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Forum Guide to the Privacy of Student Information
NCES 2006-805
July 2006

Annual Notification and Rights of Parents

FERPA regulations require that local education agencies give annual notification to parents and eligible students of their rights under FERPA (34 CFR § 99.7). The law does not requires agencies to notify parents and eligible students individually, but agencies must provide notification where they are likely to see it. In addition, education institutions must make provisions to effectively inform individuals with a disability or whose primary language is not English.

The annual notification process must ensure that parents understand that they have the right to:

  • inspect and review their child's record;
  • seek to amend the record if they believe it to be inaccurate;
  • consent (or not) to disclosures of personally identifiable information; and
  • file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning the district's failures to comply with FERPA.

Either parent has the right to review an education record unless there is evidence of a court order or state law revoking or restricting these rights. Parents may access the education records of eligible students if they claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes. However, agencies may require verification of the requester's relationship with the child before providing access to records.

The right of parents to access information is limited to their own child or children. If the education record includes information about other students, that information must be removed prior to disclosure so that parents do not have access to any other child's records. (34 CFR § 99.12)

When parents (or eligible students) request to review their records, the education institution must respond within 45 days, even if these records are kept by an outside party acting for the school. During these 45 days, the education institution cannot destroy any of the requested records.

For more in-depth information on directory information, disclosure of student information, and annual notification to parents, see the Forum Guide to Protecting the Privacy of Student Information: State and Local Education Agencies (National Forum on Education Statistics, 2004).

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