When Can Schools Release Your Education Records Without Consent Protecting Student Privacy

Education records hold a wealth of personal information about students. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs how schools handle these records and protects student privacy. However, some exceptions allow schools to disclose information without your consent. Let’s explore these exceptions and understand your rights under FERPA.

FERPA: Protecting Student Privacy

FERPA is a federal law that guarantees students and parents certain rights regarding education records. In general, schools need written permission to release any information from a student’s record.

Exceptions to FERPA: When Schools Can Disclose Without Consent

While FERPA protects privacy, there are situations where schools can disclose education records without consent. Here are some key exceptions:

School Officials with a Legitimate Educational Interest: Teachers, counselors, and administrators with a legitimate educational interest in a student’s record can access it.

Directory Information: Schools can disclose basic information like a student’s name, address, and phone number (directory information) without consent, but they must give parents a chance to opt-out.

Financial Aid: Schools can share information with organizations awarding financial aid.

Compliance with Law: Schools may disclose records pursuant to a court order, subpoena, or for health and safety emergencies.

Accrediting Organizations: Records can be shared with accrediting bodies evaluating the school.

State and Local Authorities: Information may be shared with juvenile justice or child welfare agencies under certain circumstances.

Research Studies: De-identified student data may be shared for anonymous research studies that benefit education.

Transferring Schools: Records can be sent to a school where a student intends to enroll.


FERPA safeguards student privacy, but there are exceptions where schools can disclose information without consent. Understanding these exceptions allows you to make informed decisions about your child’s education record. If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your school’s FERPA compliance officer for clarification. Remember, you have rights under FERPA, so be sure to exercise them.


  • Can I see my child’s education record?

Yes, under FERPA, parents and eligible students (generally those 18 or older) have the right to access their education records.

  • How can I opt-out of directory information disclosure?

Contact your school and request they withhold directory information from public release.

  • What if I disagree with something in my record?

FERPA allows you to request amendments to inaccurate or misleading information in your record.

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