FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that dictates what information university faculty and staff may share about a student. When a student is under the age of eighteen, parents have certain rights to know about a student’s educational records, including grades. Once the student turns eighteen or attends a school beyond the high school level, these rights transfer to the student and the student must grant the university permission to release the information to third parties.
Third parties, in this case, includes parents. This can present a barrier for parents who wish to be more involved in their students’ academic career and can cause frustration when they call the university to inquire about a student’s performance. Without a FERPA release form on file, the university cannot release information to the parents.
At Florida Tech, students can fill out an Authorization for Release of Information to permit parents/guardians to discuss grades and academic performance with university faculty and staff. This form can be given to the Registrar’s Office; however, it is important to remember that the student must fill out and sign the form, not the parents.