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FERPA: What Parents of College Students Need to Know

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FERPA: What Parents of College Students Need to Know

January 27, 2016

College NowIn today's post, guest author Fran Campbell, University Registrar, explains what parents of college students, including high school students enrolled in the College Now program, need to understand about FERPA.


As your student becomes older, you probably have started to feel less and less “in control” of everything they do. That is never greater than when they enter into their college years, even when it starts while they are still in high school. 

FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, was created to protect the privacy of students and governs the access and release of all college educational records. 

From elementary through high school, you as a parent had complete access and control to your student’s education. You probably even have had regular access to your student’s grades and daily progress via an online site provided through your school district. 

This all changes once your student begins college, regardless of the age when they start. Once a student reaches 18 OR begins to attend any postsecondary education, the control of all educational records transfers to the student. There will no longer be an online site where you can check progress; grades will be posted to the student’s transcript at the end of each semester.

While this may seem daunting, it will also open up new levels of accountability for your student and greater opportunities for communication for you as you work through these issues together. As the parent of a full-time college student or College Now dual enrolled student, here are some things you can do to work with your student as they become increasingly independent:

  • Familiarize yourself with what is expected of your student in the college course(s) that he or she is taking and hold your student accountable for meeting those expectations.
  • Assist your student in understanding that college courses are more rigorous than high school courses and making the necessary adaptations for successful completion of those courses.
  • Ask your student to grant you access to his or her student account through CedarInfo so you can view transcripts and other key information. (Note: this does not include access to the student’s Moodle account.) 

What should you do if you discern a problem?

  • Talk to your student regarding your concern first; expect information.
  • Encourage your student to complete a privacy waiver form if you think communication with your student’s professor, adviser, and/or another representative of the University is needed. This form can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar and allows students to waive their right to privacy, permitting University personnel to discuss their educational records with their parents. 

If you have questions, University staff are available to provide assistance. For College Now, note these contacts:

In addition, the Office of the Registrar is available to help with questions or concerns that you may have.

Posted in College Now Academics