Will you discuss my progress at Cal with my parents or answer their questions if they write or phone?

We encourage you to keep in close personal contact with your family throughout your years at Cal. However, DSP cannot normally discuss any information about students' progress at Berkeley with a third party, including parents, guardians, partners, and children. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the University policy regarding the release and disclosure of student information generally prohibit DSP from disclosing confidential information to anyone but the student.

What is FERPA?

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and is a federal law that was enacted in 1974.  FERPA protects the privacy of student education records by authorizing the release of such records to authorized parties identified in the FERPA release form http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

 Why should I care about FERPA?

  • If you're a student, it's important for you to understand your rights under FERPA and that you’re aware that the law allows you to release records to parties that you deem appropriate.
  • If you're a parent or guardian, you'll need to understand how the law changes once your student enters a post-secondary institution.  If the student wishes for you to have access to their records, the student must initiate a FERPA release form http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

What I should know about the Disabled Students’ Program (DSP) FERPA?

  • DSP serves the student and values the student-specialist relationship.
  • DSP encourages the greatest degree of independence for the student. 
  • Notwithstanding a FERPA release, the student must still be the primary point of contact for DSP and be the one responsible for decisions and initiating FERPA release forms.
  • DSP respects students' confidentiality. Although the FERPA release authorizes disclosure of certain records associated with a student, it does not include conversations or communications between DSP and the student.

How Do I initiate a FERPA release with DSP?

  • Step 1: Request and discuss a FERPA release form from any DSP specialist.
  • Step 2:  Sign the release form in the presence of a DSP specialist. To prevent coercion, force, and release of records to unauthorized parties, students must sign the release form in the presence of a DSP specialist.  This can be accomplished during drop-in hours, and any available specialist can be of assistance.
  • Step: 3:  The authorized party identified in the FERPA release must request records.  DSP’s obtainment of completed FERPA release forms does not constitute as automatic release of documents. The authorized party must initiate the request before any documents are released. DSP will process the request and release documents to authorized parties.

The relevant campus policies are available online.