Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
FERPA is a federal law that gives eligible students certain rights with respect to their education records. FERPA gives students the following rights:
- The right to inspect and review their education records;
- The right to control disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their education records;
- The right to request amendments to their education records when those records are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy or other rights;
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if the University violates FERPA regulations. The student should first file a complaint with the director of the University department responsible for the records in question. If the University fails to provide a satisfactory response, the student may submit a written complaint to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920
FERPA prohibits the University from releasing specific student account information to anyone other than the student without the student’s authorization. USFSCO utilizes the Authorized Payer functionality within UI-Pay as a FERPA release authorization.
When a student grants Authorized Payer access to an individual, the student is also granting USFSCO permission to share specific account information with that Authorized Payer. If the student does not want an Authorized Payer to receive specific account information, the student must cancel that individual’s Authorized Payer access.
FERPA was enacted to give students access to their education records and to protect their privacy. Unless a student is legally dependent, the University is prohibited by FERPA from releasing student account information to a parent or guardian without the student’s consent. A current tax return naming the student as a dependent is sufficient documentation to substantiate dependency for FERPA purposes. Upon receipt of a qualifying tax return, USFSCO will release student account information by email, phone or mail to the parent(s) or guardian(s).
A tax return is valid for only one academic year and does not grant the parent or guardian online access to the student’s account. The most effective means of ensuring that parents or guardians receive full access to their student’s account information is to have the student set them up as an Authorized Payer.