Parent & Family Information

Attending college is an important milestone and as parents or family members of a new student you can help your student succeed in college. Communicate with your student often and let him or her know you are supportive. To help you offer support, we suggest the following tips.

Emphasize the Value of Education:

Behind almost every successful college student is a family that values education and that recognizes its importance to the quality of people’s lives.

  • Set high expectations. Let your student know that you expect him or her to work hard and explain how you will support that hard work. Encourage your student to use the resources and services on campus.

Think of College as a Full Time Job:

Students are expected to devote a great deal of time to their studies.

  • Help your student to understand that, although they will be spending less time in the classroom, more independent work is expected of them. A student should expect to spend two to three hours studying for every hour spent in class. That means that a students enrolled for 12 credit hours should expect to spend an additional 24 to 36 hours outside of class studying.

Be Flexible About Family Schedules and Responsibilities:

Between attending classes and preparing for them, college students have many demands on their times. As a result, their schedules are sometimes hectic and unpredictable.

  • Encourage your student to prioritize his or her commitments and find a healthy balance between school, work, and other commitments. As a support system, you can help students prioritize and develop better time management skills.

Know Campus Resources:

Students are expected to stay informed and to follow college policies and procedures.

  • Utilize our website to become familiar with life at Craven and the resources available to students. Helping your student to navigate the college by referring him or her to the appropriate resources is one of the best ways for you to support your student.

Encourage Academic and Career Exploration:

Career exploration is an important part of every student’s education. It encourages students to be open to a variety of career possibilities, to investigate areas of interest, and to participate, when possible, in career-related co-op experiences.

  • Encourage your student to meet regularly with an advisor or career counselor. They can help students select a program of study, choose courses, create a class schedule, make a transfer plan, and explore career options.
  • Encourage your student to start to explore transfer opportunities early. Craven has a number of articulation agreements with colleges and universities.

Encourage Involvement in Campus Activities:

Campus activities – cultural events, lectures, clubs, and sports – are an important part of a students’ college experience. They complement students’ classroom education and offer participants opportunities to learn about themselves, others, and the world at large.

  • Show interest in your student’s classes and participation in campus activities. Ask him or her to share those experiences.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was enacted in 1974. See the FERPA Regulations that implement that Act.

The primary purpose of FERPA is to protect the privacy of student information, and this protection is achieved by controlling access to and disclosure of students’ “education records,” as that term is defined in FERPA.

Faculty, staff, and administrative officers at UNC Charlotte are required by FERPA to treat education records confidentially, unless a legal exception applies, or the student provides written consent to disclose.

Students also have the right to inspect and review their education records and to request that their records be amended.

For additional information, please see University Policy 402, Student Records and FERPA Guidance and Resources.

Parent Requests for FERPA-Protected Student Records

Generally, when a student enters UNC Charlotte, regardless of his or her age, all rights afforded to parents under FERPA transfer to the student, and the student’s written consent is required for disclosure of his or her education records.

However, FERPA also provides ways in which schools may share information with parents without the student’s consent. For example:

  • The University may disclose education records to parents if the student is a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • The University may disclose education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their child.
  • The University may inform parents if the student who is under age 21 has violated any law or its policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.
  • A University official may generally share with a parent information that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation of the student.

Parents should ask their students about the NEW Guest Access Portal and whether they can help their student succeed by having online view access to their education records. More information about that service is available at

For further information on disclosure of student education records to parents, please see University Policy 402, Student Records, or you may contact the Office of the Registrar or the Office of Legal Affairs.

Disclosure of a student’s confidential education records requires prior written consent of the student (unless disclosure is permitted under certain exceptions to FERPA set forth in Section 99.31 of the FERPA Regulations). A student’s written consent may be obtained by using the applicable form below.

Guest Access Portal – Students can also give their parents or other guests online view access to certain education records through the Guest Access Portal. More information about that service is available at

Online Student Consent Form for Access to Education Records – Use this electronically-submitted form:

  1. if you are a department or unit on campus other than a “University Official with legitimate educational interest” requesting disclosure of a student’s education records, or
  2. if you are a student requesting disclosure of your own education records to a third party.

(If you prefer not to submit the form online, download and fill out .pdf version here: Student Consent Form for Access to Education Records)

Consent for Letters of Recommendation/Evaluation – In order to submit recommendations or evaluations in accordance with FERPA regulations, school officials must request that students submit this authorization/waiver or its equivalent prior to providing FERPA-protected student information to third parties.

Verification Letter – Use this form for verification when a third party has requested education records, and it is not clear that the student has consented to such disclosure in writing. Fill in the blanks on this sample letter then send to student. Do not release a student’s records to the requesting party until he/she responds to this letter.