One Stop offers parents grade access

Nina Petersen-Perlman

Unlike in grade school, parents don’t have the right to see University students’ grades.

A federal law enacted in the mid-1970s keeps that information private unless the student authorizes its release.

But with a new One Stop “parent/guest access” system in place, parents or other third parties can now access students’ enrollment summaries, grades and holds, but only with students’ permission.

Mary Koskan, the director of the Office of the Registrar, said the new system is all about ease of use.

“We wanted to automate this so it’d be easier for parents and students, and so they didn’t have to make a phone call,” she said.

Before the effects took place in July, if a parent wanted access to a student’s information, the student would have to fill out a form to grant it.

Psychology senior Mary Solarz said she gave her parents access to her grades because they got mad when they found out she was the only one who could look at them.

“I didn’t want them to look at my grades; I wanted them to trust me,” she said. “But if they’re paying for my tuition, I think they should have access.”

To register a third party, a student can log on to One Stop, click “parent/guest access,” and provide the guest’s e-mail address.

That person will receive an e-mail from One Stop explaining how to register. When they do, the student will receive an e-mail and can then decide what information the third party can access.

The guest can only view or print information – they can’t edit anything in the student’s account.

Whitney Moore, a first-year scientific and technical communications student, said that once people turn 18, they should become independent of their parents.

“It’s a little childish,” she said. “But I suppose if parents are paying tuition, it’s just as much their business as yours.”

Representatives from Macalester College and Hamline and St. Thomas universities all said parents can’t access their child’s grades online.

Richelle Wesley, St. Thomas’ associate registrar, said it was more than the technological hassle of providing parent user names that prevented them from providing the service.

“We want to promote the parent working with their son or daughter rather than through the university,” she said.

The University’s chief financial officer, Richard Pfutzenreuter, who also has a son at the University, said he has an agreement with his son to see his grades.

“I don’t think the University should be the parent,” he said. “If the student and the parent want to strike an agreement and the student’s OK with them seeing it online, I’m OK with it.”

Koskan said the new system is not meant to replace parent-student interaction.

“This is just another way to do it, another method,” she said.

As of Monday afternoon, students had sent 3,144 invitations for third parties to view their information. More than 2,000 students gave access to their student account, while 1,552 gave access to their grades.