Definition: The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (or FERPA) protects a student's educational records from, for example, having his grades or disciplinary record posted in a public way. It guarantees your child - and you, while your child is a minor - access to inspect and review his school records, and provides a process so errors can be corrected. But when your child turns 18, those privacy restrictions suddenly impact you. Universities can still disclose basic "directory information" - the fact that your child is enrolled, his graduating year, for example, the degrees earned, honors, sports affiliations and contact information. But by law, the university's staff cannot disclose your child's grades, financial records or other forms without written authorization from your teen or a court order. Your child also has the right to withhold directory information, but he must file a "no release" form with the university ahead of time.
Also Known As: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, federal privacy laws
Common Misspellings: FIRPA