In these days when it seems nothing is private, college students still have a right of privacy in some matters.
You should be aware of two federal laws which protect your privacy:
- FERPA laws prevent colleges and universities from releasing information about academic or disciplinary matters to anyone, including parents, without the consent of the student.
- HIPAA prevents health care providers from releasing information to anyone, including parents, about a student’s health record.
Colleges and universities are allowed to give out public information that is available online. Some schools will provide information, especially if drugs or alcohol are involved. But each school has its own published set of rules and you and your parents should be aware of the guidelines before you enroll on campus.
Many parents are annoyed that even though they are paying the bill, they don’t have access to their child’s academic or health records.
It was at the graduation ceremony for my second daughter, when she received a number of academic awards, that my husband and I were first made aware of how smart she was and how successful her college career had been. I was proud of her, of course, but I admit that I felt annoyed that up to that point, we had not received any formal notification from the school about her grades or progress.
These laws have as many supporters as they do detractors. I guess I fall into the latter category. But the laws are the laws. I urge you and your parents to know what they are so you won’t be either surprised or disappointed.