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Your Student’s Grades and FERPA

report card

Erica Osborne, the Interim Director of ARC Academic Services, has a special message about student grades and parent-student communication for families of incoming freshmen:

College brings some big changes for your son or daughter. That’s understatement, to say the least.

But did you know that one of the biggest changes for families of college students is who has the right to access a student’s academic information? The federal government considers all college students adults (which they are, even if you are still doing their laundry) and allows academic information (like their grades) to only to be provided from the institution directly to the student.

Yet, I hear my own father’s voice in my ear from when I was a college freshman: “I don’t care what the government says; I pay the bill.  I get to see your grades.” But despite the well-meaning intentions of my father, that’s just not how it works. A student’s academic information is private, and they choose with whom to share it with or not share it with.

At Bellarmine, we want to help your student become the responsible adult that Uncle Sam says that they legally are. But we also recognize that one of the keys to success for freshmen year is open communication with parents. That’s why students are given the opportunity to sign a FERPA waiver form, allowing us to share academic information – specifically midterm grades during freshmen year– with those at home.

We urge you to have a conversation with your student about their FERPA rights, and your expectations (and theirs) about sharing their academic information. It is their decision to make. Simply put, no signed waiver form =  no information.

If we have not yet received a signed FERPA waiver from your son or daughter, we are sending another copy of the waiver to them in the mail. They are set to be mailed out today, July 22, 2013. If your student wishes to sign the waiver, they simply sign the form, and return to us in the ARC using the return to sender envelope we have provided.

For more information on FERPA, go here: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

Erica Osborne
Academic Resource Center
Bellarmine University

P.S. Another blog on the topic of grades and parent-student communication that might be helpful to check out is here.




About Cassie

I'm the Director of the Writing Center and Director of Parent Communications at Bellarmine University.

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