Federal Law & Confidentiality of Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that provides students the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records and to limit disclosure of information from the records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. The Act and regulations are very lengthy, and for that reason SMU has issued guidelines that are available at the University Registrarís FERPA website (http://smu.edu/ferpa).

Although there are a number of exceptions, as a general rule, SMU will not disclose to third parties personally identifiable information from a student's education records without the student's written consent. Among the exceptions to the general rule are these selected examples: (1) Information defined by SMU as directory information may be released unless the student requested through Access.SMU Self Service that it be withheld; (2) information authorized by student through Access.SMU Self-Service may be released to those individuals designated by the student; and 3) information may be released to a parent or guardian if the student is claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes on the parent's or guardian's most recent federal income tax return. For more information, visit http://smu.edu/ferpa.

If you wish to release or restrict access to your records, you must make the request through the Release of Education Records feature in Access.SMU Self-Service. All SMU students are considered adults and must authorize release of all records to anyone, including parents. Students have the ability through Access.SMU Student Self-Service to grant parents or other individuals view access to parts or all of their education records. More information on this feature is available at http://smu.edu/ferpa/students. For one-time access, students may fill out a form if they want their information released to a specified third party. The consent to release to specified third party form is available at http://smu.edu/registrar/ferpa/forms.asp.

 

Last revision - 02 August 2013

 

 
The Office of the Dean of Student Life is a department in the Division of Student Affairs.