Duke University Treats Adult Women like Children

Duke University Treats Adults like Children

This is the story of Carissa, an independent, working woman, who is married to a special forces medic.

Carissa is relatively young, 27, but approaching 28 and well into her adult, independent years.  She left daddy’s and mommy’s nest many years ago, after receiving her first bachelors degree and after getting married.  

Even by the Affordable Healthcare Act standards, Carissa is is “older”, past 26 years of age, and not dependent on anyone other than herself and her husband.  That’s the way it should be, right.  In fact, it used to be accepted in America that once you turn 18, you would either go to college or you get a job.  If you obtained a job, you were to move out of mommy and daddy’s house and start your own life.  Everyone pretty much agreed to this standard, even as late as the mid-90s, and even into the early 2000s.  But something has changed in the past 8 or 9 years that makes little Suzy or little Johnny “forever bound” to mommy and daddy’s wallet.

Let me explain.

I believe this all started with AHA, aka Obamacare.  The reasaon is likely multi-fold, with the design of AHA being the primary reason.  AHA was designed to accomodate many different classes of people, and mostly peopple who could not afford to pay for a medical insurance policy.  The economy has been in a hole since 2008.  So much so that 94million people had stopped looking for work, almost 33% of the U.S. population, and waves of illegal immigrants were entering the country, which included many young people of limited means and limited education.  A large redistribution of income effort was therefore officially launched, where those of us who could afford it were forcefully made to pay for healthcare policies for these “forever unemployed” and “illegal immigrants”. Given these factors, our leadership concluded that we needed to reduce the total number of “uncovered” individuals because 94milllion permanently unemployed plus illegal immigrants would be far to costly to cover via AHA; taxes would have had to be doubled or tripled.  One solution among many was to raise the dependency age so that adult children could remain on their parent’s income statement as dependents, and their health care plans, until age 26.  Perfect, right?


Those of us who were thankfully fully employed now had to pay for these “older children” AND for illegal alien health care policies.  Our healthcare premiums, deductible, and out of pocket expenses went through the roof, and now we simply cannot afford anything else but healthcare.  Think about this, premiums of $300 to $600 per month, with a family deductible of $12,000, out-of-pocket maximums of $33,000, and so one is not actually benefitting from insurance until one has paid at least $12,000 out of pocket.

So, we were all forced into to this model, we complained loudly, we elected a Republican congress and president, but nobody was listening and nobody IS listening; and of course, wealthy peoplle and powerful politicians were unaffected by AHA, saying to us, “What’s the problem don’t you believe that health care is a basic human right?  Don’t you bellieve that physicians should be forced to take care of anyone who needs it, whether they get paid or not?”  The wealthy didn’t care because they could afford any premium and any deductible, and powerful politicians didn’t care because they had a separate, GOLDEN, healthcare package.

In the end, it was Joe Average, who made between $80,000 and $200,000 who had to foot the bill for everyone.  Unfortunately, it does not stop with AHA and in fact it gets worse in other areas of society, especially in private universities, and especially in those universities who receive substantial federal grants for R&D, and who receive substantial contributions for their endowments.

One such university is Duke University.  This is where Carissa comes back into the picture.

Carissa is a survivor, a fighter, one of triplets who were born prematurely and who spent the first month of their lives in incubators.  Her birth weight was 3lbs 4oz, and her siblings were 2lbs4oz, 2lbs14oz, and 1lb3oz.  She lost one of her quadruplet siblingsa month after birth, and every pediatrician their parents spoke to said, “The remaining triplets will be relatively healthy but they will never catch up to their peers.  They will be behind congnitively and intellectually.”  Well of course Carissa graduated from one of the best music schools in the country, and her siblings finished graduate school and law school.

Carissa is now a 27 year old, brilliant, independent woman who excels at academics and who teaches music at Fort Bragg, NC.  Her students are mainly children of soldiers who are deployed, but her students also include adults.  Carissa is married to a special forces medic, and between them they earn about $38,000, and she has a student loan that is roughly 52% of their gross income.  Carissa’s husband is frequently deployed to the most dangerous locations on earth, with the special forces, and Carissa keeps the forrt going back home.  Carissa is the epitomy of independence, a modern woman, with a great intellect, and great leadership capability.  She is the real deal, the “package” if you will.  She left mommy and daddy’s nest some time ago, and she loves her independent life with her husband.  They plan to have children soon.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the farm. The influence of AHA has infected the university system.  You see, Carissa applied and was accepted at the Duke School of Nursing, a great achievement.  However, the university will not consider Carissa for financial aid unless and until she provides her “parents” income statement for the previous year.

But how can this be?  Carissa is 27, approaching 28, and married.  Even AHA considers Carissa to be too old to remain on her parent’s healthcare as a dependent, yet somehow Duke believes it is still ok to treat a grown woman as a child, as dependent on mommy and daddy.

Even the FAFSA,  the deferal loan and/or grant program for students, believes Carissa is an adult, using an age of 24, or married, as criteria for independence.

But not Duke.  Somehow Duke believes that age 30 is the magic  number.  Even after Carissa appealed twice, the university brass ignored her, they didn’t care that she was married now for several years, long ago out of her parent’s home, now married to a US Army medic, now a completely indpendent working woman.

In fact, according to Duke, even if you were married with children, and your children were in college, but you were still under 30 years of age, you would be required to provide your parent’s income statement for the previous year.  They claimed this was the “only fair way to assess need.”

What?  You say “What?”.

Well, yeah, that’s what Carissa and her husband said.  How could it be that a person is completely independent, far from being supported by mommy and daddy, yet they still require daddy’s income?  Aren’t we raising our children, especially our women, to be independent persons?  Isn’t Duke’s requirement discriminatory then against independent women?

Well, as I said, Carissa is a fighter and does not plan to take this lying down.  After the most recent rejection of her appeal, she has decided to contact her state and federal representatives, and, she has decided to contact the media and expose Duke’s discriminatory practice.  She contacted us to tell us thee story, and at first we thought she was pulling a prank.  But then we called the Duke financial aid office and we validated the practice.

(To be continued)

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