Want to see if your college student is skipping class? There’s an app for that.
For $200 a year, parents, professors and campus administrators can use Class120 to check to see if a student is in class at the scheduled time.
The minds behind the app, which was debuted by start-up Core Principle this month, say the accountability app could help students stay on track with their studies and prepare them for being punctual once they enter the workforce. But some students say it gives parents too much control over the lives of their adult children.
Jeff Whorley, founder and CEO of Core Principle, developed the app after a conversation he had with a college professor that left him thinking that if colleges treated all students the way they treat Division 1 athletes, whose attendance in class is closely monitored, then graduation levels would rise.
“If we could get students everywhere to attend at least 90 percent of their classes, over 80 percent would graduate,” Whorley told NBC Owned Television Stations.
The app tracks if the student is in class, and sends an alert to the student’s parent or teacher if they do not show up to class for two days in a row. Core Principle can also call the student directly if a parent or teacher does not feel comfortable contacting the student. The app must be downloaded by the student, and it can only be used to track if a student is in class, not at parties or other activities.
Still, some have criticized the app for being too controlling over students who should be treated like adults.
"I would probably be more annoyed than anything," Natalie Pike told NBC affiliate WTHR. "I would feel like my life is being pried into."
But Whorley argues that in the post-college world, a recent grad will face immediate consequences if they do not show up or even show up late to work. More students, he says, need to be treated with similar consequences by having a teacher or parent point out that they are late and help get back on track before the entire semester goes down the drain.
“We don’t think this app is anti-adult," Whorley said. "It’s an introduction to the real economy.”
The app has made recent headlines, with coverage in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. In the last four days alone, the start-up has seen a huge increase in traffic from parents in Europe and Asia looking to track their children who are studying abroad in the U.S., he said. So far the app is available for close to 2,000 college campuses across the country that the company has geomapped.
Whorley hopes that in the future this app can work to take class attendance.
“The future of taking attendance is Wi-Fi or GPS where a professor looks down at a piece of smart technology instead of calling roll," he said.