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Office of the Registrar

FERPA: A Parent's Guide

The University of Wyoming is concerned about the privacy of your student's records. When your student was in elementary and high school, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gave you and your student rights to access and control your student's educational records. Now that your student is in college, these same laws transfer ownership of the records directly to your son or daughter.

According to FERPA, college students, regardless of their age, are considered responsible adults and are allowed to determine who will receive information about them. While parents understandably have an interest in a student's academic progress, they are not automatically granted access to a student's records without written consent of the student. Parents are encouraged to consult with the student if academic information is needed.

We have provided the following answers to frequently asked questions to clarify elements of FERPA.

Questions About Access to Student Records

How can I get a copy of my student's grades?

The quickest, easiest way for you to receive information about your student's grades, financial statement, or other student information is for him/her to provide it to you. Students can look information up online, print it off, and give or e-mail a copy to their parents. Student records are available on their WYOWEB account. Your student may also request that a copy of their official transcript be sent to you directly from the Office of the Registrar.

If I'm paying for my student's education, why can't I get a copy of his records?

FERPA requires that access to a college student's records must be granted by approval of the student. You can, however, receive information about your student if you submit proof that he/she is a dependent. Contact the Office of the Registrar for information regarding this process. Students can sign a release form to grant you access to financial information. This form is included in the student's bill.

I want to visit with my student's academic adviser about his/her academic performance. Can this be done via e-mail or over the phone?

As a matter of policy, the University of Wyoming does not release private information over the phone or by e-mail. This includes information from the student's academic adviser. Advisers would require written permission from the student in order to discuss information with parents.

What information is covered under FERPA and what is not?

FERPA regulations protect a student's "education records," which include grades, finances, and discipline records. Physical and mental health records are covered by other University policies, federal law, and professional ethics. In general, professionals working in these areas will not release student information except in emergency situations. Your son or daughter can choose to release information from these records to a third party, but this is done on a case-by-case basis. They can talk to the practitioner or the records office in the Student Health Center related to medical records or the University Counseling Center for counseling records; to the Dean of Students Office for discipline records; or to Residence Life for housing information.

Will I be contacted if my student is sick or hurt? What if my student is in academic trouble, or facing disciplinary action?

In most cases, the University will not contact you or provide medical, academic, or disciplinary information without your student's permission. In the case of an extreme emergency, where the health of your son or daughter is in serious jeopardy, or if there is a concern that he/she poses a threat to him or herself or to someone else, the University will contact you. As a general guideline, if your student is able to communicate about the situation, it is up to him/her to decide whether and how to discuss the issues.

Isn't there a FERPA provision that colleges and universities can contact parents if a student violates alcohol or drug policies?

FERPA regulations allow, but do not require, higher education institutions to provide notice to parents when a student violates federal, state or local laws related to alcohol or drugs. University of Wyoming policy states that we can release this information to parents of students under the age of 21.

Policy on the release of personally identifiable information in a deceased student's education record

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)’s protection of personally identifiable information in a student's education record ends at the time of a student's death. The University of Wyoming’s policy on the release of a deceased student’s records is as follows:

Within the first year following the death of a student, the University will release the educational records of the decedent to the following individuals:

  • If the student submitted a signed Authorization to Release Educational Records form which designated the person(s) eligible to request and/or receive educational records, the information will be released to the individual on that form.
  • The decedent’s next of Kin. The request must be accompanied by official documentation.
  • The individual designated as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. The request must be accompanied by official documentation.
  • Members of the family or other persons with the written approval from the decedent’s next of kin or the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Absent written approval from the family or representative of the estate, only directory information will be disclosed.
  • In response to a subpoena or court order.
  • To any other individual, if determined by the University to be in the best interest of the decedent or the University.

After one year has elapsed following the death of an individual student, the University may release the educational records of the decedent at the University’s discretion.

Where can I find out more about FERPA?

The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for overseeing FERPA. See the Department's Web site for additional information:

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Office of the Registrar

Department 3964

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-5272

Fax: (307) 766-3960


Lane Buchanan, Registrar

Danielle Mahlum, Associate Registrar

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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