The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records. During elementary, middle and high school, FERPA rights regarding a child’s education records apply to parents and students. For university students, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from parents to the student alone. This means that parents of UW–Madison students do not automatically have the right to access your student’s records on your own.
Fortunately, your student has ways of sharing important information with you. The quickest, easiest way for parents to receive information about their child’s grades, financial statement, or other student information is for the student to provide it. Students can look up information online, print it off, and give or email a copy to their parents. Unofficial transcripts can be accessed by students in their Student Center, their online hub for personal and enrollment data. (Please note that, as part of general security procedures, students are discouraged from sharing their official campus log-in credentials with anyone.)
The transcript is the officially certified record of the student’s academic history at UW–Madison. Only the student can order their transcript.
In most cases, if your student wants to share information like grades and enrolled courses with you, they would not need to order a transcript. Instead, they should simply download and share with you their Student Record or other document described here.
Students who receive Dean’s List honors are notified by their school or college’s academic dean’s office. Announcements are sent to hometown newspapers, and UW–Madison displays a public list of honorees about a month after the end of the term, when the majority of final grades have been submitted. This list and announcements will not include any students who have restricted the release of their “directory information.” Read more about directory information and how students can restrict or release their information.
Permission to access education records
In circumstances when students are unable to share their FERPA-protected education records with parents or others, or for types of information not covered by “self-service” documents described here and elsewhere, students can grant one-time permission for parents or others to receive such information directly from school officials.
Students must first complete and sign a “single-use” permission form for each recipient, and for each request. UW–Madison does not have a blanket policy that allows parents to directly request education records throughout an academic year.
Student safety and emergencies
The Dean of Students Office coordinates reporting and interventions for “students of concern”: any student who is displaying behaviors that may interfere with a student’s ability to be successful at the University or disrupts the learning of others. FERPA allows school officials to share critical information about students of concern with appropriate parties. Please read more information provided by the Dean of Students.