As students gear up for college application season, many are likely to come across the term FERPA agreement when using the Common App. But what exactly is FERPA, and why is it important?

FERPA, or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is a federal law that protects the privacy of students` education records. This includes grades, transcripts, disciplinary records, and other information that is maintained by educational institutions. FERPA was designed to give students and their families control over who can access their education records and how that information is used.

So why does FERPA come up in the context of the Common App? When students apply to colleges using the Common App platform, they have the option to sign a FERPA release form. This form allows schools to access the student`s education records, including transcripts and test scores, which can be used as part of the admissions process.

It`s important to note that signing the FERPA release form is optional. Students have the right to choose whether or not to allow colleges to access their education records when applying through the Common App. However, many colleges require applicants to sign the FERPA release form as a condition of applying.

If you do choose to sign the FERPA release form, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you should be aware that colleges are not allowed to share your education records with anyone else without your consent. This means that if you`ve authorized a school to access your transcripts, they cannot share that information with a third party, such as another college or an employer, without your permission.

Second, you should also know that the FERPA release form only applies to the specific colleges you`ve authorized to access your education records. If you later decide to apply to other schools, you will need to sign a new release form for those institutions.

Overall, the FERPA agreement is an important part of the college application process, but it`s also important to understand your rights and options when it comes to signing the release form. By staying informed and making careful decisions about who can access your education records, you can help protect your privacy and ensure that your application materials are used in a responsible and ethical manner.