FERPA

Release of Education Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) states that no personally identifiable information from a student's education record will be disclosed to any third party without written consent from the student. Several exceptions exist, including these selected examples: (1) Information defined by SMU as directory information may be released unless the student sends a written request to the registrar that it be withheld; (2) Information authorized by a student through Access.SMU Self-Service; and (3) information may be released to a parent or guardian if the student is declared financially dependent upon the parent or guardian as set forth in the Internal Revenue Code.

 

For Students

SMU understands that many undergraduate students want to allow their parents access to all or some of their education records. Students now have the ability to provide their consent for access to their records by using the Release of Education Records feature in the self-service component of Access.SMU, SMU's student information system. Once release authorization is granted some records are available on-line through the parents own confidential access to Access.SMU. Other records are available by contacting the office holding the records.

Students wishing to grant access to specified third parties like current or potential employers, other educational institutions, credit card companies, scholarship committees, insurance companies (health, auto, life, etc.) and other similar third-parties, will need to submit the  "Student's Consent for SMU to Release Information to Student's Specified Third Party"  form to the University Registrar's office. A valid picture ID is required for identification. A separate release form must be filled for each individual request.

Students requesting letters of recommendation or professional references, must provide faculty with written authorization ( see Sample Permission Letter), if personally identifiable information obtained from the students' education records is included in the letters of recommendation (grades, GPA, etc.).

Instruction for using the Release of Education Records feature of Access.SMU

For Parents

SMU understands that many undergraduate students want to allow their parents access to all or some of their education records. Students now have the ability to provide their consent for access to their records by using the Release of Education Records feature in the self-service component of Access.SMU, SMU's student information system.

Parents are encouraged to discuss this feature with their student to establish the authorization for them to view and receive information from the student's education records. Once release authorization is granted some records are available on-line through the parents own confidential access to Access.SMU. Other records are available by contacting the office holding the records.

Instruction for using the Release of Education Records feature of Access.SMU

FERPA also permits, but does not require, SMU to disclose to parents of a student information contained in the education records of the student if the student is a dependent as defined in the Internal Revenue Code.  The parent must complete a Declaration of Student Dependency form along with a written request for the records. Since a separate release form must be filled for each individual request, we highly recommend that parents gain access through Access.SMU to allow parents repeated access to all or parts of a student's education record.

For Faculty & Staff

Use Access.SMU to verify the student's authorization to release education records information to any third-party.

Instruction for using the Release of Education Records feature of Access.SMU