FERPA: Information for Parents
Once a student is enrolled in any courses offered by KSU, at any location or through any method of delivery (i.e., campus/on-site, hybrid, partially online and fully online) are covered by FERPA. KSU considers an admitted student to be in attendance upon enrollment/registration for classes. Thus, once a student meets these criteria, even if the student is under the age of 18, parents no longer have the right to access their student’s education records.
Education records are defined as records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by KSU, or by a person acting for the University. Education records may be paper or electronic, and include:
- Class lists
- Student course schedules
- Disciplinary records
- Student financial records
- Payroll records (for student workers)
KSU realizes parents play an important role in the lives of their students, and the majority of our students still financially rely on parents; however, it is also KSU’s responsibility to assist students along their paths to success as adults. Helping to guide them towards their independence is essential in establishing life skills, both academically and otherwise.
Our best advice is to maintain open communication with your student. This is the quickest and easiest way to stay informed about their academics and other KSU-related happenings.
Granting Consent vs No Consent Meaning
For students authorizing consent to their parent(s) and/or other individuals by signing a Student Consent to Disclosure form through the Office of the Registrar, those named individuals will have the ability to access and discuss the student’s education records.
Please understand, the rights of parents/third parties is limited only to access designated education records but does not act as a Power of Attorney or proxy for any parent or third party (including attorneys) to act on behalf of the student.
For students who do not give authorization to others, only directory information may be obtained. Directory information includes information such as name, field of study (major), advisor, dates of attendance, degrees awarded (including dates), awards and honors received, weight and height of athletic participants, participation in officially recognized activities or sports.
Keep in mind, even without consent from your student, parents may always reach out to discuss general policy questions or concerns.
Certain information through some offices can be authorized and accessed electronically with specific permissions and verified access. An example of this is Campus ESP offered through Parent and Family Programs.
If your student chooses to submit the Student Consent to Disclosure form to the Office of the Registrar, you may be able to discuss one, or both, of the following:
- Academic Records- grades/GPA, demographic, registration, student ID number, academic progress/status, immunizations, and/or enrollment information
- Billing/Financial Records- billing statements and repayment history (including credit reporting history, and balances), University-maintained loan disbursements, charges, credits, payments, past due amounts, financial holds, collection activity, and meal plans.
For all other records, please contact the appropriate record custodian. [Record Custodian Table]
- Scenario #1: Emily is a student who lives in campus housing and her father is a professor at the school she attends. Emily does not share with her parents much about her classes, so her father decides to contact the Office of the Registrar and her Academic Advisor to see how she’s performing academically.
Even though Emily’s father is an instructor at the same institution, the FERPA regulations still apply. To be able to discuss Emily’s education records, he would need to have a legitimate educational interest, meaning it would be essential to performing his responsibilities as an instructor for the school’s educational mission. Otherwise, Emily would need to fill out the Student Consent to Disclosure form, authoring the institution to share her education records with her father. As always, we encourage students and parents to keep an open line of communication, as this is the most direct way for parents to obtain information.
- Scenario #2: Todd has a filled out Student Consent to Disclosure form giving permission for his mother to have access to his education records. His mother suspects that Todd may not be taking as many classes this semester as he is letting on. She calls the Office of the Registrar to inform them consent is on file, and asks to discuss Todd’s schedule.
Even with a filled out Student Consent to Disclosure form granting her access to Todd’s records, policy specifically states that information can only be shared in person with a valid photo ID for authentication purposes. While KSU understands not all parents live near the university, this policy exists in order to protect the rights and privacy of the student.
- Scenario #3: Sara’s professor suspects she may have plagiarized a paper she recently turned in, and submits her information to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. After an investigation, it is determined that her professor’s suspicions are correct. She is now facing disciplinary action but does not want her parents to find out. When her parents eventually learn of the plagiarism, they are upset that they were never notified.
Without consent from the student, KSU is not allowed to notify parents of medical, academic or disciplinary circumstances. In the case of an emergency, where the health of the student is a serious concern, or he/she poses a threat to himself/ herself or someone else at the University, parent(s) may be contacted.
- Scenario #4: Jacob’s parents are divorced and he primarily lives with his mother, but his father claims him as a dependent on his taxes. His father wants knowledge of what is going on while Jacob is in school; however, Jacob’s Student Consent to Disclosure form only lists his mother.
In the case of divorce, separation, or custody dispute, it is within FERPA regulations for KSU to allow nonconsensual access to his father, even without consent, as long as the father is able to:
- show a valid government issued ID
- provide documentation that Jacob is claimed as his dependent
- prove there are no legally binding documents, such as a court ordered restraining order, etc.
Even in this scenario, KSU is not obligated to release information. FERPA governs what may be released, but does not require that any information be released.
Please note that KSU reserves the right to ask for additional legal documentation denoting parenthood, such as a birth certificate or court order.
- The Student Consent to Disclosure form is available to your student. Should they desire to complete the form, they can visit the Office of the Registrar. Please keep in mind it is their decision whether or not they would like parents to have access to their education records.
- Always keep an open line of communication between you and your student. The simplest and least time-consuming method is speaking to your student directly.
- Never hesitate to reach out to the Office of the Registrar with any questions or concerns. Even without a signed Student Consent to Disclosure form on file, Office of the Registrar staff can always answer general questions.
For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar