While we understand that parents have an interest in a student's academic progress, they cannot be granted access to a student's records without written consent of the student. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that gave parents the sole rights to a student's records at the K through 12 level, transfers that right to the student once the student enters post-secondary education.
This legal concept of "parent as third party" is a dramatic change; we understand that the transition can be difficult for parents. However, in the eyes of FERPA, the contractual relationship is between the adult student and the educational institution. Everyone else is a "third party."
We encourage parents to consult with the student when/if academic information is needed. And we encourage parents and students to establish how and when this information will be shared before the student starts college. That way there will be fewer misunderstandings. An open dialogue is the best way to obtain the information the parent needs in a timely fashion.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FERPA
I'm paying the bills. Can I have them sent to me?
Bills are sent only via email to the student's email address. The student can easily forward the bill to you. Dates the bills are sent are listed in the parent calendar. (Link) By putting the dates on your calendar, you can remind your student to forward the bill to you.
My student wants to talk things over with me, but I don't know what he/she has taken or what he/she should take.
The student should, of course, talk with the adviser about requirements. However, if you and your student want to talk things over, the student can request an unofficial transcript or a degree audit (link) and it will be emailed to the student. The student can then forward the document to you or anyone else.
Are there release forms that would give me access to grades and financial information?
- The release form for grades and bills can be obtained in Registration, Schofield 128 or on line at: http://www.uwec.edu/registrar/student/parents.htm
- A separate release form is necessary for financial aid information. This can be found at: http://www.uwec.edu/finaid/resources/InfoRelease.htm
- Important notes:
- The student has the right to withdraw this permission at any time.
- You must still request the information in writing.
- Most information cannot be given out over the phone.
- Offices other than the Registration and the Business offices are not notified that the student has signed a release form. If you call an adviser or instructor, for example, they will not be able to talk with you about a student's grades.
As you can tell from this, the easiest way to get information is almost always to talk with your student
I heard that FERPA allows universities to contact a parent if a student violates alcohol or drug policies. Will I be contacted?
FERPA regulations allow, but do not require this. UW-Eau Claire policies do not permit release of this information.
Where can I find out more information about FERPA?