How Parents Can Access Information on Their College Student

You'll need the proper paperwork to obtain grades, health records.

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My son will be starting college next year. He’ll be 18. Can we still get his grades and health-related information?- M.L., Farmville, Va.

When your son turns 18, you lose many parental rights unless you have special legal documents. A HIPAA authorization form signed by him will permit you to receive information from health care providers. A health care power of attorney naming you as his “medical agent” will allow you to make medical decisions for him if he is unable to do so. A Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) waiver, usually available from the college, lets you see his grades.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.