Know Your Rights: Education Records

Know Your Rights: Education Records

Education records can consist of anything that is directly related to you/your child and maintained by a school or other educational agency. They could include information such as

  • birthdate
  • Social Security number
  • test scores
  • grades
  • class standing
  • health information
  • physical description
  • attendance records
  • discipline reports
  • ethnic background
  • political and religious affiliations
  • special education records 

Schools that receive federal funds must comply with a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which gives parents and students who are 18 or older (or attend post-secondary school) privacy rights regarding their education records.

Access and Review Your Education Records

You can request to review your education records from a school or agency. They must make them available within 45 days.

Parents of adult-age children can receive information from their child’s education records when the health or safety of the child or another person is threatened.

Dispute Errors and Request Amendments to Your Education Records

You can request that a school or agency correct or change any information you think is wrong, misleading or violates your privacy. If your information isn’t corrected or changed within a reasonable period of time, you have a right to a hearing. If your request is denied, you can include a statement in the record.

Approve or Deny Disclosure of Your Education Records

Usually you must give written consent before someone can access your/your child's education records. There are also situations where your consent isn't required and where you must opt out.

Military Recruiters

Military recruiters have access to high school students’ names, addresses and phone numbers unless you opt out. You will likely receive a notice at the beginning of the year allowing you to do so.

Directory Information

A school must notify you of the types of information it considers directory information and offer you the chance to request it not be disclosed. Directory information can include

  • name
  • address
  • phone number
  • email address
  • photo
  • date and place of birth
  • major
  • grade level
  • enrollment status
  • sports participation
  • dates of attendance
  • degrees and awards

File Complaints with the U.S. Department of Education

If you think a school has violated your/your child’s education record rights, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Privacy Policy Office. If you do, you’ll have to file it within 180 days of the violation (or the date that you knew of it).