When your child was in elementary and high school, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) granted you rights to access and control your child's educational records. Now that your child is in college, these same laws transfer ownership of the records directly to your son or daughter. While parents understandably have an interest in a student's academic progress, they are not automatically granted access to a student's records without written consent of the student.
For more information about how access to student records is granted, read on.
Questions About FERPA & Access to Student Records
May I access my child's student records?
At the post-secondary level, right of access is limited solely to the student. Under FERPA, parents do not have the inherent right to access or inspect their son's or daughter's financial or educational records—including grades and other academic progress information—unless the student has provided express, written authorization. A copy of the release form can be obtained through the Registrar's Office.
How can I get a copy of my student's grades?
The best advice is to talk to your student, who can access their grades online through eLion. Remain involved and ask questions about your student's classes, schedule and degree requirements. Parents also can receive information about their student’s record if the student has provided written authorization through the release form provided by the Registrar's Office, or the parents submit proof that the student is a dependent. Proof is considered to be a copy of the most recent year’s federal tax form showing that the parent claims the student as a dependent.
Does the release form grant me access to my son or daughter's medical and counseling records?
FERPA regulations protect a student's "education records," which include grades, finances and discipline records. Physical and mental health records are covered by other University policies, federal law and professional ethics. In general, professionals working in these areas will not release student information except in emergency situations.
What about crisis or emergency situations?
If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation—where the health of your child is in serious jeopardy, or if there is a concern that they pose a threat to themselves or to someone else—the University may release that information. In most cases, the University will not contact you or provide medical, academic or disciplinary information without your child's permission.
Where can I find out more about FERPA?
The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for overseeing FERPA. See the Department's website for additional information. General questions may be directed to the Registrar's Office. Even though we may not release specific information about student academics to parents, we can respond to broader questions about campus policy or how to handle a hypothetical situation.