Ask the FERPA Professor

Good morning,

Out Student Account Services office has asked if they are permitted to give financial information to 3rd party payers under FERPA.  Financial information is not listed as directory information, but I am unsure if it is even covered under FERPA.  I read there is no consent required for “financial aid” needs, but I didn’t see anything from a Student Accounts side (i.e. the office where students or 3rd parties may submit tuition payments). Any guidance you may have is appreciated.

Thank you,

Beth Toven


Dear Beth,

Student account information maintained by the institution would be education records subject to FERPA.  This information cannot be "directory information" under FERPA and generally any disclosure would require a signed consent from the student.  However, as you noted, one of the exceptions to signed consent is the financial aid exception.  See §99.31(a)(4) of the FERPA regulations.  You can find this language on page 160 of the 2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.  Whether or not you could disclose under this exception depends on the conditions contained on the application for the aid signed by the student.  Such conditions would ordinarily provide for the disclosure of any information necessary for the payment of funds associated with the financial aid.  Otherwise, if a third party payer such a family member, for example, wants financial information on the student, this disclosure would generally require a signed consent from the student or to meet one of the other exceptions to signed consent found in §99.31.

I hope this is helpful in responding to your inquiry and hope you had a wonderful holiday season.


The FERPA Professor

Please check out our Ask the FERPA Professor archives for more insight from the professor.

Want the Professor to come to your campus? Visit our FERPA compliance training page.

Register now for Registrar 101 & FERPA Two-Day Workshop with the FERPA Professor, March 24-25 in Orlando, Florida, ahead of the AACRAO Annual Meeting. Spend two days diving into the work of the Registrar's Office. This workshop is for those new to the profession and will address many of the 'what' and 'how' questions that make up the work of the registrar. A significant portion of the workshop will focus on understanding and applying FERPA. Attendees will leave the workshop with a greater understanding of the depth and breadth of the work of the registrar, where to find information and answers, and a solid network of professional colleagues. Presenters: LeRoy Rooker, AACRAO; Kimra Schipporeit, University of Nebraska at Kearney; Daniel Weber, Northern Illinois University.

Send your questions for the FERPA Professor to