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FERPA for Families

Sending students to college is a life-transition for families, not just for the students themselves.

One of the transitions involves how information is communicated.  In elementary, middle, and high school, your student probably brought home lots of graded work.  You may have attended parent-teacher conferences, been sent quarterly report cards, and been notified about disciplinary issues.  You may even have been able to track your students’ grades and assignments through an on-line account every day! 

Under FERPA regulations, when students attend college, the right to see such information transfers from family members to students. 

This clear-cut regulation can be frustrating for families who have previously had frequent and easy access to their students’ education records. How can families know whether their students are attending classes? What grades they are earning?  What progress are they making toward completing their degrees?

Our best advice is to talk with your student. Talk with your students about what information you expect to be shared.  You may want to see midterm or final grades (these are posted on students’ KnowHopePlus accounts). If you have agreed to pay some or all the tuition bill if your student earns certain grades, remind your student of this agreement. Keep connected:  ask questions about classes, schedules, and progress.  Students who know that their families have high ideals of conduct and a realistic approach to academics are better equipped to meet academic expectations and to conduct themselves responsibly.

Even though we cannot release specific academic information about student, we are eager to respond to your questions about campus policies and want to know if you have a concern about your student so we can follow up appropriately.  Please contact the Registrar’s Office at registrar@hope.edu or 616.395.7760.

Our goals for your student are the same as yours: to foster academic success, independence, self-reliance, good judgment, and mature relationships with others.  For this reason, we encourage students to communicate with their families about important academic, personal, and medical issues. 

Parents are notified if their student is placed on academic probation or on the Dean"s List, though the student's grade point average (GPA) is not shared.  Families are also notified if their involvement is important for the resolution of judicial or behavioral issues.

Questions about FERPA policy as it relates to Hope College should be directed to the Office of the Registrar, 141 East 12th Street, Holland, MI 49423, registrar@hope.edu, or 616.395.7760.

U.S. Department of Education
Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO)
400 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
Phone: 800.USA.LEARN (800.872.5327)

U.S. Department of Education website