FERPA FAQs

While we understand that parents are concerned about their student’s tuition and costs, St. Mary’s University cannot allow a parent to gain access to the student’s records without written consent from the student. Federal law stipulates a student’s authorization is required in order to release information to a third-party. Therefore, parents are encouraged to consult with their student if they have questions about their student’s academic progress. Information may be released to parents or a legal guardian if the student is listed as a dependent for tax purposes.

Students wishing to give authorization to a third party must complete and submit the FERPA Authorization Release form (which can be found in Gateway) to the Business Office.

A Guide to Your Privacy Rights: Important Information About FERPA

What is FERPA?

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education record.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education record to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy or other rights.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent to the following parties:
    • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
    • Other schools to which the student is seeking or intending to transferring;
    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
    • Organizations conducting studies in behalf of the school;
    • Accrediting organizations;
    • To comply with judicial order of lawfully issued court order or subpoena;
    • Appropriate officials in case of health and safety emergencies and state and local authorities;
    • The information disclosed as Directory Information by the school.
  4. The right to file with the Department of Education a complaint regarding failure by St. Mary’s University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

    U.S. Department of Education
    Family Policy Compliance Office
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202- 8520
    1-800-872-5327
    http://www.ed.gov/offices/OM/fpco/ferpa/

  5. The right to obtain a copy of St. Mary’s University student records policy. You can obtain a copy of this policy from the Office of the Registrar. A list of information considered “Directory Information” is available in the University Catalog or from the Office of the Registrar.

What is Directory Information?

The following Directory Information is information that is regularly made public (e.g. Student Directory, athletic printed programs; requests made by potential employers; etc) unless you inform the Office of the Registrar that you do not wish any information released. St. Mary’s University designates only the following information as “Directory Information”:

  • Student’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address
  • Student’s major field of study
  • Student’s participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Dates of attendance; degrees and awards received
  • The most recent previous educational agency or institution attended

How Can I Restrict the Release of Directory Information?

Each student has the right to restrict the release of even this information. A currently enrolled student may request that all Directory Information not be made public by completing an appropriate privacy request form no earlier than the first day of class and no later than the twelfth day of class in a semester (or fourth class day in summer session). You must re-submit a new Directory Information Restriction Form if you have been away from St. Mary’s for at least one fall or spring semester. Upon graduation, this restriction is removed. This request will remain in effect for the duration of the semester or the summer session.

Students must submit written authorization to the Registrar’s Office to rescind this restriction. Students should give careful consideration to their decision to restrict the release of their directory information.

Remember, the following applies to any student requesting directory information restriction:

  • Your name will not appear in the campus directory.
  • Friends and family may not contact you through the university.
  • Prospective employers will be unable to obtain information about you through the university.
  • You must conduct University business in person with a valid student identification card.

Parental Access to Student Records

While we understand that parents are concerned about their students’ academic progress, the Registrar’s Office cannot allow a parent to gain access to their student’s records without written consent from the student. Parents are encouraged to consult with their students if they have questions about their students’ academic progress.

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