Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1976
FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment, guarantees the privacy of a student’s educational records. When a student enters a post-secondary institution, the access rights to educational records previously held by parents/guardians are now transferred to the student. Educational records will not be shared with a third party, including parents, without the student’s written permission. Final grades are only released to the student.
Parents may feel that because they pay tuition or claim the student as a dependent for tax purposes, they are entitled to such information. A post-secondary institution may have a policy that allows parents to access some educational records if they provide proof that their student is still claimed as a dependent.
That being said, FERPA DOES NOT require post-secondary institutions to devise a policy that will grant such parental access. The post-secondary institutions may disclose, without consent, certain directory information such as the student’s name, address, telephone number, birth date, location of birth, dates of attendance, and class
standing (freshman). Documentation of disability and services being provided to a student at that post-secondary institution cannot be accessed without that student’s written permission.
A student’s record of disability is not noted on any official post-secondary document, including transcripts. Student grades, progress in courses, and attendance are also protected by FERPA. This means college staff will not discuss this information with parents or others without student’s written permission. This is a big change for the parents who have been very involved in their student’s day-to-day educational experiences.WHAT DO THESE CHANGES MEAN TO YOU?
Post-secondary institutions are prohibited from discriminating against a person because of a disability. They must provide ACCESS to the education to otherwise qualified individuals.
Students must meet requirements to be eligible for reasonable accommodations at the post-secondary level. The eligibility requirements may be different from those in the K-12 system.
The term “otherwise qualified” means different things at the K-12 and post-secondary levels. In high school, your child may be qualified for services just by being within the age range and having a disability. However, in post-secondary institutions, your child must meet the admissions standards to an institution as well as the standards for specific programs within an institution.
FERPA means that post-secondary institutions cannot release grades or academic records to parents without the student’s permission. College staff will not discuss this information with parents or others without student’s written permission.
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