Every year, almost every student and parent asks our team members “Where can I find the FERPA waiver on the Common App?” This important form – which must be completed if you want your transcript and letters of recommendation sent to the colleges to which you are applying – can be found under the My Colleges section of your Common Application account. Below are step-by-step directions on where to access, and how to complete, the FERPA waiver.
How to Find the FERPA Waiver and Correctly Complete It
Just follow the steps below to access and successfully sign the FERPA waiver. Be sure you don’t complete this until after August 1 when the new and current Common Application becomes available:
Log onto your Common Application account
• Click on the MY COLLEGES tab
• Click on the 1st college that is listed (If you don’t have a college on your list yet go to the COLLEGE SEARCH tab and add a school then come back to this step)
• Click on RECOMMENDATIONS AND FERPA
• Under FERPA RELEASE AUTHORIZATION click on FERPA RELEASE AUTHORIZATION
• Check the box under the RELEASE AUTHORIZATION section that you have read and understand the waiver
• Check off under the FERPA the acknowledgement
• You then want to check off I WAIVE MY RIGHT TO REVIEW ALL RECOMMENDATIONS and then check off the bottom square box that your WAIVER SELECTION PERTAINS TO ALL COLLEGES
• Type in your name in the SIGNATURE box and either select or type in the date
• Once you complete all of the above, you will be brought back to the main MY COLLEGES page and you will see the RECOMMENDERS AND FERPA section checked off. It is important to know that this will not be checked off for all colleges that you list.
Note: If your school uses Naviance, after August 1, you can MATCH your Common App account to your high school Naviance account. Your FERPA, and waiving your right to view your letters of recommendation, will be carried over to Naviance along with the schools that you listed in your Common App.
Finding and completing the FERPA on the Common App is that simple! Now you are done and can move on to working on all of your applications and essays. Read our blog about Tips for the Common Application that could save you time and money.
Some Background Info on FERPA
What Actually Is FERPA?
FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This act protects the privacy of student education records. It gives parents or eligible students more control over their educational records, and it prohibits educational institutions from disclosing “personally identifiable information in education records” without the written consent of an eligible student, or if the student is a minor, the student’s parents.
So, what does FERPA have to do with applying to college?
Since a high school student who is applying to college has to send their official transcript and letters of recommendation, and potentially some other records, to the colleges they are applying to, the student has to allow their high school to do so, since they are the ones who house this information. Hence, the FERPA waiver! The student has to “sign” this waiver in order to allow their high school to send this information to the colleges. Sending this is predominantly done electronically, but can be completed by hand as well. You can’t apply to colleges without completing the FERPA waiver.
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