FERPA Guidance for Students: Legitimate Educational Interest

FERPA Guidance for Students: Legitimate Educational Interest

Under the new FERPA rules, a parent has the right to access education records of their children. The law also grants the parent/s freedom to request an update of the records. The parent is given some discretion over the dissemination of information contained in the records that can be publicly identified.

After the child attains the age of 18 years, the privileges are lifted from the parent and are granted to the child. In other words, the child becomes eligible and can exercise all the rights without consent from the parent. The FERPA law is enforced at 20 USC 1232g, and the rules are enforced at 34 CFR Part 99.

Responsibility of educational institutions

Educational institutions and agencies have a mandate to inform parents plus eligible students concerning the rights they have under FERPA guidelines sec. 99.7. as contained in the FERPA website.

According to the rule, the schools don’t need to notify the parents at an individual level. However, they must find the most appropriate way to notify them and include eligible students.

Exceptions of information disclosure by schools

As per FERPA rules section 99.3, schools can disclose directory information as long as it follows protocols explained in FERPA laws 34 CFR and 99.3 –a/11.

Meaning of directory information

According to FERPA, directory information means any student’s information found in the school records that cannot be termed as an infringement to the student’s privacy rights. Basically, information that can be accessed from a directory includes the child’s name, physical and postal address, telephone contact, details of birth date and place, any extracurricular activities, and the corresponding dates.

The school has a right to disclose all this information to a third party as long as they have given notice of disclosure. If a parent or eligible student wants to restrict disclosure, they must inform the school in writing within the time set under FERPA rules.

The school has a right not to notify the parents or eligible student in person but can place a notice in a local newspaper, the school’s website, newsletter, or student’s handbook.

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Rights of parents with college students

As stated earlier, FERPA rights are lifted from the parent and bestowed upon the child once the child attains the age of 18 years or enters a post-high school institution.

There are some exceptions, though – even if the FERPA rights have been withdrawn from the parent and transferred to the student, the school has a right to disclose directory information of an eligible student without his or her consent. The right to the school is applicable if the child is dependent for tax reasons.

Disclosure of directory information by post-secondary institutions

A post-secondary institution may disclose directory information of an eligible student if the student is still dependent on the parents or guardians. The disclosure can include the eligible student’s financial information. If the student is independent, he or she has to give consent before their information is disclosed.

High school minors attending lessons at a local college

If a student enrolled in a local college, the rights automatically transfer to the child regardless of age. If he or she is enrolled in a college and high school at the same time, the two institutions have a right to exchange directory information. The parents retain the rights.

What if a college student violates the law concerning drug and alcohol use?

Under the FERPA laws, the college has right to disclose eligible student’s information if he or she abuses the drugs and alcohol rule as long as they are under 21 years at the time of discloser. If the students are still dependent, the college can disclose regardless of the student’s age.


The FERPA saw the need to set rules to help parents access their children’s information from school files. The school has a right to take discretion before disseminating such information. The situation must be legitimate and the school must establish the person/s as the legitimate parent/s. a student who reaches the age of 18 years is regarded as having attained adult age and is set free from the parent.

Author’s Bio:

Vendy Adams works for a marketing agency as a senior consultant and is the key employee who coordinates with new businesses to strike a deal. She’s a talented content writer as well and works for a writing agency as a blog and research paper writer. In her free time, she watches drama movies, likes doing oil painting and reading motivational books.

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