Protecting your student’s privacy is important to WSU. In many instances, it is also required by law. HIPAA, FERPA, and other laws mandate what information WSU is and is not allowed to share with parents and families.
On this page you can find information about these laws, as well as how you can obtain third-party access to your student’s myWSU account if they choose to grant it.
It is important to consider that your student is now an adult, and the responsibility for their health and educational records is theirs. We encourage you to discuss together what it might be helpful for you to have access to and what they should manage on their own.
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal law that gives individuals rights over their health information and sets rules about who can look at that information.
Cougar Health Services (CHS) adheres to HIPAA. This means that only the student has the right to access their health records, and CHS does not share your student’s medical information with you unless we have specific permission from them to do so.
There are some cases in which your student may want to give you access to their health information. For example, if your student needs ongoing care for a medical issue, or if you may need to discuss health insurance issues, you and your student may want to explore giving you access to their records.
If your student chooses to share their health information with you, they can do so by filling out a medical release form.
For more information on HIPAA and patient rights, see the CHS website.
Please note that CHS may share information with you without a release in emergency circumstances (for example, a life-threatening health emergency).
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives students certain rights regarding their educational records, including who has access to their information. Under FERPA, parents may not obtain their student’s educational records without written consent of the student.
Your student will decide what they want to share with you, including information about account balances, class schedules, financial aid and scholarship information, and grades. They may also decide not to share any of their educational record with you.
We encourage you to discuss as a family what it might be beneficial for you to have access to. For example, if you are financially responsible to WSU for any portion of your student’s tuition, fees, room, or board, you may want access to financial information. To obtain access, see the Third-Party Access section below.
Please note that under FERPA, WSU may share information with you without your student’s consent if:
- Your student is a dependent for income tax purposes
- Your student is involved in a health and/or safety emergency
- Your student is under 21 and has violated any laws or policies concerning the use or possession of alcohol and/or controlled substances
For more information, visit WSU’s FERPA webpage.
Access to student educational records is available through third-party access to myWSU, the secure portal to services at WSU. With third-party access, you can easily review information and pay fees online.
You must have consent from your student to receive third-party access; WSU cannot grant access to student accounts. It is important to note that having third-party access to your student’s record does not give you access to their entire record – students can choose what information they wish to share with you.
To access information your student has decided to share with you, you will need to create a “Friend Account” through myWSU. You can follow the steps outlined in this how-to guide to set up an account.
If you would prefer to receive your student’s information over the phone or in person, please keep in mind that many university offices require written notification of authorization from your student.
Please note that third-party myWSU access gives you access to your student’s educational records only; medical records are stored separately and require a separate release.