FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act* (also known as the Buckley Amendment). Passed by Congress in 1974, FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the protection of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings. The act grants specific rights to the student:
Such things as progress in a course, deficiencies in a subject area, scores and grades on papers, exams, and similar items are all examples of personally identifiable information that make up part of the student's education record.
This information is protected under FERPA and parents may not have access unless the student has provided written authorization that specifically identifies what information may be released to the parent(s). Payment of a student's tuition by a parent or guardian does not, by itself, give the parent or guardian right of access to a student's education records.
At the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent right to access or inspect their son's or daughter's education records. This right is limited solely to the student. At DigiPen, records may be released to parents only if they have been given a written release by the student or in compliance with a parental affidavit.
*The full text of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act is available at the U.S. Government Publishing Office's website.