Family members act as the conductor of their children's educational lives. From the first day of school until graduation we coax, prod, applaud and assist them with homework, school activities, preparing for exams and generally organizing their life. It comes as no surprise that we may be left feeling deserted when a child finally leaves the nest. One of the biggest revelations for students is that they now must take ownership of their educational life, not only in adjusting their personal schedules to study accordingly, but in the way they conduct their academic business as well. A federal act called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is legislation that protects the rights of student records and assists students in taking that first step toward autonomy. Up until a child is 18 years of age, the privacy rights of a student are with the parents.
Once a student reaches 18 years of age, they are protected by FERPA and have three primary rights:
- They have the right to inspect and review their educational records.
- Students have some control over the disclosure of information from their educational record.
- They may seek to amend their educational records.
As much as parents would like to remain involved in students' lives, it is now the student who controls what information is disseminated and to whom. The Office of Academic Advising and Registration complies with the FERPA legislation despite protests from parents who have their children's best interests at heart. The hardest thing to hear is that even though the parent may be paying the bill, they still do not have access to a student’s educational record unless expressed written permission is provided to the institution by the student. Feel free to contact the Office of Academic Advising and Registration if you have any questions regarding the protection of student records and access to student information.