FERPA Frequently Asked Questions
For a better understanding of the FERPA law please take a look at the FERPA frequently asked questions.
- If a student's parent calls asking how a student is doing in class, can you give out that information?
No. Even though the person inquiring may be the student's parent, FERPA recognizes students in secondary education as adults, regardless of age. Therefore, you cannot give out that grade, or any other non-directory information.
General Rule - You must assume that the student is an adult who is entitled to privacy, even from parents. At the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student's educational records. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student. At MSUM, information from the student's record may be released to parents ONLY with the written consent of the student.
- You receive a call from a recruiting firm asking for names and addresses of students with a GPA of 3.0 or better. They say they have good job information for these students. Can you help these students get jobs by giving out this information?
No. While we all want to help students to get good jobs that request should be sent to the Registrar's Office.
General Rule - Do not give out student information that pertains to grade point average to anyone without prior written consent of that student. In this case the request should be forwarded to the Registrar's Office. ALL outside requests for any information such as Dean's Lists must be referred to the Registrar's Office. Information about the recruiting firm could be provided to students in the appropriate major, and to the Career Services Office.
- An unauthorized person retrieves information from a computer screen that was left unattended. Under FERPA, is the institution responsible?
Yes. Information on a computer screen should be treated the same as printed reports.
General Rule - The medium in which the information is held is unimportant. No information should be left accessible or unattended, including computer displays. Get in the habit of clearing your screen when you leave your work area.
- A person comes up to the Dean of Science, Health & the Environment Office with a letter containing a signature that gives consent to release the transcript of a student. Do you give the transcript to them?
No. Transcripts and record information are available only through the Registrar's Office.
General Rule - Official transcripts are available only through the Registrar's Office. Students must sign a release at the Registrar's Office or give consent via the National Student Clearinghouse for official transcripts. Students and their advisor may print an unofficial copy off the web via eServices. Do not give any records to a third party.