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Western Kentucky University

Potter College Parents

students walking on campusFrequently Asked Questions

What is FERPA? Why don't I have access to my student's records?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 affords certain rights to students regarding their education records. This link will take you to additional information, but, at its most basic, FERPA prevents faculty and staff from sharing non-directory information with anyone other than the student—this includes parents—without written permission from the student.
My child has a bad roommate situation, what should they do?
Living on-campus is academically and developmentally beneficial to students (in general, students who live on-campus are statistically more likely to graduate). Learning how to navigate interpersonal relationships and set boundaries with a roommate is a huge part of the transition to college, and a life-long skill to develop. However, for some of our students this is the first time they are dealing with some of these types of issues, and they may not know how to proceed.  If your student is having a roommate conflict, start by encouraging them to speak with the roommate directly about the issue. If they have already done this, or don't feel this is a viable option, the next step is to speak with their resident assistant (RA).   The RA can mediate the conflict, while reviewing the "roommate agreement" signed before move-in. If this doesn't work the next step is to speak with the Hall Director living in the hall. This link will take you to the contact info for all professional housing staff.
Does my student need a Higher One account?
WKU has partnered with Higher One, a financial services company specializing in student refund services, which means ALL loan/grant refunds and any student payroll is distributed through this card. This link will take you to additional information regarding the account, and this link will take you to FAQ's regarding the Higher One Debit Card.
Where can my student find out who their advisor is?
For students, TopNet is a wealth of information. If your student hasn't taken some time to explore everything contained in TopNet, please, encourage them to do so. Students can find their advisor through the "View Advisor Information" link. TopNet > Student Services > Registration > View Advisor Information.
How does my student know what classes to take?
Students are required to meet with their academic advisor prior to registering for the next semester's classes (other items/issues will also be covered in the meeting). However, the student has access to the same information as advisors and is ultimately responsible for course selection.

To do this effectively, students use iCAP (available on TopNet). iCAP is an interactive degree audit designed to show students what courses fulfill major/minor, general education, and University requirements. Ask your students if they know how to read their iCAP—essential to ensuring graduation! If not, they can review how to read iCAP with their advisor or check out the tutorial.

What is 5th Week Assessment?
Freshmen enrolled in 100 level courses are evaluated by the instructor after 5 weeks of classes. Students receive either a P (Pass) or D/F for each class (actual grade not given) and instructors will note any Excessive Absences. Academic Advising & Retention Center staff, Housing & Residence Life staff, and academic advisors follow up with students regarding their assessment, and freshmen can view their marks on TopNet. We encourage you to ask your student how they're doing.
Who do I contact if I have questions?
While there are wealth of offices and individuals on campus to contact with questions, we encourage you to first speak with your student. Often times they have more information than an office may be allowed to share with you, or the office may request the student to contact them anyway. Having your student take the lead in seeking information also allows them to take ownership of their education and future within a supportive environment, while developing problem-solving skills. If you are ever at a loss as to what direction to guide your student or need more information before you speak with them, please, contact me at jennifer.markin@wku.edu.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14