Missouri State University

Family Association Minibanner

April E-Newsletter

This Month:

Parents and FERPA

Student Spotlight

Student Services Spotlight

Tips for Parents and Families

Q and A with the Family Association

Important Dates and Deadlines

FERPA and Parents

by Clifford A. Ramirez,
Author, Managing the Privacy of Student Records

Graduation from high school is an important milestone in life for children and families. The young graduate is suddenly faced with several options, among which are continuing with school or entering the workplace. Regardless of the choice, the individual is no longer a child in the eyes of society and the law. The young person has become a fully responsible adult, with all of the rights due any citizen of these United States.

In the postsecondary environment, the transition is sometimes something of a shock for those of us who are parents. We have become accustomed to dealing closely with schools in all matters regarding our children. But now, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a set of federal regulations, applies to our children and to most of the colleges and universities they attend.

FERPA was established in 1974 as part of a larger body of legislation dealing with the privacy of our citizens. Introduced by Senator James Buckley of New York, FERPA sought to make certain guarantees to students about the privacy of their education records. In the context of those regulations, the guarantees are made specifically to postsecondary students, whom FERPA acknowledges as fully responsible adults. After all, these young people, most of whom are already 18 years of age, are considered responsible adults in other arenas (such as the workplace) and where other laws and regulations are concerned.

FERPA makes four guarantees to postsecondary students. They are:

the right to inspect and review education records
the right to seek to amend education records
the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from those education records
the right to file a complaint against any institution for the alleged violation of these FERPA rights

Please note that these guarantees are made direct to the student, not to the parents nor to any guardians of the students. For the most part, the student is the only individual who can authorize access to her student records. As parents, we no longer have a right to access the student records of our adult children without their signed, written consent to do so.

Colleges and universities comply with these regulations by dealing exclusively with the student. Bills for tuition are an exception. Since student bills are financial records, involving yet another set of regulations, institutions are allowed to communicate with parents about financial records if the student authorizes the school to do so. Such authorization, however, applies only to financial records and may never include academic or other student records.

The realization, then, that parents need to make is that their children are no longer children. They must act for themselves and take responsibility for themselves. Our influence is suddenly limited to the quality of our relationships with our children, because we cannot force schools or the law to do anything about our children. All the more reason for strengthening our relationships with our children.

Under the regulations, it is the student who can inspect and review his records or seek to make changes to those records. Within certain parameters, students can instruct institutions to withhold information about them. That means that information may be withheld from any and all inquiries if the student so wishes. And it is the student who must file the complaint for alleged violations of these FERPA rights.

Institutions are required to advise students of their rights under FERPA. Such notification defines how the institution complies with FERPA and with other local regulations regarding the privacy of student records. Students and parents can locate this notification in the privacy policies of colleges and universities. Typically, these policies are included in college catalogs and on institutional websites.

FERPA is administered by the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO), part of the US Department of Education in Washington, DC. It is the FPCO which interprets and resolves complaints regarding FERPA and the FERPA rights of students. The Department of Education provides more information for students, institutions, and even parents on its website - www.ed.gov.

Article from College Parents of America (www.collegeparents.org)

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Student Spotlight

Hello there!
My name is Mana Boushehri and I am less than 8 weeks (yes I have counted) away from graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. I will be attending the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis beginning August of 2009 and will officially be Dr. Mana by 2013! I am originally from Branson and have had the amazing opportunity apart of the Missouri State community and the many of the fantastic student organizations available.

My interest in Missouri State was sparked long before my high school years. My older sister attended what was then known as SMSU, and opened my eyes to all the opportunities that Missouri State offers. Springfield is only 40 miles away from Branson, making it an ideal place for me to be an individual away from the watchful eyes of my parents, and at the same time close enough to make quick weekend trips home. My parents were very open to exploring other universities during my senior year of high school, but from the beginning, we all knew Missouri State would be the place for me; the scholarship and friendly Honors College staff didn't hurt either!

Throughout my college experience my parents have been the indispensible rock that I rely on. Whether it has been the quick phone calls to see how I am doing during a tough midterm or finals week from my dad, or the countless meals my mom has cooked and hand delivered, I know that this experience would not have been as enjoyable without their support.

The transition from high school to college life is just as daunting and unsettling for a student as it is for parents. The important thing to remember is that as students, we have been equipped with the tools we need by our parents to navigate the so called real world. We may not always directly ask for help and advice, but the unconditional love and support is always appreciated.

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Student Services Spotlight - Office of the Registrar

Mission Statement

The mission of the Office of the Registrar is to provide quality support services to students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and other constituents of the University. As part of this mission, our primary goal is to ensure the accuracy, integrity, and security of academic records. The Office of the Registrar supports the University's mission to develop educated individuals by interpreting, communicating, and enforcing academic policies and procedures for the benefit of the entire University community. Exemplifying the public affairs mission of the University, we strive for excellence in everything we do and are committed to making a difference in the lives of others by creating a work environment based on integrity, service, and inclusiveness. To maintain the highest possible level of efficiency and effectiveness, we will challenge ourselves to continuously examine the way we deliver services and information.

Primary Services

Academic Record and Grading
Address Changes, Enrollment/Degree Verifications, Grade Change Processing, Grade Reports, Name Changes, PIN Assistance, Transcripts

Degree Programs and Graduation
Commencement Information, Course Substitutions/Waivers, Degree Audit Assistance, Degree Program Admission, Diploma Orders and Distribution, Intent to Graduate Application, Major and/or Minor Declaration

Adding/Dropping Classes, Audit and Pass/Not Pass Declaration, Catalog and Class Schedule Publications, Enrollment Verifications, Registrations, Senior Permission for Graduate Credit/Mixed Credit, Withdrawals (Dropping All Classes)

Veterans Services
Benefit Application Assistance, Enrollment Certification, Verification of Progress Towards Program of Study

Find more information about the Office of the Registrar at www.missouristate.edu/registrar

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 Tips for Parents and Families

 Taken from University of Toledo (http://parents.utoledo.edu/tips.asp) Each month there will be five more tips included, but if you would like the whole list you can visit the above website.

Tip #30: Students should attend all college orientation activities. It helps them become acquainted with their future environment, offices and organizations that will help them through their college career.
Tip #31: Students need parental encouragement and support. Parent attitudes mold their values and your pride in their success will help them achieve their goals.
Tip #32: Encourage your student to visit the career center. Spring semester of freshman year is the best time to start using the career center services. They can help with internships; resume building, interview skills and more!
Tip #33: Ask your student to write a resume early in their college career. This will be a "reality test" and they will see early on what they can do to improve it in time for graduation.

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Q and A with the Parents Association

Each month we will be taking questions that you have posed and answer them in the cleverly titled Q & A with the Parents Association. If you have questions that you would like to have answered over any area of campus please send them to ParentsAssociation@missouristate.edu.

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Important Dates and Deadlines

You and your student may want to be aware of the following dates and deadlines. For a complete list please visit the Office of the Registrar.

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