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Accessing Student Education Records

Last Updated: November 2019

Education records are considered confidential documents protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law designed to protect the privacy of, and provide access to, student education records. FERPA gives parents, legal guardians and students age 18 and older certain rights with respect to their education records, including, but not limited to:

  • The right to inspect and review education records within 45 days
  • The right to seek to amend education records
  • The right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records

Education Records

Education records are defined as those records that contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. Local education agencies (LEAs) are the main custodians of these records, not OSSE.

Education records include (but may not be limited to):

  • For schools and LEAs – enrollment, grades, class schedule, assessment scores, academic standing, academic transcripts, and special education records
  • For OSSE – enrollment, assessment scores, and special education records

Eligible Requesters

The law gives parents, legal guardians, and students age 18 and older the right to access the education records within 45 days, upon request for themselves or for a third party, such as an attorney. OSSE does not release education records without written and signed consent, consistent with FERPA.

Request Process

FERPA applies to public schools, LEAs, juvenile justice educational programs and state education agencies. As LEAs are the official, comprehensive source of student information, requests for student records should first be directed to the student’s LEA:

  • If the student attends a school that is part of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) (or attended a DCPS school that is now closed), request student records.
  • If the student attends an open District of Columbia public charter school, information about on how to access student records.
  • If the student attended a District of Columbia public charter school that is no longer in operation, information about how to access student records is available by calling (202) 328-2660 or emailing [email protected].

In the event a requester is unable to obtain the record(s) requested from the LEA, after the 45th day, the requester may reach out to OSSE by completing the following steps:

  • Submit a request, via email, along with a completed and signed Education Records Disclosure Authorization Form and documentation that shows when and to whom the requests were made of the LEA, to Yvonne Huelcher at [email protected].
  • Upon receipt, OSSE will review requests and process them in accordance with the guidance set forth under FERPA.

For additional information on FERPA, please visit the US Department of Education’s website. For any questions related to OSSE’s process, please contact Yvonne Huelcher at [email protected].

Education Records Amendment Request Form

Parents and guardians of students who are minors and students who have reached the age of 18 or who are attending a postsecondary institution at any age may request an amendment to education records that may be inaccurate, misleading or in violation of a student’s privacy rights. This form permits a parent, guardian or adult student to request the amendment or removal of specific education records held by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

Access the Education Records Amendment Request Form