FERPA

(Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

The same laws that give parents and students access to and control over a child’s educational records during elementary and high school transfer ownership of the records to the student at the college level.

According to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as the Buckley Amendment), college students are considered responsible adults and are allowed to determine who will receive information about them. Under this law, parents who want to receive a copy of their child’s academic or financial records can do so if their child signs a release form. FERPA, along with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, forms the backdrop for the Regents Policy on Access to Student Records. For more information about University policy related to access to student records, see the One Stop website.

FAQs About Access to Student Records

Q: How can I get a copy of my son or daughter's grades?

A: The quickest, easiest way for parents to receive information about their child’s grades, financial statement, or other student information is for the student to provide it. Students can look up information online, print it off, and give or email a copy to their parents. Student records are available at the student One Stop website.

Q: If I’m paying for my child’s education, why can’t I get a copy of his records?

A: FERPA requires that access to a college student’s records must be granted by approval of the student. Parents can, however, receive information about their daughter or son's records if the student agrees to provide access. Students can go to the student One Stop website, link to Parent/Guest Access, and follow the instructions to provide access. Parents also can receive information about their student’s record if they 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.

Q: Are there release forms that would give me access to grades and financial information?

A: The Student Information Release Authorization form is available in a PDF file. Students also can obtain a copy of the form at the University’s One Stop Student Service Centers (333  Science Teaching & Student Services on the East Bank, 130 West Bank Skyway, or on the St. Paul campus at 130 Coffey Hall.)

Q: My student provided me with access to her records. Can you email a copy of her transcript?

A: As a matter of policy, the University does not release private information over the phone or by email.

Q: My student provided me with access to her records during Student Orientation. Why didn’t I receive a copy of his grades after fall semester?

A: The University doesn’t automatically send information to third parties designated by the student. Parents will need to request a copy of the desired information by sending a letter or fax with their signature. A request must be submitted each time you want to receive protected information.

Q: How can I get copies of the bills for tuition, room and board, and fees? They seem to be going to my student.

A: The University of Minnesota offers electronic billing and payment of student account bills (tuition, fees, housing, books, etc.) Electronic billing is the official means of generating tuition bills to all University of Minnesota students.

The UM Pay electronic billing and payment system automatically sends an email notification to the student's U of M email address when the bill is ready to be viewed online. Students can set up parents and other authorized payers (also get an email notification) to view and pay bills online. As an authorized payer, parents can view student's tuition bills online; view student's billing and payment history online; pay student's tuition bills online by automatically deducting the amount from a checking or savings account or charge payment to a MasterCard, DISCOVER, or American Express credit card; download and print a copy of the student's bill for sending check payments via U.S. mail.

Exemptions to electronic billing may be allowed by student appeal. Students must fill out the Electronic Billing Exemption Appeal Form (PDF).

Q: The parent access doesn’t include a check-off so that I can have access to my student’s medical and counseling records. Why not?

A: Parent/Guest Access and the Student Information Release Authorization covers only those records maintained by the University of Minnesota’s Academic Support Resources. Moreover, 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. Students can choose to release information from these records to a third party, but they may want to release information on a case-by-case basis. They can talk to the practitioner or the records office in Boynton Health Service related to medical records; to their counselor at University Counseling & Consulting Services; to the Student Conduct and Academic Integrity director for discipline records; or to a hall director or housing staff member in the Housing & Residential Life office.

Q: Will I be contacted if my student is sick or hurt? What if my child is in academic trouble, or facing disciplinary action?

A: In most cases, the University will not contact parents or provide medical, academic, or disciplinary information without the student’s permission. In the case of an extreme emergency, where the student’s health is in serious jeopardy, or if there is a concern that the student poses a threat to herself or to someone else, the University will contact parents. As a general guideline, if the student is able to communicate about the situation, it is up to the student to decide whether and how to discuss the issues.

Q: Isn’t there a FERPA provision that colleges and universities can contact parents if a student violates alcohol or drug policies?

A: FERPA regulations permit, but do not require, higher education institutions to provide notice to parents when a student violates federal, state or local laws related to alcohol or drugs. University of Minnesota policies do not permit the release of this information.

Q: Where can I find out more about FERPA?

A: The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for overseeing FERPA. See their website for additional information.

Access to Student Records

The University is prohibited from releasing certain information to parents without permission of the student. Students can go to One Stop and select Parent/Guest Access in the right-hand column to give parents access to protected information.

Find out more about access to student records >