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FERPA and Your Student's Grades

What is FERPA? The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law designed to protect the confidentiality of education records. It also gives students access to their records to makes sure those records are accurate. FERPA affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

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While FERPA also includes students K-12, FERPA rights and protections are a little different for your student now that they are in college. When your student was in high school, FERPA gave you control over access to their educational records. In college, FERPA gives control to the student.

A student’s rights begin when the student registers. The privacy protection FERPA gives to students is very broad. With limited exceptions, FERPA regulations give privacy protection to all student education records. Examples of student records entitled to protection under FERPA include

  • grade reports,
  • transcripts,
  • employment records,
  • health records and
  • most disciplinary files.

Some information that we are allowed to share (unless the student files a written notice with the University) is directory information such as

  • Major field of study,
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports,
  • Dates of attendance,
  • Degrees and awards received,
  • Most recent previous educational agency or institution attended and
  • Classification (i.e., freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate).

Information Considered Directory Information

Because of this law, Frostburg State University generally will not release any student records to any third party, including parents and guardians, without signed and dated written consent (which may be electronic) from the student. Parents/guardians often express concern about their student’s academic progress, but FERPA doesn’t allow a parent/guardian to view a child’s information, including grades, unless the child gives decisive permission each year. We know you may be helping your student pay their bill, but that does not grant you access to their protected information without their written consent under FERPA law.

We urge you to establish open communication with your student. Students who wish to release grades to their parents or guardians MUST complete a Release of Information form in PAWS each year requesting that access to their grades. A good communication system established between you and student works well for most students.