As an adjunct professor at a local university, it’s not unusual for a well-intending (and often financially supporting) parent to inquire about their child’s scholastic performance. Unfortunately, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) restricts me from sharing any information with someone other than the student directly.

In 2011 a parent of one of my students was frustrated to learn that her child had received an Incomplete in my class. She contacted me to learn more about why that grade was assigned and what she could do to have it changed. While I sympathized with her plight and her desire to have her “tuition money actually produce a graduate” (her words), I was legally unable to provide answers to any of her questions.

I strongly suggest parents and guardians of young adults get a Basic Authorization package in place. Not only would a program like this have saved this particular parent a lot of energy and emotion, more importantly it would have protected her son from an even bigger roadblock if the problem had been medical or legal emergency. A FERPA Student Authorization Release Form would have saved this particular parent a lot of energy and emotion.

Karen E.