Lookout for FEPRA and HIPAA forms when your child starts college

When your child starts as a fresher in the college moving into the college dorm, you pay attention to his minutest needs right from paying the tuition and other bills, his clothes, fridge, packaged food and everything else, but you are apt to forget about two important forms you need to sign to access all critical information about your college student.

First form your child needs to sign is the one which authorizes you to view their academic records. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 provides parents the right to see academic records. However, “when a student turns 18 years old or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to parents under FERPA transfer to the student.” This means that if the form is not signed by the student, you cannot see those records.

Another form which needs to be completed by your child is the HIPAA form (The Health Insurance Privacy and  Accountability Act) authorizing you access to health information.

However, in some cases disclosure to parents is allowable without the student’s consent.

According to the US Department of Education “Balancing Student Privacy and School Safety, such cases include:

Schools may disclose education records to parents if the student is a dependent for income tax purposes or if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.

Schools may inform parents if the student who is under age 21 has violated any law or its policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

A school official may generally share with a parent such information that is based on that official’s personal knowledge or observation of the student.