The Family Educational Rights and Privacy act (FERPA) is a federal law which affords applicants and students certain rights with respect to their educational records. The intent of this Act is to protect the privacy of students and their records; and many students and parents don’t realize that FERPA has been protecting their records for many years. FERPA protects educational records of students at all levels – primary, secondary, and post-secondary. During a student’s primary and secondary school experiences, the right of access to the student’s educational records rests with the parent or guardian. When the student turns 18 or enrolls at a post-secondary institution of education, the rights of access convert to the student. This catches many families off guard; hence, their frustration. As one might suspect, FERPA is a far-reaching law with many subtleties.
The Parent Portal Guide is meant to give students an understanding of the new “Parent Access” function within myWings and to aid them in the event they elect to release information to parents or another third party. Throughout this document the terms “student” and “parent” are used to designate a student of the University of North Florida (“student”) and a designated third party (“parent”). Students may assign access privileges to any third party, including parents; but as the student will discover, the options are not limited to parents. This is a good opportunity to remind students the decision to release confidential information to a third party is important and not one to be taken lightly. We encourage all students to be mindful of the threat of identity theft and weigh carefully the benefits of sharing this.
We encourage positive communication between students and their parents/guardians and appreciate those parents who want to be involved in their student’s educational experience. We believe a strong support network is necessary both on campus as well as at home. That being said, we frequently hear from parents regarding their frustration with their perception that the University is not being forthcoming with information related to their student. In truth, the University is limited in what can and what cannot be released to third parties, including parents.
In an effort to balance the protections of FERPA with the student’s decision (and desire) to share their information with selected third parties we have developed the Parent Portal.
Students who decide to release information to a parent will first identify the parent through myWings. The parent will receive security credentials – their own N-number – for access to myWings. Parents will not have access to other University services like email or library privileges, but they will be able to access different areas of their student’s educational record and to pay bills on behalf of their student. We plan to periodically add new functions for parents within myWings.
If your student elects to provide you access to their information, your student will take the steps outlined above. If you already have a UNF ID number (an N-number) based on your current or previous affiliation with the University, you may provide that number to your student and utilize the online help at the myUNF ID website for establishing your security credentials. If you don't have a UNF ID number, you may provide your student with your demographic information and they can request an ID to be created for you. If they create an ID for you, your student will receive an email which they must forward to you. Within that email will be additional instructions and a link to the myUNF ID website where you can finalize your security credentials. Once established, you will be able to log into myWings, the secure online portal for university business, and access the Parent Portal. Within myWings, you will see a variety of things depending on your role and history with the University. For example, if you were a student at the University you will have access to your student records and other data, including the Parent Portal. If your only role (thus far) is that of a parent of a UNF student who has authorized you to view information, you will only have access to the Parent Portal. The myWings portal contains a combination of tabs (pages) and channels on each page. Depending on your role with the University, you may see many tabs and channels or only a few. The link to the Parent Portal will be found in a channel. Follow the link to the Parent Portal to view the information released to you by your student. If you have more than one student at the University you will be able to select them from a drop-down list. If you have questions regarding what information your student has released to you, we encourage you to have a conversation with your student. For technical assistance, including passwords and login help, contact the UNF Help Desk at (904) 620-HELP. For assistance with billing, please contact Student Financial Services at (904) 620-2472. For assistance with student records, financial aid, admissions, and registration issues, please contact One-Stop Student Services at (904) 620-5555.
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