Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Why can’t I see my student’s grades? Or course schedule? Or Williams disciplinary record?

Because Williams is prohibited by law from giving you such information without your student’s written consent. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (referred to as FERPA and sometimes called the Buckley Amendment) was passed by Congress in 1974 and prevents colleges from sharing information, including grades and transcripts, course schedules, names of students’ advisors, papers, tests, disciplinary records, and personal information such as social security number, age—even their parents’ or guardians’ names—without students’ expressed consent.

Williams can release such information in an emergency—if we deem that the health and safety of a student or students are at risk. If you believe such an emergency exists, call Campus Safety and Security at 413-597-4444.

Beyond legal prohibitions, “owning” their information is one of many ways in which students grow up in college. Just as they are now responsible for waking themselves up in time for class, organizing their own time to meet their academic and extracurricular commitments, and learning to live in close quarters with people often very different from themselves, they are also responsible for deciding when and with whom they share personal information. And just because Williams can’t give you such information directly doesn’t prevent you from asking your own student to share their progress and concerns with you. Indeed, we encourage you to talk to your student—to ask helpful questions and provide experienced support—throughout their college education.

Learn (a lot) more about FERPA and more about working with Williams.