A PARENT’S RIGHT TO KNOW
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student information records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents, guardians, or students over the age of 18, certain rights with respect to the student’s education records.
- Parents or guardians have the right to inspect and review the student’s education record maintained by the school within 45 days of the request.
- Parents or guardians have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading or otherwise in violation of a student’s privacy rights.
Furthermore, schools must generally have written permission from a parent or guardian to release personally identifiable information from a student’s record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties under the following conditions:
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;*
- Other schools to which the student is transferring
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
- Accrediting organizations
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
*A school official is a person employed by the School as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the Board; a person or company with whom the School has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist). A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
Schools may also disclose, without consent, “directory” information that includes a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance.
Additionally, schools are required to provide the same type of information to military recruiters, unless the parent (or eligible student) requests that such information is not disclosed without written consent.
For additional information or to file a complaint, contact:
Family Policy Compliance Officer
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920