The Essence of FERPA
- Federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records. It also provides guidelines for appropriately using and releasing student education records.
- It is intended that students' rights be broadly defined and applied. Therefore, consider the student as the "owner" of the information in his or her education record, and the institution as the "custodian" of that record.
See more details in the SFASU FERPA Brochure
Important Information for Parents
When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution regardless of age, a federal statue entitled the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), transfers right of access to academic records to the student. This removes automatic access by parents and limits the Registrar's ability to provide confidential information by phone, fax, or email to anyone, even the student. Parents, like any other third party, may obtain directory information at the discretion of the institution. The university designates the following items as directory information:
- all addresses, including university issued email addresses,
- all telephone numbers,
- major field of study,
- academic classification,
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports,
- weight and height of members of athletic teams,
- dates of attendance and enrollment status,
- degrees and awards received,
- previous schools attended,
- photograph and
- class roster.
Students have the right to restrict directory information. When this occurs, the Registrar's Office cannot confirm that a student attended SFA, nor release any information regarding the student.
Parents may request to have access to their dependent child's academic/financial information and other student records. The completed and filed Certification of Dependency Form authorizes officials of Stephen F Austin State University to discuss and/or release such student records, some of which may be considered confidential under the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), to the parent. Under FERPA, parents can prove their student's dependency through their Federal Income Tax Return and obtain access to their student's educational records. Parents must complete the Certification of Dependency form (located in the Registrar's Office) and provide the Registrar's Office with the completed form and a copy of the parents' Federal Income Tax Return (the first page only is needed) that proves that the student is a dependent. Note: this process can be overridden by the student if the student restricts directory information.
Even with the completed and filed Certification of Dependency Form, the Registrar's Office is still limited in our ability to provide confidential information by phone, fax, or email to anyone, even the student.