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Rights and Privacy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (commonly referred to as the "Buckley Amendment") is designed to protect the confidentiality of education records and to give students access to their records to assure the accuracy of their contents. The Act affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

A student's rights begin when the student registers and attends his or her first class. The privacy protection FERPA gives to students is very broad. With limited exceptions, FERPA regulations give privacy protection to all student education records. Examples of student records entitled to protection under FERPA include grade reports, transcripts and most disciplinary files. This protected information cannot be released to any third party, including parents, without signed and dated written consent from the student.

Parents often express interest and concern for their student's academic progress. Our hope is that students will maintain open communication with their parents and/or family members regarding their academic progress and other important issues. We encourage you to discuss these matters with your student. Communicating with young adults is not easy; they're not always as forthcoming as we would like. The college years, however, are a period of remarkable growth and maturation. The ability and willingness of students to share information and insights usually grows, especially as they acquire the confidence that comes with assuming greater responsibility for their own lives.

We encourage students and parents to agree upon methods of communication before classes begin. Coming to an agreement and establishing expectations for communication fosters trust and mutual responsibility. One convenient approach is to ask your student to grant parent/guardian access so that you can view your student's grades, class schedules, account balances, and unofficial transcripts using the University's Testudo Web site. Click here for information about the parent/guardian access.

As a parent or legal guardian, you normally can have access to your student's college records. The best way to do so is with your student's consent; however, if you claim your son or daughter as a dependent for federal tax purposes, the University will give you access to his or her grade records. FERPA does not require colleges and universities to grant such parental access. The University of Maryland does so as a matter of policy. A copy of your most recent federal income tax forms is normally sufficient documentation of your student's dependent status. This information should be provided to the Office of the Registrar. Generally, when a parent seeks access to a student's education records (based on a claim of dependent status) the Registrar will notify the student and urge the student to supply the information directly or grant parent/guardian access.

For additional information about FERPA and the University's policies, consult the Policy and Procedures on the Disclosure of Student Education Records.