FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
A federal law designed to provide students with greater access to and control over information contained in their educational records. This law prohibits the release of certain information without express written consent from the student. Public information may be shared at the College's discretion and is defined in the catalog.
Read about the FERPA Student Records Policy
WHAT IS IT AND WHERE ARE THE RULES?
FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
The Family Policy and Compliance Office (FPCO) defines FERPA as a law that protects the privacy of student education records.
Federal FERPA Legislation (FPCO PDF current as of 2009)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR STUDENTS?
FERPA makes four guarantees to postsecondary students. These rights include the following:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA.
- The right to provide written consent before the University discloses personally identifiable information from the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
- 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.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR STAFF AND FACULTY?
- Only access those educational records you need to access as part of your job. Ask yourself, "Is this a legitimate educational need?"
- Do not post grades publicly. The public posting of grades either by the student's name, student number, or social security number without the student's written permission is a violation of FERPA.
- Do not email grade information. There is no guarantee of confidentiality on the Internet.
- Do not release without written authorization any of the following:
- Student number
- Grades/Exam Scores
- Grade Point Average
- Social Security Number
- Parent Address/Phone
- Detail of Registration Information (i.e., courses, times)
- Race, Ethnicity, or Nationality
- Date of Birth
- Total Credits
- Number of Credits Enrolled in a Quarter
- Emergency Contact
UNDERSTANDING DIRECTORY RELEASE
If the student has not restricted access to directory (or public) information, you may release the following:
- Telephone number
- E-mail address
- Enrollment status
- Degrees & awards received
- Most recent previous school attended
If a student has blocked release of directory information, you may not release any information about that student. We recommend you say, "I have no information about that individual."
Departments may not release non-directory or personally identifiable information about a student to a third party (parents included) without the student's written authorization. You may have the student fill out a consent-to-release form if the student wants you to speak with a third party. The student must sign a new form each time s/he allows you to release non-directory information.
WHERE DO I GO FOR GUIDANCE?
FERPA issues are sometimes confusing and the correct course of action is not always clear. You do not have to navigate the muddy FERPA waters alone! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance from the AIC Registrar on FERPA issues you encounter. If you encounter a FERPA breach, let us know. We are here to help.