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Parents' Access to Student Academic Information

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Many families are alarmed to learn that the university’s policy on student education records, with limited exceptions, gives each student the right to keep his or her records—including professors’ names, course schedules, and grade reports—private from their parents.

The educational records of all matriculated students at Cornell, regardless of student age, are protected under both the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and the Cornell University Access to Student Information Policy 4.5. Under these policies, matriculated Cornell students are treated as legal adults, with the responsibilities and privileges inherent in that status. They are expected to make decisions about coursework, classes, social life, and their personal well-being. They also are expected to learn from and take responsibility for the consequences of those decisions. Cornell’s policy is available online.

As set forth in the Annual Notification to Students, where the university believes that it is in a financially–dependent student’s best interest, the university may, in its discretion, notify the parents or legal guardians of such a financially-dependent student when the student has voluntarily withdrawn from the university or has been required by the university to withdraw, the student has been placed on academic warning, the student’s academic standing or promotion is at issue, the student has been placed on disciplinary probation or restriction, or the student otherwise engages in behavior calling into question the appropriateness of the student’s continued enrollment in the university. Unless otherwise established through documentation, the university will presume that a full-time undergraduate student is a dependent (as that term is defined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Code).

Cornell will, of course, share information with parents when authorized to do so by the student. Family support is essential to a student’s success, and early discussion will encourage ongoing communication and support.