Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Policy on Parental Notification

The purpose of this policy is to clarify the circumstances under which SUNY New Paltz will disclose information about a student to the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the student without the prior consent of the student. The policy developed by New Paltz is consistent with the educational philosophy of the College and with all laws which govern disclosures of information about students to parents or legal guardians.

University Philosophy
Consistent with its mission of educating students, New Paltz treats its students as adults, and supports them as they develop individual responsibility, maturity and independence.

New Paltz respects the trust between students and parents or legal guardians, and is committed to maintaining effective relationships with students and parents or legal guardians.

There are circumstances in which the disclosure of certain information is appropriate. These include questions related to financial aid and certain safety or health emergencies. The applicable law and information which is disclosed to parents is described more fully below.

Federal Law Regarding Disclosure of Educational Records
The right of access to information in a student’s educational records is governed by a federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). The right of access to other information, such as medical or counseling records, is governed by applicable state or federal law. As a general rule, students attending a college or university, regardless of age, have the right under FERPA to control disclosure of information from their educational records. FERPA permits colleges and universities to make certain exceptions to this general rule and allows disclosure of certain directory information from a student’s educational records without obtaining the student’s prior consent.

To parents or legal guardians of dependent students as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code. In general, the College does not make education records available to the parents of a student. For example, we do not discuss grades, grading or course selection with parents. However, where the College believes that it is in a dependent student’s best interest, information from the student’s education records may, at the College’s discretion, be released to the parents or legal guardians of such a dependent student. Such disclosure generally will be limited to information about a student’s official status at the College, but parents or legal guardians of a dependent student may also be notified upon the authorization of the dean of the student’s college, or the Vice President for Student Affairs, or the Dean of Students, or their designees in the following cases:

  • when a student has voluntarily withdrawn from the College or has been required by the College to withdraw;
  • when a student has been placed on academic warning;
  • when the student’s academic good standing or promotion is at issue;
  • when a student engages in alcohol- or drug-related behavior that violates New Paltz policies;
  • when a student has been placed on disciplinary probation or restriction;
  • in exceptional cases when a student otherwise engages in behavior calling into question the appropriateness of the student’s continued enrollment in the College.

Unless otherwise indicated in writing by the student at the time of registration, or thereafter, the College will presume that a full-time undergraduate student is a dependent as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code. Undergraduate students who are not financially dependent and do not wish to permit their parents or legal guardian access to their education records should advise the Registrar’s Office in writing and provide evidence of financial independence. Graduate and professional students are not assumed to be financially dependent upon their parents or legal guardian for these purposes.

February, 2010