Do You FERPA? Gain Access to Student Info Through the Drexel Family Portal

Graduate smiling at diploma.

When students get to college, the rights surrounding their education records transfer from their parents onto them. These are the stipulations around the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which aims to protect the privacy of student education records.

But what if parents or guardians want to have access to such information as their Dragon’s financial aid requirements, course schedule and current GPA? And what if students want their parents or guardians to obtain this access, too. Well, now through the Drexel Family Portal, the process of setting this up has been made easy.

Once Drexel students have a valid FERPA waiver on file, they can then share information with parents or guardians signed up for the portal — and the level of information shared is at the discretion of the student. It includes the student’s status, financial aid requirements and any financial holds, GPA, course schedule as well as any account balance.

“It's a really nice, quick way to see those things,” said Kaitlyn Delengowski, director of special events for Enrollment Management & Student Success, of the Family Portal. “But you also have the calendar, which has deadlines for co-op, last day to withdraw from a course, when finals and exams begin, etc. So it is a really nice, user-friendly way to connect to your student.”

Before the portal was introduced last year, the only place all of this student information was previously housed online was via DrexelOne, which is meant to be accessed by students and students alone. Before the portal, the process of setting up a FERPA authorization also had to be done by the student through DrexelOne. Now, parents can initiate this request through the Family Portal, which then sends an email to the student alerting them of the request. Students then choose which categories of information will be viewable by those on the FERPA waiver.

“More than confusion about how FERPA works or how a waiver is applied, our team frequently speaks with parents who are simply unaware of FERPA. Parents many times don't know that they are unable to discuss a student's financial aid or bill without specific authorization from their child,” said Robert Curran, director of Drexel Central. “Luckily, the Family Portal has made requesting access easier and it allows the student more granular control over what specific categories of information they are granting access to. In our experience, this has made students more willing to sign a waiver.”

So, if parents and families would like to have their Dragons’ information at their fingertips — and students have a similar desire — there are two important and easy steps to undertake. First, gain awareness and learn the ins and outs of FERPA. Second, sign up for the Drexel Family Portal and set up an agreement that works for both Dragons and guardians!