Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of students’ educational records. Educational records include financial information, health information, and academic or nonacademic misconduct information. This includes specific Study Abroad student, program, and application information. As such, it prevents Valparaiso University and International Programs – Study Abroad from releasing information considered to be confidential under this law without the students’ prior written consent.
Students may choose to complete a study abroad FERPA Release form (available to students once they are accepted to a Study Abroad program), which would allow Valpo and International Programs – Study Abroad to release information to anyone of the student’s choice during or in connection with their Study Abroad.
Other offices may have separate release forms that need to be submitted to release their specific information and should be consulted directly for their requirements.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney form grants another individual, your “agent,” the power to act and/or sign on your behalf in the management of your finances and property. This form may be useful especially for participants in semester or year-long programs, though it is certainly useful for anyone who may need someone to assist with or handle business in the U.S. on their behalf. This may include paying bills, banking, insurance, accounts, and taxes.
Students interested in appointing an agent should check with their bank, financial institution, and/or state government to access the appropriate Power of Attorney form. In most cases, this form requires notarization. Most banks, government offices, and law firms will have individuals who can perform notarization, though they may require you to make an appointment.