|The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
FERPA is defined as a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records and provides guidelines for the inspection, review and request for correction of inaccuracies discovered in the information either through formal and informal hearings.
FERPA provides rights to parents with regard to their children’s academic records. When the students achieves the age of 18, the rights are transferred to the student, which are referred to as “eligible” students. Parents and eligible students may request to inspect and review their education records and can ask schools to correct any errors found on their records. Schools that are releasing a student’s information are required to have written permission by the parent or eligible student prior to release of information.
FERPA does allow schools to disclose information without consent under the conditions that follow as reported by the U.S. Department of Education
- 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 organizations;
- 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 justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Educational institutions found to be in violation of the Act may lose Federal funding. Since the Act has been enacted, no institutions have had their Federal funding withdrawn. For more information, including training material and guides, visit the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Office site.
Recent changes to FERPA have redefined terms of attendance, education records, personally identifiable information and others and clarifies disclosures and when they are applicable. To obtain additional details on these changes, download Family Educational Rights and Privacy Final Rule.