FERPA and Parental Notification
(Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974)
What is FERPA?
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 resident education records. In accordance with FERPA guidelines, University Housing administrators will not share any resident information, other than directory information, with anyone outside of the University system. This includes, but is not limited to, information about a resident’s grades, behavioral history and action, health concerns, current whereabouts, and financial information. Exceptions to this Act, regardless of age, will be made in life-threatening situations.
What is an Educational Record?
Any record that is directly related to the student, is maintained by the institution or a staff member, and kept in any format. Educational Records include Housing Alpha Lists/Housebooks, Housing Floor Plans, Report Form, Mailbox Key Control Card, Room Key Control Card, Room Condition Report (RCR), ReKey form, and 24-Hour Loan Key Card form.
What Information Can You Tell Us?
The University may disclose ‘directory information’ without a student’s prior consent, unless the student specifically requests in writing that the information be withheld. Directory Information as defined by FERPA includes:
- Home/Permanent Address
- E-mail address
- Telephone Numbers
- Date and place of birth
Housing and Residence Life takes great care in the use of directory information to protect the confidentiality of our residents. Directory information can be released/posted by Housing and Residence Life staff under the following circumstances only:
- First Names of students only to be posted on door decs
- First Names of students only to be used on bulletin boards for the purpose of building community
- Full Name of student when they have achieved an award or other recognition such as Dean’s List.
- Full Name of student participating a Residence Life leadership group such as RHA.
- Staff who wish to create floor lists, social networking or electronic communities, or other forms of communication between residents should collect the information from students themselves and be clear as to how the information will be used. Students should have the option to opt out of the list, electronic community, or communication.
What information can you NOT tell us?
We urge all parents to be interested and engaged with their student’s progress and communicate this with their students. Students are free to share any information with their family members (i.e. grades, financial aid information, judicial information, etc.), however that decision is theirs to make. Marshall University staff cannot discuss these issues with parents without written consent from the student.
Also, if your student is having a conflict with a roommate, we cannot discuss the details of that particular conflict, but can give you information on our roommate conflict resolution procedures. We can also give you information about which of our staff members your student should contact to help resolve the situation.
Will you contact me if my student is involved in an emergency situation?
Yes. If your student is involved in an emergency situation, the appropriate Marshall medical or administrative professional will contact family members. Family members may also be contacted if the university is extremely concerned about the student’s well-being.
What about billing information?
We understand that most parents are providing great financial assistance for their student and we will help you to understand our billing procedures. Because of the nature of our operation, our resident’s bills may contain information on alleged damage charges and judicial sanctions which we cannot discuss in detail. For students who are under the age of 18, information can be shared with parents. Students 18 or older may sign a waiver so that they understand Marshall’s responsibility in communicating information with family members.