What is FERPA and where can I find more information?

FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is a federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s education record and generally requires a student’s consent before such records are released. Information about students’ rights under FERPA and Boston University’s policies in implementing FERPA can be found at www.bu.edu/reg/ferpa/.

What are education records?

With certain exceptions, education records are all records relating to a student that are maintained by the University.

As a parent, am I allowed to have access to my son or daughter’s education record?

Once a student matriculates at Boston University, parents no longer have an automatic right to access his or her education records. Instead, the access rights that parents had when the student was in elementary and high school transfer to the student, regardless of his or her age.

Can I call University officials to find out how my son or daughter is doing?

Students have primary responsibility for keeping parents informed about their progress at Boston University. This policy reflects the University’s view that students should be treated as responsible adults and that our practices should promote each student’s growth and independence.

What if my son or daughter is a minor?

The University’s policy regarding communication with parents applies equally to students who are minors. Rights under FERPA transfer to the student, regardless of age, upon his or her matriculation into an undergraduate program at a college or university.

What if my son or daughter is my dependent?

FERPA permits, but does not require, a college to communicate with the parents of dependent students without the students’ written consent. Boston University has determined that, except in limited circumstances, communication with parents should be based on the student’s consent.

In what situations will the University contact me about my son or daughter?

If a student has provided Consent to Disclosure of information from his or her education records, the University will communicate with parents in the following situations:

  • If the student voluntarily withdraws or takes a leave of absence
  • If the student is suspended or dismissed from the University
  • If the student is required to leave University housing
  • In response to questions or concerns about the student’s financial aid or student account

The University may also communicate with parents if the student is placed on academic probation.

Even without consent, the University will communicate with parents in the event of an emergency that poses a threat to the health or safety of the student. We will also communicate with parents if a parent loan or financial obligation has been canceled or if a student under the age of twenty-one is found to have committed a serious violation of laws or rules pertaining to alcohol or controlled substances.

What if my son or daughter has not provided Consent to Disclosure?

If the student has not provided Consent to Disclosure, we will not communicate with parents about the topics above. If you would like to receive such communications, please ask your son or daughter to provide consent.

What is the ShareLink viewer login site?

ShareLink allows students to sponsor a login account authorizing secure access for parents, employers, and other interested third parties to the student’s academic and financial information. If you have been given ShareLink viewer access, you may log in at https://www.bu.edu/link/shortcut/sharelink.

As a parent, will I receive grades for my son or daughter?

Although grades are not sent to parents, students can grant ShareLink access, where a transcript can be viewed.

How can I view my son or daughter’s academic record?

If the student has provided ShareLink access, parents can view a transcript.

How can I find out about my son or daughter’s academic progress?

The University recommends that parents ask the student about his or her academic progress and to provide them access to ShareLink.

How can I check on my son or daughter’s enrollment status?

If the student has provided ShareLink access, parents can view and print Proof of Enrollment.

Where can I obtain a copy of my son or daughter’s class schedule?

If the student has provided ShareLink access, parents can view a transcript, which shows current classes.

Where can I get information about my son or daughter’s student account?

If the student has provided ShareLink access, parents can view the student account.

How can I make a payment for my son or daughter’s student account?

If the student has provided ShareLink access, parents can make payments to the student account.

Can I call for information about financial aid awards?

Financial Assistance staff is available to answer questions about aid programs and financing options for Boston University families.

Regardless of the student’s consent, Financial Assistance staff will respond to parent questions regarding the parent’s own financial information and provide general information regarding financial aid awards. Once a student has matriculated at the University, he or she will need to provide Consent to Disclosure before staff will discuss details of the financial aid award with parents.

What is Directory Information?

Directory Information is data that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released. It can be disclosed to outside organizations without students’ prior consent unless they have informed the University that they wish to restrict the release of Directory Information. The University has designated the following items as Directory Information:

  • Academic Program (degree, major, minor)
  • Dates of attendance, full-time / part-time status
  • Degrees, honors, and awards received
  • Email Directory Lookup
  • Local address* and BU Directory phone number
  • School or College
  • Commencement Program
  • Bostonia Yearbook

*If the University has only a home address in New England or New York, it is considered the local address.