Hello, I had a question about FERPA. I transferred from a college where I owed a debt, and now I’m unable to get my transcripts. I am sending in the FERPA form, however, I also read that after submitting the FERPA form, I can use the FOIA to help further? I’m not entirely sure what most of this is, and what I should do, exactly. Any response is greatly appreciated.

Hmm, never heard of a student using FOIA to obtain her own transcripts before. If anyone ELSE (other than you) made the request, state FOIA law would allow the university to deny the request on privacy grounds. Since it’s your own transcript, obviously that does not apply, so there doesn’t seem to be any good reason why a public-records request would NOT work. There’s certainly no HARM in trying to file a FOIA request (as long as it’s a state institution; private ones don’t have to obey FERPA) but the one down-side is this: Under FOIA law, most states allow an agency to charge for the time they spend retrieving documents, while FERPA says you have to be given access to your own records at no charge. The only good argument in favor of FOIA might be a quicker time response (FERPA allows the college to make you wait 45 days), but that’s a state-by-state roll-of-the-dice. A few states have a very short FOIA turnaround of 3, 5 or 10 days, but most just say the reply is due in a “reasonable time,” which might end up being 45 days anyway. If you do decide to try the FOIA route, we have a form at splc.org that you can try as a shortcut to create the letter, which you can then send to your registrar:  http://www.splc.org/page/lettergenerator