FERPA for Families

What is FERPA?

FERPA is a federal law that protects the access and disclosure of  student’s educational records or information.  It states that once a student turns eighteen, or attends school   beyond secondary school, the rights of access to the student’s records transfer to the   student.  Thus, all educational records and information regarding your college student can only be released to the student directly unless the student has given specific, written permission to release that information to someone else.  This law protects all students who are or have been enrolled at Youngstown State University.

What does that mean to me?

Youngstown State University has a long history and tradition of protecting student privacy and complying with federal law.  The University can not disclose any educational records without specific, written consent from the student.  Broadly defined, FERPA considers     educational records as, “those records that are directly related to a student and are    maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.”  There are some types of  information, such as grades, financial aid, or class schedules that family  might like to receive, but under FERPA, cannot have access to unless the student gives written permission to the University. It is important to remember the best  approach to receiving information is to ask the student directly.

How can my student provide specific, written consent?

Youngstown State University values and promotes maturation as students work toward increased independence and responsibility. Additionally, the University understands and appreciates that often family and close friends are a form of guidance and support throughout the college experience. Allowing students to determine who may receive their academic records and financial information is a part of that growing independence.

Students can complete the “Authorization and Request for Release of Records and Information” form in person at the Student Penguin Service Center. On this form, students can designate up to two, third-party individuals to whom Youngstown State University may share educational records. Students determine the following records that can or cannot be shared: academic grades/records, financial aid records,  billing records, academic advising, housing information,  and student conduct information. Students have the right to rescind this authorization at anytime.

What information can Youngstown State University share?

FERPA allows the University to release information referred to as “Directory Information” without a student’s permission. However, Youngstown State University reserves the right to not release this type of information if  the University believes it will not be in the best interest of our students.  This type of information is generally considered not to be harmful or an invasion of privacy if released.

Directory Information

Without the student's written consent, directory information can be shared:

  • Student Personal Information
    • Name, address, telephone listing, email address, and photograph
    • Date and place of birth
  • Student Academic Records
    • Class rank, major, and college
    • Enrollment status and attendance dates
    • Expected graduation date and degrees
    • Honors and awards received
    • Most recent institution attended
  • Student Athlete Information
    • Participation in activities and sports
    • Weight and height

Educational Records

With the student's written consent, specified education records can be shared:

  • Student Personal Information
    • Student ID number
    • Race, gender, country of citizenship, or religion
  • Student Academic Records
    • Course schedule
    • Academic transcript
    • Grades, GPA, and credit hours
    • Academic standing
  • Student Financial Records
    • Loans, Scholarships, Grants, etc.
    • Standards of Academic Progress
    • FAFSA information, verification, etc.
  • Student Account & Billing Records
    • Current balance
    • Refund check amounts
  • Academic Advising Information
  • Housing Information/Action
  • Student Conduct
  • Other information as noted by student

Certain educational records (grades, GPA, class schedule, and student ID number) can never be  provided over the phone to a  student or third party. This information can  only be  given  in person with a valid photo ID and proper consent.

There is no recognized mechanism for students to grant third-party access to their MyYSUPortal (includes email and blackboard). Accordingly, if your student shares their password information, this cannot be recognized by the University as authorized access or permission to access records.

General questions may be directed to the Student Penguin Service Center at (330) 941-6000 or onestop@ysu.edu.