Office of Global Citizenship

FERPA and Communications

The Office of Global Citizenship primarily communicates with students in order to encourage their acceptance of responsibility to communicate with their families and because of limitations that Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) places on communication of some types of information with parents and guardians. During the course of the academic year, the Office of Global Citizenship will communicate directly to families about the process of applying for study abroad/away and portability of financial aid. The information is similar to what the Office conveys to students at introductory sessions on study abroad. The information for families is meant to provide basic information so that they can work with their students who are planning to study off campus. According to FERPA, the Office of Global Citizenship may release to families general information about the students’ study abroad programs, similar to what may be found on the study abroad programs’ websites. Without authorization from students, the Office may not release information related to their course selection, grades, billing and account information, and housing and contact information abroad. We encourage families to discuss with their children before they leave to study off campus in order to establish their own methods of communicating. In the case of a crisis situation that may arise in a study abroad site, FERPA allows the Office to communicate information about the student’s well-being to the family. The University’s interpretation of FERPA and how it affects our communications may be found here. Before studying abroad, students are asked to complete an emergency communication form that details who Sewanee may contact in the case of an emergency.