The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives the right of access to the education records of students attending the University to the students themselves, regardless of age. Even if a student is a minor, parents may not access student education records without consent of the student, or unless an exception to FERPA applies. Please see the University’s complete FERPA policy for more information. http://policy.sites.unc.edu/files/2013/05/FERPA.pdf.

One of these exceptions is where a student is a tax dependent. If a student is claimed as a dependent on his/her parent’s federal income tax return, either of the student’s parents may obtain access to the student’s education records without the student’s prior written consent. To be eligible to receive information under this section, the parent must complete a Parent(s) Certification of Student’s Dependent Status for Federal Income Tax Purposes form and submit it to the Office of the University Registrar along with a copy of his/her federal income tax return for the tax year in question.

Because tax dependency can change from year to year, parents who wish to establish eligibility to receive information from their student’s education records must complete a new certification and submit their most recent federal tax returns each year. When the Office of the University Registrar receives a completed certification and attachment, it images the documents and indexes them so they can be retrieved.

University employees in other offices who receive requests for student information from parents call the Office of the University Registrar to verify that the parents are legally qualified to receive the information. Upon request the Office of the University Registrar will send a copy of the imaged form to the requesting department for its files.