What is FERPA? FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to educational records. The law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the US Department of Education. Go to www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco to learn more.
To which information does FERPA apply? FERPA applies to personally identifiable information in educational records. This includes items such as the student's name, names of family members, addresses, personal identifiers such as social security numbers, and personal characteristics or other information that make the student's identity easily traceable.
What are educational records? Educational records are all records that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting on its behalf. A record means any information recorded in any way, including handwriting, print, tape, film, microfilm, microfiche, digital images or other electronic means.
If students believe that such rights have been violated, they may contact the Family Policy Compliance Office at the Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave SW, Washington DC 2002-4605. Additional information is available at www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco.
Do students have a right to see and change their educational records? Upon written request, the university shall provide a student access to his or her educational records except for financial records of the student's parents or guardian; and confidential letters of recommendation where the student has signed a waiver of right of access. If the records contain information on more than one student, the requesting student may inspect, review, or be informed on only the specific information about his or her own records. A student may be charged a reasonable fee for copies of his or her educational records , official transcript of academic record, or an unofficial copy of the permanent academic record. Educational records covered by FERPA normally will be made available within forty-five days of the request. The contents of a student's educational records may be challenged by the student on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student by submitting a written statement to the custodian of records.
What is directory information? FERPA identifies certain information, called directory information, that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed without the student's permission. The university has designated the following information as directory information:
How do I restrict access to my directory information? A currently-enrolled student may restrict access to their directory information through On-Line Student Services. (Restricted information remains so until revoked by the student.)
Who has access to student educational records? According to FERPA, non-directory information may not be released without prior written consent from the student. Disclosure of records are permitted without consent to appropriate university administrators, faculty members, or staff members who require access to educational records in order to perform their legitimate educational duties; officials of other schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll; and in connection with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid, in response to a lawful judicial order or subpoena, a health or safety emergency, and parents of dependent students as documented by official federal tax statements.
What is legitimate educational interest? Legitimate educational interest is access to educational records by appropriate University administrators, faculty members, staff members, or contractors acting on behalf of the University, who require such access in order to perform their legitimate educational and business duties, when such records are needed in furtherance of the educational or business purposes of the student or University.
Whom should I contact with questions or concerns? General questions or concerns should be directed to the Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students.