FERPA FAQs

Q. What is FERPA and where can I find more information about FERPA?

A. 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 written 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/.


Q. What are education records?

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


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

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


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

A. Your son or daughter has primary responsibility for keeping you informed about his or her 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.


Q. What if my son or daughter is a minor?

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


Q. What if my son or daughter is my dependent?

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


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

A. If your son or daughter has provided Consent to Disclosure of information from his or her education records, the University will communicate with you in the following situations:

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

The University may also communicate with you if your son or daughter is placed on academic probation.

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


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

A. If your son or daughter has not provided Consent to Disclosure, we will not communicate with you about the topics set forth above. If you would like to receive such communications, please request that your son or daughter provide that consent.


Q. What is the ShareLink viewer login?

A. If you have been given the ShareLink viewer access, you may log on to ShareLink at: https://www.bu.edu/link/shortcut/sharelink.


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

A. Although grades are not sent to parents, your son or daughter can give you access to ShareLink where you can view the transcript.


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

A. If your or daughter has provided you with access through ShareLink, you will be able to view the student transcript.


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

A. The University recommends that you ask your son or daughter about his or her academic progress and to provide you access to ShareLink.


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

A. If your son or daughter has provided you with access through ShareLink, you can view and print Proof of Enrollment for your son or daughter.


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

A. If your son or daughter has provided you with access through ShareLink, you can view the transcript, which shows the classes in which he or she is enrolled.


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

A. If your son or daughter has provided you with access, you can view the student account on ShareLink.


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

A. If your son or daughter has provided you with access, you can make payments to the student account on ShareLink.


Q. Can I call for information about financial aid awards?

A. Financial Assistance staff are 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 your son or daughter has enrolled at the University, the student will need to provide Consent to Disclosure before the staff will discuss details of the student’s financial aid award.


Q. What is Directory Information?

A. 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 a student’s prior written consent unless a student has informed the University that he or she wishes 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.