The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects the educational records of students enrolled in a postsecondary institution, regardless of age. However, there are two ways for the parents to obtain access to their student’s account activity. Students may provide consent to release the information to their parents or other third parties by completing the following form: http://registrar.fsu.edu/forms/permission_to_release_info.pdf. Alternatively, the parents may provide evidence that students are dependents of the parents as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. A copy of the most recent tax return is required to be submitted to the Office of the Registrar and Student Financial Services each year.
From a legal perspective the student, not the family member(s), is the university’s client and is responsible for his or her own college career, including grades, debt payments, etc. The university therefore is legally obligated to provide each student with the means to create his or her own personalized user name and password and to deny access to confidential information by anyone without a valid user name and password. However, we know that family members want access to see information about the student’s progress and account status, what is owed and charges paid at FSU. We provide a method for family members (or other designated third parties) to receive their own user ID and password to access a student’s account. Each student may choose whether to provide this access. Although the university generally encourages sharing this information with family members for reasons of convenience and expedience, the decision to do so rests with the student and not with the University. For more information on computing policies go to http://its.fsu.edu/About-Us/IT-Policies-Guidelines. To see a step–by–step guide go to http://sc.my.fsu.edu/Students/How-To/Assign-Delegated-Access-to-a-Third-Party
Any record that is maintained by an institution and that can personally identify a student or group of students is an educational record. Since FERPA is technology independent, these records can consist of any number of media, including but not limited to files, documents, tapes, disks, film, microfilm, and microfiche. Items not considered educational records are not protected under FERPA unless the student has a filled out a ” Request to Prevent Release or Publication of Directory Information” form, which places a privacy hold on the student’s account.
Directory Information Includes:
Florida State University maintains student, parent and customer records for the university. We are required to collect Social Security Numbers (SSNs) to meet our federal and state reporting requirements, and so we can identify students and customers properly. We provide SSNs to the federal and state government authorities and to our contracted business partners who are all mandated by contract and federal law to protect your confidentiality. Social Security numbers are confidential and exempt from public records requests under section 119.07 (1), Florida Statutes and section 23(a). Article 1 of the State Constitution.
Students and employees are assigned FSU identification numbers to assist in protecting their personal information. For the purpose of tax reporting, financial aid and collections the Office of Student Financial Services collects SSNs mandated by: Sec. 6109, I.R.C; Rule 6C1–3.042, F.A.C.; Sec. 1010.03, Fla. Stat.
Questions regarding Florida State University’s compliance with FERPA regulations and management of student information should be director the Office of the University Registrar (www.registrar.fsu.edu).