What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (FERPA) is a federal law that sets forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records. FERPA governs the release of these records (known as education records) maintained by an educational institution and access to these records. When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student. The FERPA statute is found at 20 U.S.C § 1232g and the FERPA regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99. http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/faq.html.
What constitutes an education record?
An education record is any record that contains information directly related to a student that is maintained by the institution. This includes, but is not limited to, grade information, disciplinary documentation, billing, financial aid data, and medical records.
What are the rights of students?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, protects the privacy of student education records. It gives students the right to inspect and review their educational records; the right to request the amendment of their education records that students believe are inaccurate or misleading; the right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent; and the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA. Ultimately, an institution's failure to comply with FERPA can mean the withdrawal of federal funds by the Department of Education.
What procedures should students follow to inspect and review their education records?
Students should submit to the record custodian or an appropriate University staff person a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records they wish to inspect. The record custodian or an appropriate University staff person will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained in the University Registrar's Office, the University Registrar will advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. Access must be given within 45 days of the day the University received a request for access.
Under what circumstances may an institution disclose information from education records without consent?
There are several exceptions to FERPA's general prior consent rule that are set for in the statute and the regulations. See § 99.31 of the FERPA regulations. One exception is the disclosure of "directory information" as set forth in FERPA guidelines. (34 CFR § 99.31(a) (11).)
What is directory information?
FERPA defines "directory information" as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Northwestern State University defines directory information as the following: student's name; mailing address; e-mail address; photograph; telephone number; dates of attendance; enrollment status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate, full-time, or part-time); major field of study; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams; degrees, honors and awards received, including naming to honor rolls; and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.
How do students notify the university that they would like their directory information handled as confidential information?
Students may choose to have their directory information marked confidential at any time by printing the form, completing, signing, dating, and mailing or faxing the form to the University Registrar's Office. Form: