• Bishop Statue with Sky

    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

    Why Doesn't Hamline University Send Me My Student's Grades? 

    Sooner or later the above question will cross your mind. It's a reasonable question, since you pay some or all of your student's tuition and fees.

    The reason goes back to 1974, when the United States Congress passed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as the Buckley Amendment, named after its author James Buckley, a senator from New York. The law is now more commonly known as FERPA.

    FERPA applies both to K-12 and postsecondary educational records, although there is one key difference in the way that the law applies. In K-12 the rights under FERPA belong to the student's parents until the student turns 18. In postsecondary education the rights belong to the student, regardless of age.

    FERPA provides students certain rights related to their educational records, including the right to expect that information in their educational records will be kept confidential, disclosed only with their permission or under provisions of the law. One such provision allows the release of "Directory Information" without student permission. "Directory Information" is the type of information that generally would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released.

    You might wonder what this has to do with sending grades to parents. Well, grades are not considered "Directory Information,” so Hamline University will not release them without the student's permission, even to you.

    So how can you find out what grades your son or daughter has earned? The best solution is to talk with your son or daughter. Please communicate with him or her about grades and progress towards educational objectives--and not just at the end of the semester. Mid-semester, prior to the start of registration for the next term, is a very good time to discuss how his or her courses are going in the current term and what courses he or she plans to take the next semester.

    Another solution would be to gain access to grade information by asking your student if he or she is willing to sign a university consent form. If he or she is in agreement, Hamline University has a consent form for this purpose available for your student to fill out and sign in Student Administrative Services.

    For additional information regarding FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, please visit our policies page. Enjoy the journey as your son or daughter begins an exciting college adventure!

    Timothy Traffie
    Undergraduate and Graduate Registrar