Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, commonly known as FERPA or the Buckley Amendment, is a federal law enacted in 1974. FERPA grants parents of children under the age of 18 the right to access their children's education record, to seek amendment of a record, to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records, and the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.

When a child becomes 18, she becomes an "eligible student" and all the rights that FERPA granted to parents are now transferred to the eligible student. That means it is her responsibility to speak with the College about her financial and academic records, address any academic or disciplinary issues she may be having, and deal with roommate conflicts with the assistance of the Campus Life staff. An eligible student may elect to complete a disclosure form College officials to speak with parents or guardians.

This is a time of transition for your daughter. Not only will she learn the important critical thinking skills she needs for her future but will also be developing processes for dealing with adult matters. All of our doors are open to your daughter. Don't be surprised if you receive a phone call from your daughter asking for advice! When she does, encourage her to step through that open door and ask where she needs to go to speak to someone about whatever issue she may be having. Keep the communication open, offer suggestions for solving issues, and enjoy the knowledge that you are helping your daughter become a full-rounded adult.

Frequently Asked Questions

What information is protected by FERPA?
All educational records are protected by FERPA. This means anything that directly relates to a specific student. Examples of educational records are transcripts, test scores, ID number, social security number, financial records, and class schedules.

What information can I receive without permission from my daughter?
FERPA allows directory information to be release upon request. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has identified the following as directory information: student name, class year, College email address, hometown, major field of study, participating in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, high school and year of high school graduation, dates of attendance, and degrees, honors and awards earned. The College may disclose any of those items without prior consent, unless notified in writing by the student.

Will I be notified if my daughter is sick?
If your daughter is in a life-threatening situation, FERPA allows parents or guardians to be notified without permission of the eligible student. If your daughter is taken to an emergency room for a non-life threatening illness, she will need to give permission before we notify you. Each student is asked to complete an emergency contact form annually. Should your contact information change, please remind your daughter to change the contact information with the Office of Student Development.

If my daughter receives care from the College nurse or counselor, will I be notified?
Medical records are considered to be confidential. You will be notified only if the illness is considered life-threatening.