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For Parents Newsletter|Division of Student Affairs

Questions on FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

While the University of Wyoming understands your interest as a parent in your student's academic progress, by federal law there are firm limitations on what type of information can be shared. In 1974, Congress passed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment) governing the release of student information. Under FERPA, you, as a parent, have access to your minor child's school records. However once your student is enrolled in a higher education institution, regardless of his or her age, the student is the custodian of his or her educational records.  This federal law prohibits the disclosure of information about a student's academic or conduct status unless the disclosure is in compliance with a lawfully issued subpoena or on an internal educational need-to-know basis. Such records  are treated as confidential information and cannot be released to anyone outside of the university without the student's written consent or unless directed to do so by a court of law. Failure to adhere to these guidelines can result in the loss of federal dollars to the university, including federal financial aid.

Directory information, however, is considered public information and can be disseminated unless the student indicates that this information should be kept private. If privacy is selected, the university will not release any information, including directory information without the student's written consent.

The following are common questions parents ask concerning FERPA:

Will I see my student's grades or be advised of my student's progress on a regular basis?

No. Even if you're paying the tuition, UW representatives cannot disclose or discuss your student's academic status or grades without written authorization from the student. E-mailed authorizations are not acceptable. For questions about the release of academic information and FERPA call (307) 766-5724.

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?

The University of Wyoming cannot 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.

Will I be advised if my student is in violation of a university regulation or policy?

In most cases, no. With the exception of severe repeated drug and alcohol violations by students under age 21, student conduct records, as all education records, are protected under FERPA.

Will you tell me if my student is having problems with drugs or alcohol?

UW officials have the option to notify parents or guardians of UW students under age 21 who are cited for repeat violations of alcohol or drug use regulations. Parents normally will be notified also in situations where such violations endanger the health or welfare of the student or others, regardless if the violation is a first-time offense or a repeat violation. 

The UW policy follows federal legislation that gives universities and colleges the authority to inform parents any time a student under 21 violates drug or alcohol laws or university regulations pertaining to alcohol or drugs. The law neither prohibits nor mandates, but rather permits disclosure to parents or legal guardians of violations of an institution's rules or policies.

At UW, notification of parents will occur only after current due process procedures determine that the student is responsible for such a violation; the student has been consulted or informed; and the notification has been endorsed and coordinated by the Dean of Students. The exception to the above will be those situations that are life-threatening. In some situations, consultation will take place with the directors of the University Counseling Center and Student Health Service before parental notification occurs. For more information about UW's parental notification policy, contact the Dean of Students Office at (307) 766-3296.

Where can I find more information about FERPA?

See the U.S. Department of Education's website at www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa or visit www.uwyo.edu/registrar/ferpa.

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