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Access to student information

From the Orientation 2010 Parent Newsletter

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) grants college students the right to determine who will receive academic information about them. Under this federal act, students must authorize the release of records before any third party—including parents—can view them.

The University has made it easy for students to grant access to parents through the One Stop website. The “Parent/Guest Access”link allows students to invite a parent or other third party to be a guest viewer. The third party is asked to accept the invitation before the student can designate what areas of the academic record the student is granting:

  • Enrollment summary
  • Financial aid status
  • Grades
  • Holds on grades or records
  • Student account

The University does not release some aspects of student records (e.g., registration, grades) over the phone or via email. If parents do not have internet access, the student can download records and provide them. Or the student can contact One Stop Student Services for other methods.

If a student refuses to release information about grades or billing, parents may receive protected information by submitting 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.

Parent/guest access covers only those records maintained by the University’s Academic Support Resources. If a student wants his or her adviser to discuss academic information with a parent, the student can contact the adviser to grant approval. Other records, such as mental and physical health records, residence hall records, faculty records, and disciplinary records, are restricted by federal and state laws, University policy, and professional standards. Students can, however, release information from these records to a third party on a case-by-case basis.

In most cases, the University will not contact parents or provide medical, academic, or disciplinary information without the student’s consent. In an emergency where the student’s health is in jeopardy or there is a concern that the student poses a threat to himself or herself or to someone else, the University will contact parents. As a rule, if the student is able to communicate about the situation, he or she is expected to decide whether and how to discuss it with family members.

It may be frustrating for parents to have to work through their student to gain access to records, but treating college students as adults is an important part of their development. It also helps strengthen family relationships as students move into adulthood.