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Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the privacy of student's educational records. During the elementary and high school years, this meant that the parents had a right to keep their children's educational records private from other individuals or agencies, such as the press.

What is important to consider is that once an individual becomes 18, s/he has the authority of his or her own records?
This means that after 17 years of being a partner and being included in a child's educational progress, you no longer have a right to access their records without his or her written permission. There are lots of details and exceptions that can be exercised or explored. We know this is a big change and we'll help you navigate it to the best of our ability. For more information from the federal government, please click here.

So, how does this apply to Residence Life and Housing?
Most commonly, it applies this way:

  • The contract signed is between Residence Life and Housing and the student. We do not release contract information to parents without written consent of the student.
  • We will not share disciplinary or policy violation information with parents or guardians.
  • We cannot and will not share ANY information about roommates, regardless if your student signs a FERPA release to speak with you about his/her behavioral records or contracts.

But, we DO want to partner with you in any way we can to make sure your student is doing well in school and in an educationally supportive living situation. So, if you are concerned about housing and would like to speak with us about it, we definitely welcome you to do so. But, please be aware that we are limited in what we can say over the phone or in person.

Here's what we promise:

  • We will listen.
  • We can advise you, if you'd like.
  • We can provide general information about our policies and protocols.
  • We can provide your student with a FERPA release form to speak with you about their records.

FERPA can get confusing. We will help you anyway we are able to do so while still observing the ethical and legal considerations of the law.

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