Parental Rights under FERPA

The right of access to information in a student's educational records is governed by a federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"). The right of access to other information, such as medical or counseling records, is governed by applicable state or federal law. As a general rule, students attending a college or university, regardless of age, have the right under FERPA to control disclosure of information from their educational records.

At the postsecondary education level, parents have no inherent rights to access or inspect their child's education records. At Rutgers University, records, including progress, deficiencies, and grades may be released to parents only if they have been given a written release by the student, regardless of the age or tax status of the student.

Students that wish to waive parts of this policy and allow their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to have more access to their information may use the FERPA RELEASE FORM. This completed form must be notarized and returned to the appropriate University Registrar as indicated on the form.

Consistent with its mission of educating students, Rutgers treats its students as adults, and supports them as they develop individual responsibility, maturity and independence. Rutgers respects the trust between students and parents or legal guardians, and is committed to maintaining effective relationships with students and parents or legal guardians. When a student chooses to enlist the support of parents(s) or legal guardian(s), the staff at Rutgers is happy to work in partnership with the student and parent(s) or legal guardian(s). By enabling students to take responsibility for their actions and engage the support of their parent(s) or legal guardian(s), Rutgers fosters students' learning and growth, and encourages them to mature into responsible, self-sufficient adults.

Categories of Information Which May Be Disclosed To Parents Without Student Consent

FERPA permits colleges and universities to make certain exceptions to this general rule and allows disclosure of certain directory information from a student's educational records without obtaining the student’s prior consent These include questions related to financial aid and certain safety or health emergencies. The applicable law and information which is disclosed to parents is described more fully below.

Rutgers reserves the right to disclose information from a student's educational records to parents or guardians under various circumstances without a student's prior consent. Typically, these disclosures fall into the following three categories:

  1. Rutgers may disclose information to parents in connection with financial aid for which the student has applied or received.

  2. Rutgers may notify the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of a student in connection with a serious injury or other health or safety emergency when deemed necessary to protect the health or the safety of the student or other individuals.

  3. Parents or guardian of students may be provided with information that the University has designated as "directory information" unless the student has specifically requested that directory information be kept confidential.

In those circumstances when Rutgers does not notify parent(s) or legal guardian(s), and when students choose not to involve their parent(s) or legal guardian(s). Nonetheless, students have an extensive support system available to them. Rutgers provides an array of resources and services within the university community including academic and psychological counseling, a drug and alcohol counseling and prevention program which includes mandatory counseling and education for students who violate university policies, and student health services, among others. All students have full use of services available to them on campus, subject to the policies and procedures which govern the utilization of those services.

Rutgers observes, and is guided by all laws and regulations regarding disclosures of information about students by an institution of higher learning. Nothing in this policy shall be construed to supersede any provision of federal and state laws governing such disclosures.

Questions about this policy or FERPA in general should be directed to the Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics and Compliance and the Universe Privacy Officer at either (973) 972-8093 or ferparu@rutgers.edu.