FERPA for Parents and Eligible Students

Welcome to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Web page developed specifically for parents and eligible students.  This page contains information and resources geared to educate and inform parents of students enrolled in public elementary schools and secondary schools and students enrolled in public and private colleges and universities.  FERPA generally does not apply to most private elementary schools and secondary schools, as they do not receive U.S. Department of Education funding.  FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records.  Parents should understand that their rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a postsecondary school at any age. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."  FERPA gives parents and eligible students these basic rights:

  • The right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school;
  • The right to request that a school amend the student’s education records;
  • The right to consent in writing to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the student's education record, except under certain permitted situation; and
  • The right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) regarding an alleged violation under FERPA.

You will find FAQs and other resources on this page that will help you better understand your rights under FERPA. Although the law does say that the rights afforded parents by FERPA transfer to the eligible student, FERPA clearly provides ways in which an institution can share education records on the student with his or her parents. 

In order for FPCO to investigate a complaint, it must be timely and must contain specific allegations of fact giving reasonable cause to believe that a FERPA violation has occurred.  Therefore, before filing a complaint with FPCO,  we suggest that you  review the FAQs and other resources provided on this site in order to understand clearly what your rights are under FERPA.  You may also want to first contact the appropriate school officials about the exercise of those rights to see if you can resolve your concerns.   If after following these steps you still believe your rights under FERPA have been violated, you may file a complaint with FPCO.  For more information regarding filing complaint please visit the filing a complaint page on this Web site.