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Parents and Families

FERPA (Privacy Act)

Important information about student privacy and communicating with parents.

Parents should be aware that federal law (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, also known as FERPA or the Buckley Amendment) limits the information concerning students that the University can make available to third parties, including parents. This law applies to all college students, regardless of age. Hence, all communication and information regarding academics, discipline, etc. takes place between the University and the student. We recommend that parents who wish to be informed about their student’s progress and situation in school have a clear understanding with their sons and daughters about mutual expectations to foster an open exchange of information. The college years are a time of growth as well as a time of new freedom and responsibility. The University believes it is important to treat students as adults. In this regard and in accordance with FERPA, University personnel cannot reveal specific information about a student, except as follows.

At its discretion, the University may communicate directly with a student’s parent(s), with that student’s consent, for a specific purpose. In this case, the student must give the University a signed and dated written consent to disclose information contained in his or her education record. This consent must (1) specify the records that may be disclosed, (2) state the purpose of the disclosure and (3) identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made. Consent for release of grades, schedules or similar academic information must be requested through the Office of University Registrar, and the named individual must be present to receive any information.  Requests for release of other information must be made to the relevant department.  Please note that the University does not employ or accept blanket waivers signed by students for release of information. 

Additionally, absent the consent of the student, a parent may request information from his or her student’s education record if the student is a dependent (as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986). Upon written request from a parent, together with documentation that the student is a dependent as indicated above, the University will respond to such requests at its discretion on an individual basis.

FERPA now permits universities to disclose information to parents concerning a student who is under 21 if it is determined that the student violated the University policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances. The University will consider doing so, at its discretion, on a case-by-case basis.

With regard to medical or counseling information, which is not covered under FERPA, the University will abide by legal and ethical standards pertaining to confidential information obtained during counseling and health service sessions. In general, information will not be disclosed without the student’s consent, except in certain emergency situations.

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