The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects your college student’s privacy and grants him exclusive right to view and share his education records such as grades, transcripts, disciplinary records, contact information, and class schedules. Under the law, colleges and universities may not disclose education records to anyone other than the student.
FERPA’s restrictions often frustrate parents, especially parents who pay for tuition. But, as College Parents of America suggests, “Rather than seeing this legislation as a barrier to good college parenting, parents might see this as an important opportunity for meaningful dialogue with a student.”
Building a healthy relationship with your student is about giving him enough independence to grow, while being there to support him when he makes a mistake. When it comes to grades, talk to your student as an adult. Voice your opinions, but respect his decisions.
There is so much more to being a college parent than just checking in on grades at the end of the semester. And at that point it’s too late to have an impact. For parents whose students are not forthcoming with grades, there are several things to do to build trust and communication:
As far as working within the restrictions of FERPA, support your student in taking personal responsibility for his transcript and financial obligations. Although this legislation restricts parents from involvement in many ways, it also empowers students to grow in independence. Encourage your student to be aware of his rights, which will help him take ownership over his education.
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