Date of Award

Winter 2004

Project Type


Program or Major

Education - Policy and Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Todd A DeMitchell


Under changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) colleges were granted permission, but are not required, to notify parents whose students who violate alcohol policies. This was intended to be a new solution to an old problem.

This study investigated the predictors of parental notification policies, practices, and beliefs. A quantitative approach was used employing on-line and mail surveys sent to a stratified sample of chief student affairs officers (CSAOs) at Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) listed in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System that confer baccalaureate degrees. A 60% response rate, was obtained.

Using factor and reliability analyses, the data suggested that student affairs administrators discern between three conceptual perspectives in regard to parental notification; parents right to be involved, students' benefit of parental notification policies, and IHEs' legal responsibilities to protect students.

Logistic regression analyses indicated that three variables predicted that an IHE would have a parental notification policy alone; the IHE being located in the northeastern part of the country compared to the western region, the belief that such policies benefit students, the belief alcohol use was a problem, and public IHEs scoring high on the legal responsibilities scale. Logistic regression also suggested that the first three variables listed above in addition to the IHE being private predicted that an IHE would have a parental notification practice or policy.

Multiple linear regression analyses suggested that scores on the parents' right to be involved and students' benefit of policy scales were predictors for the belief that IHEs should notify parents for alcohol violations and the belief that the respondent's own IHE should have a parental notification policy.

The data indicated that theories of policy formation or legal relationships between colleges and students do not completely explain the development of parental notification policies. Each can add some to the understanding of these policies, but the perspectives of parents and students must also be explored.