FERPA Overview

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that affords parents the right to have access to their children’s education records, the right to seek to have records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records. When a student turns 18 years old, or enters postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from parents to students (“eligible student”). The FERPA statute is found at 20 U.S.C. 1232g and the FERPA regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99. ©2004 ED.GOV

To Avoid FERPA Violation Do Not:

What are education records?

With certain exceptions, a student has rights of access to those records which are directly related to him/her and which are maintained by an educational institution or party authorized to keep records for the institution. “Education Records” generally include any records in the possession of the institution which contain information directly related to a student, with the exception of those addressed below. FERPA contains no requirement that certain records be kept at all. This is a matter of institutional policy and/or state regulation. The records may be handwritten or in the form of print, computer, magnetic tape, email, film, or some other medium. FERPA coverage includes records, files, documents, and data directly related to students. This would include transcripts or other records obtained from a school in which a student was previously enrolled.

The following items are not considered educational records:

If I am a parent of a college student, do I have the right to see my child’s education records, especially if I pay the bill?

As noted above, the rights under FERPA transfer from parent to student, once the student is over 18 or enters a postsecondary school at any age. However, although the rights under FERPA have no transferred to the student, a school may disclose information from an “eligible student’s” education records to the parents of the student, without the student’s consent, if the student is a dependent for tax purposes. Neither the age of the student nor the parent’s status as custodial is relevant. If a student is claimed as a dependent by either parent for tax purposes, then either parent may have access under this provision. ©2004 ED.GOV

What information may we release from the student’s record?

Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or student in order to release any information for the education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34CFR 99.31)

Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow them a reasonable amount of time to request that schools not disclose this information. Schools must notify them annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of the school.

FERPA Information You May/May Not Give Out

Information you may give out:

Information you may not give out:

FERPA Suggestions to Avoid Violation