The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Informational Guidelines

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 helps protect the privacy of student education records. The Act provides for the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records and to limit disclosure of information from the records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education.

What rights does FERPA afford students with respect to their education records?

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920

Who is protected under FERPA?

Students who are currently enrolled or formerly enrolled regardless of their age or status with regard to parental dependency. Students who have applied but have not attended an institution and deceased students do not come under FERPA guidelines.
Parents of students termed as "dependent” for income tax purposes may have access to the student’s education records. A copy of the parent’s most recent Federal Income Tax return, where the parents declared the student as a dependent, must be submitted to the Office of Student Records to document "dependency.”

What are education records?

With certain exceptions, an education record is any record

  1. from which a student can be personally identified and
  2. maintained by the university. A student has the right of access to these records.

Education records include any records in whatever medium (handwritten, print, magnetic tape, film, diskette, etc.) that are in the possession of any school official. This includes transcripts or other records obtained from a school in which a student was previously enrolled.

What is not included in an education record?

What is directory information?

Institutions may disclose information on a student without violating FERPA if it has designated that information as "directory information.” At College for Creative Studies this includes a student’s:

How does a student authorize release of their education record in the form of an academic transcript?

Students must authorize the release of their transcript by written request with signature or by completing and signing a transcript request form available in the Office of Registration. There is a $5.00 fee for transcripts. The receipt of a written request with signature to release an education record via fax is permissible.

Who may have access to student information?

When is the student’s consent not required to disclose information?

When the disclosure is:

How will increasing technology impact FERPA on our campus?

The use of computerized record-keeping systems is increasing at a fast pace. We can anticipate that the distribution of electronic data will eventually replace most paper documents and provide much information about students to school officials through desktop terminals. It is the responsibility of each school official to understand their legal responsibilities under FERPA. The same principles of confidentiality that apply to paper records also apply to electronic data.