Family Rights under FERPA

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are eligible students.

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless—for reasons such as great distance—it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
  • Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records that they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record the parent or eligible student has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing—if the school still decides not to amend the record—the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.

Schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. FERPA does allow schools to disclose those records without consent to the following parties or under the following conditions:

  • Accrediting organizations
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring
  • School officials with legitimate educational interest
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
  • State and local authorities  within a juvenile justice system pursuant to specific state law
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena

Schools may disclose—without consent—directory information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards and dates of attendance. Schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification—special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook or newspaper article—is left to the discretion of each school.

For additional information please call (800) 872-5327. Individuals who use TDD may use the Federal Relay Service. You may also contact us at the following address:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington D.C. 20202-8520 USA

WMU supports the rights of students under FERPA to choose to whom they disclose their academic and financial information. To facilitate and encourage dialogue between students and their families the University offers two ways to support this interaction:

  1. Students can grant authorized user access to the person or persons of their choosing. Those granted access may view certain academic and financial aid information through the student information system. Access to this information is restricted to what is available in the system and has been authorized by the student.
  2. Students can choose to sign a waiver allowing a faculty or staff member to discuss their records with parents.

In both cases the choice to grant access is the student’s and the student has the right to revoke this access at any time.

FERPA brochure