Privacy Issues for Students, Parents and Lawyers

Michigan State University views its students as adults, with the full protections and rights afforded to all adults in the United States. This position is supported both by federal law, and fundamental principles of higher education.

From a legal perspective, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires MSU and other institutions of higher education to protect these rights. More specifically:

  • “FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.
  • “Generally, schools must have written permission from the eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record.”

Student conduct records, like grade reports, are education records covered by FERPA. As a result, students wanting an Office of Student Support & Accountability staff member to speak openly with parents, lawyers and others about a conduct case, must provide the Office of Student Support & Accountability with written permission to do so.