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Parents' Rights Relating to Educational Records

When the student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student. This means that parents may not obtain any of their student's education records without the written consent of the student.

Since student grades are part of the education record, they are protected under FERPA and, therefore, may not be released to parents. Students have access to their semester grades in one of two ways:

  • online using eLion (
  • by submitting a request using eLion to have their grades mailed to them at their permanent address

In addition, students may provide consent for their parent to view grades and other portions of their education record via eLion as follows:

  1. A parent must have a Penn State User ID. Parents who do not have a current Penn State access account may obtain a "Friends of Penn State" account. Simply go to eLion and select "Parent/Other." Select "Create an Account" and follow the instructions to obtain a "Friends of Penn State" User ID.
  2. Parents must provide their Penn State User ID to their student.
  3. The student must grant their parent access in eLion by selecting "Parent/Other Access" on the left-hand menu, selecting "Continue," and following the instructions to grant access to the desired functions.

Once access has been granted by the student, the parent may log into eLion as Parent/Other, and select any of the approved functions.

It is important to note that Penn State does not have a means for students to unilaterally waive their FERPA rights. Penn State's procedure requires each release of any portion of the student's education record to a person or entity outside of the University to be individually approved by the student by working with the releasing department.

For more information, see the U.S. Department of Education's brochure, "Parents' Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act: Rights Regarding Children's Education Records."