The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended is a federal law that is designed to protect the privacy of and limit access to the educational records of students.
This means that institutions generally must withhold such information from parents and others who believe their relationship with the student entitles them to have the information, sometimes even on occasions when the student prefers the information be released. As a result, we sometimes encounter frustrated parents, guardians or spouses who question why they cannot have information about a student’s grades, financial obligations or standing with the university.
Educational records generally covered by federal privacy laws include grades, housing information, medical treatment (including hospitalization), enrollment and attendance information, financial status and results of disciplinary proceedings.
Please understand that if we have not been given permission by the student to release information to someone, we generally cannot release the information under the provisions of FERPA. We are able to release information if we have proof of the student’s status as a dependent under the Internal Revenue Service Code for the period covered. However, please note that tax returns on file with the university cover the preceding year, thus the proof is out of date and may no longer be applicable. We are also able to release information if we have on file a signed release form.
FERPA forbids requiring students give us such permission. In other words, we cannot, nor do we wish to, coerce or mandate that students sign away their privacy rights. We do want to be able to honor a student’s wishes to release information to people they designate.
Release of Student Personal Information
If you wish to share your educational records, you will need to complete and submit the Student Request to Share Information form. This form will allow the university to share information about you with family members or others with whom you have a special relationship. A summary of the FERPA information has been sent to parents and family members.
When the form is completed and submitted, we will be able to disclose information and respond to inquiries from the designated individuals. The completed and submitted form will be kept on file in the Dean of Students Office. Students may revise the form’s designations at any time. The form is kept on file during the student’s semesters of study at The University of Tulsa.
Please be aware that all higher educational institutions are subject to revisions in federal law and regulations. Congress is considering amendments that may result in changes to reporting and confidentiality requirements that could affect the privacy rights of those students under age 21.
Please discuss this information before a situation arises when our release of information must be determined by the law rather than the wishes of the student.