What are the limits in working with parents?
At the elementary and secondary school level, FERPA gives parents the right to access education records. When a student reaches 18 years of age or is attending an institution of post-secondary education, FERPA rights transfer from parent to student. Therefore, at the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent rights to access their student’s education records.
Information such as a student’s enrollment in a course, class attendance, or progress/grades in a course is personally identifiable information that constitutes part of the student’s education record that is protected under FERPA. Parents may not have access unless the student has provided written authorization. If a student has filed a consent form to give parents access to student records, this would be indicated on the student’s record. With this form on file, staff members may release information to parents, provided the identity of the parents has been authenticated.
Parents of a dependent student may challenge denial of access to educational records by providing to the Office of the Registrar’s evidence that they declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form (Form 1040). In this case, staff members may release information to parents, provided the identity of the parents has been authenticated.
Even if no specific information can be released about a student, staff members can often assist parents by providing general information that does not violate FERPA. Enrollment procedures, academic calendar information, policy information, and other similar information may be helpful. FERPA does not mean parent can take the place of a student in meetings.