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FERPA and Access to College Student Records


09/17/2014 Published by: Suzanne

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Categories: Your Child's Ages & Stages, Transition to College, Transition to College

Does this sound familiar?  Your son or daughter has made it through high school with all of their curriculum nights, parent conferences, class projects, standardized tests, after-school activities, sports and perhaps even jobs.  You’ve taken them on college visits, reviewed their applications and rejoiced at those especially exciting acceptance letters!  Every step of the way, to some degree or another, you have been there with them and now they’re off to college.  Their new school may be right up the road or it may be several states away, but in either case your child is no doubt operating more independently from you than they were before high school graduation.  Does this mean that you, as their parent, should no longer have access to their student education records?

As the parent of a new college student you may be surprised to learn that you do not automatically have access your child’s information at their school . . . even if you are the one footing the tuition!  In their May 28, 2014 blog entry titled, “FERPA, Student Rights and Parent Access”, College Parents of America explains why.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is the federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, requires schools that receive federal funding to maintain those records, and determines when and by whom those records can be accessed.  A parent’s right to review these records transfers to their child once they turn 18 or attend a school above the high-school level.

What can a parent do?  If you feel the need to have access to your child’s records, you can ask your student to obtain and sign a consent form from their college or university.  Having this form signed and on file allows their school to give you access.  Here’s hoping that this conversation goes well!

More information on this subject can be found in the FAQ section of the website.

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