The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law enacted in 1974 to protect the privacy of student education records. The law applies to those institutions that regularly receive federal funding from the Department of Education and is enforced by the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education.
More information regarding FERPA can be found on the US Dept of Education website.FERPA Info for StudentsFERPA Info for Parents
Generally, schools must have written permission from the eligible student to release any information from a student’s educational records. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting agencies;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies;
- and State and local authorities, within a juvenile system, pursuant to specific State law.
Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell eligible students about directory information and allow eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a course schedule, student handbook or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
How can FERPA violation cases be reported?
Complaints of alleged violations may be addressed to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
US Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5920