As a counselor, you may find yourself having many conversations about helping seniors prepare for college this time of year. These talks may range from getting them over the “senioritis” hump, to filling out scholarship applications and completing the FAFSA. We thank you in advance for helping your students to navigate this complex process and complete the steps to transition to college smoothly.
What is Third Party Access?
Another conversation you may want to have with students very soon is how much access their parents will have to their student account information (i.e. grades, class specifics, charges/refunds, and financial aid) once they get to college. Up until now, most parents have known almost everything about their student. Once students arrive on campus, parents will no longer be able to access all of their student’s information, due to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s education records. We acknowledge that this might seem strange to parents—to not have the option to know how their student is doing in their current classes and determine what’s going on with their finances at the university—but the intent of this law is to protect the student.
Students can choose to share their university information with their parents through “Third Party Access.” This allows parents to sign in to zzusis (WSU’s student information system) via a friend account and view their student’s confidential WSU records. Third party access is something for the parent and student to determine together; however, as the counselor you can also help students set up a third party access account for each parent (and/or third party) he/she wishes to grant access.
Third Party Access-Benefits
Third Party Access can be a big time saver. If a parent calls Student Financial Services requesting specific information about their student’s account, SFS staff will always ask the parent for their third party access/authorization code (often called a “password”). With this code, parents can access their student’s information and it can help create an open dialogue between the parent and student, as well as help the parent support their student when needed from afar. We highly recommend it!
Setting Up Third Party Access
As always, the Student Financial Services staff is here for students, parents, and counselors, and loves to help! If you have questions and/or need guidance, please don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 509-335-9711. Be sure to also use the SFS website as a resource at finaid.wsu.edu and follow SFS on Facebook and Twitter for the latest financial aid information and quick tips. We look forward to staying connected with you through this process.