As students transition from high school to college, it is important for students and families to understand their rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
The primary goal of FERPA is to ensure that students have access to and control over their educational records. Once a student enrolls at Butler, control over educational records lies with the student, regardless of age.
FERPA guarantees students the right to:
- Access and review their educational records
- Request amendments to inaccurate or misleading educational records
- Consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained within educational records
For more information regarding students’ rights under FERPA, consult the Butler University Student Handbook.
Educational records consist of a variety of information maintained about students by University officials. By definition, educational records are protected from unauthorized release under FERPA. Educational records include, but are not limited to:
- Application, admission, matriculation and enrollment information
- Test scores, placement scores and audition results
- Grades and academic progress information (transcripts, grade reports, attendance records, early term grades, etc.)
- Recommendation statements and performance evaluations
- Financial information (billing statements, payment histories, etc.)
- Financial aid information (loan and scholarship forms, award notifications, etc.)
- Student conduct records
- Counseling service records
FERPA dictates that a student’s educational records cannot be released to a third party – including a parent – unless the student provides consent or unless the third party falls in one of the following exemption categories:
- University officials with a legitimate educational interest in the information (i.e., faculty, staff and administrators who require educational records to provide instructional support, administrative support and/or service to the student or the student’s family members)
- Law enforcement personnel
- A person or entity with whom the University has contracted (e.g., attorney, auditor, collection agent)
Information relating to a student’s educational record is made available to third-parties only after the student has submitted a signed and dated release specifying the person or persons to whom information is to be disclosed. The University maintains a record of the release of educational record information to non-exempted third parties. Any student wishing to authorize the release of educational records to a third party may do so by logging into My.Butler and completing the FERPA Academic and Directory Release on the task tile (available for a few weeks at the start of the academic year), or on the FERPA Release tile on the Student Homepage when it’s no longer available on the task tile.
Directory information is public information that may be shared with a third party without an express release from the student.
For more information about what constitutes directory information, consult the Butler University Student Handbook.
Unless expressly requested by the student, directory information may be released to any third party for reasons deemed legitimate by University officials. Typically, directory information is released to a third party when it serves the best interest of the student (publication in honors lists, student directories, news releases, etc.) or in accordance with a request from an external authority with legitimate need for the information.
Any student wishing to prevent the release of directory information may do so by logging into My.Butler and completing the FERPA Academic and Directory Release on the task tile (available for a few weeks at the start of the academic year), or on the FERPA Release tile on the Student Homepage when it’s no longer available on the task tile.
Butler’s adherence to FERPA guidelines signals our belief that students are prepared for the challenges of adult life and for the responsibilities of seeking available resources. While we understand that the restriction of student records can be unsettling to a parent who previously had unrestricted access, Butler faculty and staff are committed to serving as your partner in this transition:
- Your student’s academic advisor is your primary point of contact for general academically-related questions. Instructors who are contacted by parents will refer the inquiry to the student’s academic advisor or to other University personnel listed below.
- Your student’s associate dean or a Center for Academic Success and Exploration advisor may be able to assist by speaking in generalities about academic policies or hypothetical situations.
- Registration & Records staff may be able to assist with general inquires about course registration, academic policies and academic deadlines.
- If your student has submitted a signed release form, the University personnel listed above will be able to speak with greater specificity. Adhering to FERPA guidelines, we prefer that these conversations take place in person with the student present. However, other arrangements can be made for authenticating a third party via telephone.