This FAQ was created to aid students and parents in understanding their rights regarding student records. The information contained in this FAQ was taken from the U.S. Department of Education's Web site and Northern Michigan University's student handbook.
What information is a parent or legal guardian entitled to regarding their student at NMU?
Directory information is considered to be a matter of public record and will be disclosed unless the student specifically objects in writing. All other student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Directory information includes the following: name of student; student's local address; student’s local phone; student’s permanent address; student's e-mail address; date of birth; whether or not the student is currently enrolled; program level (undergraduate, graduate); cass (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior); major; current term candidacy for degrees and/or teaching certification; honors, degrees earned, and dates; Participation in officially recognized university activities and sports; and weights and heights of athletic team members.
What is FERPA?
The U.S. Department of Education describes FERPA as, “The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.” From: www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa.
Can a parent or legal guardian view their student’s schedule, grades or other education records?
In accordance with FERPA, NMU cannot provide access to a student’s education records to anyone but the student. Some conditions exist that allow individuals and organizations other than the student access to student records. These conditions are discussed later in this FAQ.
If a student is under the age of 18, does a parent or legal guardian have rights to view their education records?
According to the FERPA, when a student attends a school beyond the high school level the rights to a student’s education records are transferred to the student.
Are student records ever released to organizations and authorities without consent of the student?
In certain circumstances a student’s records may be made available to authorities and organizations without consent of the student. For a complete listing of eligible parties and conditions, please see the FERPA Web site.
If a parent or legal guardian claims a student as a dependent for income tax purposes, are they allowed to access student records?
At the discretion of the university and in accordance with FERPA, if a parent can demonstrate by a current IRS tax form that a student is a dependent for income tax purposes the university can disclose education records without student consent. Please note that disclosure of student records without consent is done at the discretion of the university and will only be granted for special situations.
If a student wants their parent or legal guardian to be able to access their student records, is there any way this can be arranged?
If a student has a disciplinary problem at school, will their parent or legal guardian be notified?
According to the student handbook, a parent or legal guardian of a student who is under 21 years of age will be notified when a student has had either:
- A serious alcohol or drug violation of the Student Code, e.g. required medical treatment or had another violation such as destruction of property or disorderly conduct in combination with the alcohol or drug offense, or
- More than one violation of the alcohol or drug regulations of the Student Code. Parental notification for a serious alcohol or drug violation will be at the discretion of the Dean of Students.