The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is the federal law that affords students certain rights regarding access and release of their education records.
When children are enrolled in elementary, middle and high school, FERPA gives the student and his or her parents the right to access and control the release of the student's education records. When the student enrolls at a college or university or reaches the age of 18, these rights transfer directly to the student. While parents naturally have an interest in their son's or daughter's academic progress (and may even be paying for their education), under federal law, students control access to their own records.
The quickest, easiest way for you to receive information about your student's grades or other student information is to ask your student to provide it to you. Students have access to most student information through the college’s Web portal, CougarTrack, which provides online access to transcripts, schedules, grades and degree audits. Financial aid records and student bills are available through the college’s ePayment Web portal. Students have the option to set up authorized users on their account in the ePayment system. The authorized user can be provided with view access to the student’s billing statement, 1098-T tax statement or payment history.
If your child chooses to provide you with access to his/her education records, he/she will need to complete the Third Party Release form and submit it to Office of the Registrar. College staff are prohibited from sharing information from a student’s record unless a release form has been provided by the student and is on file with the college.
Although FERPA permits the release of student information when the authorized permissions have been provided, it does not require the college to release student information. Release of student information to anyone other than the student is at the discretion of the institution. Columbia College will release student information only when deemed in the best interest of the student.
For additional information regarding the college’s FERPA policy statement, visit the Office of the Registrar Privacy webpage.