Parents Frequently Asked Questions
How can I, as a parent, access my child’s information?
- The student can provide the parent with written consent (Grant Access to Student Records Form). This will require parents to verify a password set by the student.
- The parent can provide proof that they claim the student on their income tax by filling out a Parental Affidavit of Dependency Form.
What is FERPA?
FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is the Federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s educational records and guarantees student’s access to their own records.
Do parents have a right of access to their child’s educational records?
Although parents do not have a right to these records, the university is permitted to share these records with the parents if the son or daughter is a dependent of the parents for federal income tax purposes. If the son or daughter is a dependent the university is permitted to release records to the parent, including directory information and non‐directory information.
What is directory information?
Directory information is a student’s information that may be released without the consent of the student. Directory information includes the following:
- Date and place of birth
- Fields of study, including major and minor
- Enrollment status (actual hours enrolled, undergraduate, graduate, etc.)
- Type of award received (academic, technical, continuing education, etc.)
- Dates of attendance
- Student classification
- Name of the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended
- Telephone, including cell phone, number
- Current and permanent address, excluding e‐mail address
- Weight and height of athletes
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Names of prospective graduates
- Names of parents
- Photographs of students, and
- Any other records that could be treated as directory information under FERPA
Where would I find additional FERPA information?
Parents’ and Students’ Rights Under FERPA
Recently many questions have arisen concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the university’s obligations to share information about students with their parents.
What are parents’ and students’ rights under FERPA?
At the K-12 school level, parents have the right to inspect and review their children’s education records. But when a student enters the university at any age, these FERPA rights transfer to the student. However, FERPA clearly provides ways in which the university may share education records on the student with his or her parents without the student’s written consent.
May the university disclose information to parents of a dependent student?
Yes. Under FERPA, the university may (but is not required to) release any and all information to parents without the consent of the student, if the student is a dependent for tax purposes under the IRS rules. To verify dependent status, university offices should request some written confirmation from the parent, such as an e-mail, faxed, or mailed statement, or copy of the first page of the parent’s most recent tax return showing the student as a dependent, with money figures redacted. If either parent carries the student as a dependent, then both parents have access to the information.
May the university disclose information to parents in a health or safety emergency?
Yes. FERPA permits the university to disclose information from education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
Can parents be informed about students’ violation of alcohol and controlled substance rules?
Yes. FERPA permits the university to let parents of students under the age of 21 know when the student has violated any law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
Can the university disclose law enforcement unit records to parents and the public?
Yes. The university may disclose information from its University Police Department to anyone—including parents or other law enforcement authorities—without the student’s consent. UPD records are exempt from the privacy restrictions of FERPA.
Can university officials share their observations of students with parents?
Yes. Nothing in FERPA prohibits a university official from sharing with parents information that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation and that is not based on information contained in an education record. For example, FERPA would not prevent a faculty member from letting a parent know of his or her concern about their son or daughter that is based on the faculty member’s personal knowledge or observation.
How does HIPAA apply to students’ education records?
HIPAA is a federal law that protects privacy interests in the electronic exchange of health information. However, the HIPAA privacy rules excludes from its coverage those records that are protected by FERPA. For this reason, records that are protected by FERPA are not subject to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and may be shared with parents under the circumstances described above.