FERPA for Parents

Access to Student Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended is a federal law intended to protect the privacy of student educational records accumulated from early childhood through college. FERPA provided parents with certain rights with respect to their children's education records. However, once a student reaches the age of 18 or enters college, the rights previously held by the parents transfer exclusively to the student.

Ordinarily, parents of Northern Illinois University students obtain information about their children's records directly from their children. FERPA does state that the University may release information to the parents of a student but is not required to do so. The Office of Registration and Records may disclose information to parents by:

  1. Parents may obtain the student's written consent. This would be in the form of a simple letter authorizing Registration and Records to disclose copies of scholastic and other records to his or her parent. OR
  2. Parents may submit a copy of the first page of their most recent income tax return indicating that the student is a dependent as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

The payment of a student's tuition by the parent does not, by itself, give the parent the right of access to a student's record. Questions concerning these procedures may be directed to the Office of Registration and Records at (815) 753-0681.

Additional information made available by College Parents of America on FERPA and parents may be found at http://www.collegeparents.org/members/resources/articles/ferpa-and-parents.