The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Parents remain a key influence on a college student's life, and their guidance can make a difference. However, there is a federal law that guides what information can be released to a parent entitled The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly known as the "Buckley Amendment" or "FERPA." This law strictly protects students' privacy concerning educational records while in college.
According to FERPA, students who are either 18 years old or enrolled in a postsecondary institution become the sole owners of their school records. Therefore, any correspondence pertaining to financial aid, student accounts, grades, or disciplinary action is sent directly to the student.
Under FERPA, parents do not have any guaranteed rights to access the records of their children. Moreover, the university will not release copies of records to other parties, including parents, except in the extraordinary event of a valid state or federal order.
It is important for you to recognize that as administrators, staff, and faculty, we are not intentionally trying to exclude parents from receiving information, but simply following the guidelines established by FERPA.
And so in this light, we encourage an open and active dialogue to exist between student and parents. For further information on Carnegie Mellon's policies regarding student privacy, please refer to the Enrollment Services Students Right to Privacy Information page and the official university Policy on Student Privacy Rights.
Please contact Kurt Larsen, Assistant Dean, College of Engineering, at 412.268.2479 with any questions or concerns.
For further information, you can call the U.S. Department of Education at 202.260.3887. Individuals who use TDD can call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1.800.877.8339.