The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

  • Guides us in protecting the privacy of student educational records 
  • Applies to those institutions that regularly receive funding from the Department of Education 
  • Guarantees students three primary rights:
    1. Right to inspect and review education records
    2. Right to seek to amend education records
    3. Right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records
  • Guarantees these right to individuals who have reached the age of 18 or who attend a postsecondary institution 
  • Allows an institution to release information about a student without written consent:
    1. Name
    2. Curriculum
    3. Dates of attendance
    4. Degrees Awarded
  • Unless excepted by FERPA, a signed, written consent is required for the release of non-directory information from education records.
  • Students can sign a release of information form yearly that allows faculty and staff to talk with designated individuals about their education records.  These forms are maintained in the Registrar's Office.
  • An education record is information that is shared, recorded and maintained in any way 
    1. handwritten report or file
    2. printed documents
    3. computer images or data
    4. e-mail
    5. video or film
    6. photographs
    7. audio tape
    8. microfilm or microfiche
  • Gives students the right to restrict some or all of the information from their education records 
  • Allows release of information without prior written consent under the following conditions:
    1. to the student
    2. to school officials
    3. to schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll
    4. to Federal, state and local authorities involved in the audit or evaluation of compliance with education programs
    5. to comply with a judicial order or subpoena
    6. in connection with financial aid
    7. to organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of educational institutions
    8. to accrediting organizations
    9. to the parents of a dependent student (special guidelines apply)
    10. when a health or safety emergency is apparent
    11. when directory information is being released
    12. to an alleged victim of a crime of violence, the results of a disciplinary hearing may be disclosed.


  1. A good rule of thumb:  FERPA is to education as HIPPA is to medical/health information.
  2. Always call the Registrar's Office for guidance if you are unsure.
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