Ask the Experts

Why Won’t My Child’s College Let Me Check His Grades?

“My son is a college freshman with ADHD. I suspect that he is missing classes and not turning in assignments, but I can’t get any information from the school. Help!”

There isn’t much you can do in this situation, other than trying to get your son to understand that there are no “do overs” in college if he fails or gets poor grades because he isn’t doing his work or doesn’t arrange for (or use) accommodations.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that controls who has the right to receive the education records of a student — things like grades, transcripts, course information, and student-discipline files. For K-12 students under 18, the right to access such information belongs to the parents, but once a student turns 18, or enrolls in college, all rights to education records transfer to the student. Parents no longer have direct access to any of this information. Of course, your son can always share this information with you — and I hope that you can persuade him that it would be in his best interest to do so.