FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the "Buckley Amendment." As the U.S. Department of Education notes, The FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student's education records. The law applies to all schools which receive funds under applicable program from the U.S. Department of Education.
Essentially, any institution which receives federal financial aid funds must comply with FERPA. The FERPA gives certain rights to parents regarding their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student or former student who has reached the age of 18 or is attending any school beyond the high school level.
Parents, once your son or daughter comes to AU, he or she is automatically protected by the FERPA legislation. This is a positive safeguard that is intended to protect your student. While it does protect your student, the FERPA also prohibits the university from releasing information about his or her record to you. American University complies fully with the FERPA. The University Policy on Confidentiality of Student Records can be accessed here.
Students may grant access to their education records to parents or other third parties. To do so, they will need to submit a Student Authorization to Release Education Records request. Note that this electronic form is only available to current students and will require authentication with AU username and password.