Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is about paying for college, but it’s something parents of college-bound students need to know about.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a bit like HIPAA for student records: it prohibits release of a student’s education records without their consent. Generally this is a good thing: with limited exceptions, third parties can’t access a student’s academic record without permission.

Up until age 18, parents hold the student’s FERPA rights, but at age 18, those rights transfer to the student. That means that you will not receive your student’s transcript or other academic records unless they complete a FERPA release authorizing you to receive that information.

Once your student matriculates at a college, and before they leave for college, have them complete the school’s FERPA release to authorize disclosure to you.

And while you’re at it, confirm with their doctor that you have a HIPAA release in place too before they head off to college.

Details on FERPA are here.