Frequently asked questions about FERPA
1. What is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act?
Point Park University adheres to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA, which established privacy standards for student educational records and requires an institution to publish a compliance statement, including a statement of related institutional policies.
2. What are the student’s basic rights under FERPA?
The student can:
- Inspect and review his or her records
- Amend an incorrect record
- Consent to disclosure (with exceptions)
- File a complaint with the Department of Education
- Obtain a copy of the school’s policy
3. What records are covered by FERPA?
Privacy protection under FERPA is broad. FERPA regulations give privacy to the student’s education records. These records are defined as “directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution acting for the agency or institution.” Grade reports, transcripts and most disciplinary files are covered by FERPA.
4. How can parents review a son or daughter’s grades each semester?
Parents should ask the student directly in order to review grades. The student can view grades on PointWeb and has a secure login and password.
5. Is there a release form the student can sign for parental access to records?
A release form for student education records is available in the Office of the University Registrar. The form can be completed by the student, specifying which records can be released to parents. There is a separate release form for student financial records, which is available in the Office of Student Financial Services.
6. Are parents notified if the student is placed on academic or disciplinary probation?
No. Information about grades and academic standing is sent directly to the student. Parents can ask the student for this information.
7. Why do parents have limited access to a son or daughter’s university records?
Under FERPA, rights to records are given to the student. This is different than elementary and secondary school settings. Parents can be given access to records if the student completes the Consent to Release form.
8. Who has access to the student education record?
A school must have a signed release from the student in order to release any information from the student’s education record. FERPA allows a school to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions:
- School officials with legitimate educational interest
- Appropriate officials in regard to financial aid
- Appropriate officials for audit and evaluation purposes
- Other schools to which a student is transferring
- Accrediting organizations
- Organizations conducting studies on behalf of the university
- Appropriate officials in health and safety emergencies
- State and local authorities pursuant to specific law
Note: The offices of Alumni Relations and Development have access to student records to contact students and parents about special events and charitable gifts to support Point Park.
9. Will parents be notified in case of a medical or safety emergency?
Point Park attempts to notify the parents of the student in accordance with our emergency notification policy and procedures. Law enforcement agencies and hospitals also follow protocols in notification.
10. What is not covered by FERPA?
The only student information considered public is what is referred to as “directory information.” This information may be disclosed by Point Park for any purpose, without the student’s written consent. However, the student may choose to restrict disclosure of directory information by completing a nondisclosure statement in the Office of the University Registrar.
11. What is considered directory information at Point Park?
Directory information is the student name; addresses (including electronic); telephone numbers; date and place of birth; fields of study and programs; participation in officially recognized activities; photographs; enrollment status and dates of attendance; height and weight; degrees, awards and honors received, including dean’s list; previous schools attended; post-completion placements, including employment and graduate school attendance.
12. What office at Point Park can address questions about FERPA?
Office of the University Registrar
13. What office does the student file a FERPA complaint with?
Family Policy Compliance Office; U.S. Department of Education; 400 Maryland Ave., SW; Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
- See a PDF version of the above Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act FAQ