FERPA FAQs for Parents
Comments and Questions
When your child was in elementary and high school, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gave you and your child rights to access and control your child’s educational records. Now that your child is in college, FERPA transfers ownership of the records directly to your son or daughter.
According to FERPA, college students (regardless of their age) are considered responsible adults and are allowed to determine who will receive information about them. While parents understandably have an interest in a student’s academic progress, they are not automatically granted access to a student’s records without written consent of the student. Information regarding education records is best obtained by direct communication between the parent and the student. If desired, students can obtain grades, class schedule, billing, and other information online and provide a copy to their parents.
If the parent has provided to the Registrar’s Office evidence that they declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form (Form 1040), then access to education records may be allowed.
In addition, parent(s) may be notified if a student under 21 years of age is found responsible for a violation involving use or possession of alcohol and drugs. FERPA regulations allow, but do not require, higher education institutions to provide notice to parents when a student violates federal, state, or local laws related to alcohol or drugs.
What happens during crisis situations and emergencies?
If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. Factors considered in making this assessment are: the severity of the threat to the health or safety of those involved; the need for the information; the time required to deal with the emergency; and the ability of the parties to whom the information is to be given to deal with the emergency.