Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Policy Statement

The Provost’s Office and its various subdivisions maintain student education records as an integral part of providing student services. All student education records and the information contained therein are subject to the provisions of the federal privacy act known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and, subject to exceptions stated in FERPA, are not available for inspection by others without a written release from the student unless the person making the request is a University faculty or staff member with legitimate educational interests. Such personnel might include a faculty advisor, professor, dean or a counselor. Parents may or may not be excluded from seeing their student’s education records or receiving information from the records without a release signed by their student, depending on the applicable provisions of FERPA (see “Special Note from the Provost” below).

Generally, students may inspect their own education records at any time the record keeping office is open. Prior notice is required to inspect your own file as inspections are done under the supervision of the office staff. Students may copy the contents of their own education records, although if the file is extensive there may be a reasonable copying charge. Students may not see their parents’ Financial Aid Form or other financial records. Where records involve two or more students, the student may view only that part of the record that pertains to him/her. Students do not have a right to access records of instructional, supervisory or administrative personnel if those records are kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except substitute personnel. In addition, students do not have the right to access or review the records of Campus Security if the records were created for the purpose of law enforcement. In all cases where access to records is denied, the student and supervisor of the record shall attempt to informally resolve the matter. If the situation is not resolved in this manner, then the Provost, or his/her designee, shall make a final and binding decision regarding access after reviewing the arguments for access and denial of access.

If students find objectionable material in their file, they should call it to the attention of the supervisor of that record and if the supervisor agrees, the material can be deleted or amended. If the supervisor of the record does not agree to the student’s suggested deletion or amendment after the student has had a chance to present all evidence in his/her favor, then the student may add additional or explanatory material to the file, which will be kept as part of the educational record.

All student files and records are subject to lawful subpoenas and court orders.

University files pertaining to students are normally purged after five years, although each department and College follows its own procedures.

Special note from the Provost on University Policy concerning release of student education records to parents and guardians:

Generally, it is Drake University’s policy to request a signed consent from the student before the University will release the student’s education records (including grades) to parents. The University treats students as adults, and encourages parents to become partners with their students. The University believes that this approach reinforces the importance of autonomy and accountability in student development.

There is no law forbidding students from voluntarily sharing all their information with parents after the student receives it from the University, and no consent form is required for such voluntary sharing between student and parent.

Under the following special circumstances, the University may release student education records to parents or others without student consent:

  1. In an emergency, federal law (FERPA) allows the University to contact parents and other appropriate persons and disclose the information necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons;
  2. FERPA allows the University to disclose to parents or legal guardians information about their students’ violation of any federal, state or local law, or any rule or policy of the institution governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance, if (a) the student is under the age of 21; and (b) Drake determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances;
  3. The University may disclose to parents or guardians a student’s education records or information therein to the extent necessary to process the student’s financial aid request and for such related purposes as to:
    1. determine eligibility for the aid;

    2. determine the amount of the aid;

    3. determine the conditions for the aid; and/or

    4. enforce the terms and conditions of the aid; and

  4. Finally, consistent with FERPA, if the student decides not to grant permission, then parents will have access to their student’s records if they can provide evidence that meets the “dependent for tax purposes” requirement. (A dependent is an appropriate relative or member of the taxpayer’s household who receives over half of his or her support for the calendar year from the taxpayer. Scholarships are not taken into consideration. 26 U.S.C. § 152.)

The University’s policy with regard to disclosure of student information to parents is explained to parents and students at summer orientation. Parent access is through a channel in blueView, the campus web portal. 

Questions regarding FERPA, University policy or parental access to student education records can be addressed to the Office of Student Records & Academic Information, 271-2025, or the Office of Academic Excellence and Student Affairs, 271-2835.

Adopted by the Faculty Senate, May 9, 2002
Supplemented by Provost to reflect University Policy concerning release of student education records to parents and guardians, November, 2007