readmitted to school. Yes, transferring schools is drastic but I seem from your question history that you have at least 2 years left and if your GPA is poor anyway maybe things will be better if you're not so stressed financially. 1-2 months worth of rent is 2-3 months with living expenses included in another city. Something to keep in mind if worst comes to absolute worst, but there's a good chance IMO that you could probably get readmitted to school, so do your very best to get that.
posted by hejrat at 7:19 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is there a student legal service? Depression is disabling and you might be eligible for accommodation based on disability.
posted by theora55 at 8:09 AM on June 10, 2015

I agree with the student legal services idea. I think you need clarity on whether or not you are technically a student as a lot will hinge on that. I don't know anything but if you're curre enrolled in classes for next semester, I think you're a student. Have you been billed for tuition? Do you have a schedule for the fall semester? Again, I don't know anything but it seems to me that your student status should be pretty binary (student, non-student, maybe academic probation or medical leave but I don't think there's a "kind of? maybe?" option).

Can you retake any classes? Retaking classes I did poorly in the first time around did wonders for my GPA. I had a crappy teacher for a required class and got a lousy grade so a few semesters later, I re-took it with one of the best teachers at the university and did much better.
posted by kat518 at 11:02 AM on June 10, 2015

Also, I remember your previous question. I don't know if anyone suggested participating in research studies but a family member participated in several studies to earn some money in college. They range in intensity but sometimes they just want you to take a survey.
posted by kat518 at 11:08 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is it possible for my college (CUNY Baruch) to kick me out due to my depression? Should I be concerned that this is the end of my resources?
  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
There are a lot of places in between NYC and a cross-country move. For example, New Jersey. I don't think you understand how stupidly expensive NYC is compared to almost any place else and how much easier your life will be if you can actually afford to live.
posted by anaelith at 6:54 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

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