Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

Jane McClure
Partner McClure, Mailory & Baron Educational Counseling

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Academic Progress

It is always amusing to me that parents often pay the tuition, but students have to grant permission for certain records - in my case my son's tuition bill - to be forwarded. Some colleges may post on their websites that parents may request grades, but only if their son or daughter signs off on such a request! The reason is FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act),which allows college students to determine who sees their records.

Michelle Green
Admissions Consultant My College Admissions Coach

The simple answer is No.

FERPA won't allow them to update you about the student, unless the student and parents sign the form that says that mom and dad have access to your school records. Progress and grade reports do not come home, either. It's usually up to the student to share this information with the parents. I have known students on academic probation whose parents had no clue until the student called to tell them that they "needed to come home", which can be code word for academic dismissal. As a parent, I have asked my own kids to share their grades with me. I won't bug them about their grades as long as they are making academic progress in good standing, but I expect that they will share this information with me. After all, I am helping them to get an education, the least they can do is tell me how they did in that Calc class!

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

If you pay then you should know

Once your student turns 18 then you have no right to your child's academic records. Be clear at home about your expectations from the registrars office. If you are paying for your child's education then you have every right to see their grades. Insist that your children sign the waiver and have a copy of their grades sent to you.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services


The Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act applies to all schools that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Essentially, this law gives parents certain rights in regard to their children's education. These rights transfer over the student once the student reaches the majority age of 18 or attends a post-secondary school. In order for parents to receive the education records of a college student, the student must authorize the parents to receive the information in writing.

kati swanson
Counselor TMCC HS

Colleges have very limited contact with parents

Due to federal privacy laws colleges can share very little information with parents of students. Academic progress is an area that is considered confidential is not shared with parents. Many institutions have waivers that the student can sign giving the institution permission to share information with specific people listed on the waiver.

Erica White
College & Career Counselor Middletown High School

Do colleges keep parents informed of their child's academic progress?

Colleges do not keep parents informed of their child's academic progress due to the fact this would be a violation of the privacy act. As a parent, you can have your child sign permission to allow you to have contact with financial aid, the bursars office etc. Due to the fact that many parents are helping to pay for the student's education, students usually have no problem signing over permission for the parent to communicate with school.

Nicholas Umphrey

Keeping tabs on my co-ed kiddo

By FERPA law, colleges are not required to send parents grades in the way of report cards since almost all college students are legal adults at age 18 or older. Often it is up to the student to keep the parent informed. It is also easy for parents to view grades because this tends to be a paperless reporting system these days. If parents have a their kiddo's login information, they can usually see final grades.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Parents: To Stay Informed Communicate With Your Child

One of the best reasons to allow students to not only handle their own admission process, but also to encourage their ownership of the whole academic enterprise–i.e. Mom and Dad, keep the helicopter grounded--is the fact that due to federal privacy laws, once they get to college the school will tell parents virtually nothing. It does not matter who is signing the check, the schools communicate with the students. Consequently, they need to be prepared for the responsibilities inherent in that reality. Hopefully the right communication channels have been established during the high school years, but if not, adjustments will need to be made.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

College and Parents.

NO. Colleges do not keep parents informed of grades, etc. Colleges treat your child as an adult, and if you want to know how your student is doing, you should ask them. You can, of course, make it a requirement for your child to send you their grades at the end of the semester, but it is a requirement for your student, not the college.