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April 04, 2009

College privacy law

The federal government puts parents in an impossible situation with information about our college students (3/20, A-1, “Should schools tell parents about drinking problems?; A privacy law often keeps colleges from revealing grades, health or legal troubles”).

The federal government won’t help pay for college if your FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) indicates a family can pay. However, parents don’t have the right to know anything about their student or the education they are paying for unless the student allows it because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

If parents are expected to pay for college, we have a right to know what is happening to our students and our money. Parents, be strong and insist your child sign the waiver authorizing the university to release information to you if they want your money for college. Otherwise, let the student pay for college. Our children’s lives may depend on it.

 Martha R. Hadfield



Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

Reality Check

Under FERPA, parents who claim college students as dependents on their 1040s can access all student information. The trick? Access comes only after providing documentation to the registrar's office.

The other avenue is to refuse to sign a check until your child signs the FERPA waiver, as the letter suggests.

Either way, parents must be proactive, because parental access is not the default option.


Actually only SOME parents are mandated to pay for college. if you are married, you can not be forced to pay for college.
Id o agree that it is ridiculous that a parent can be held ONLY fiscally responsible but not be allowed any access or input on the child's progress pr lack there of. Whoever determined that a 21 0r 22 year old is a "child" must have been a lawyer and bureaucrat.

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