The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a United States federal law that was passed in 1974. The law applies to any school who receives federal funds from the United States Department of Education. The act entitles parents to access to their educational records, a chance to appeal to have their records amended, and some opportunity to control the disclosure of their records. These rights are transferred to the student when they reach age 18 or begin post-high school schooling.
FERPA provides the right for: Parents and students who are eligible to look at the student’s records that a school has on that student. The school does not have to give a copy of the records, but are able to do so if they choose. Schools are allowed to charge a fee for making copies.
FERPA allows for repeal if: Parents and students who are eligible feel like their records are incorrect or inaccurate. If the parent and/or student are not satisfied with the school’s decision, they are entitled to a formal hearing. Once the hearing is complete, the parent and/or student may submit a statement that will be attached to their records stating their view about the repealed information.
FERPA requires you to have written permission to release any student record information except: when certain criteria are met according to the law. Those include:
- Issues concerning financial aid with a student
- Other school officials with justifiable school related issues
- Another school that the student transferred to
- Organizations associated with accreditation
- Cases of health and safety emergencies
- For a subpoena or to obey a judicial order
- Organizations associated with a school study
- Officials conducting an audit or evaluation of the school
- State and local authorities representing law enforcement
FERPA allows schools to disclose certain information called: directory information. These include the student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. Schools are required to notify parents and/or students who are eligible about directory information. Parents and/or students who are eligible are able to request that directory information is not disclosed.
FERPA requires schools to: notify parents and/or students who are eligible annually of the rights under FERPA. The way the school chooses to notify parents and/or students who are eligible is up to each individual school.
FERPA does not require schools: to keep certain records or records that keep specific information. It only requires schools to protect the privacy of the records they do keep. The school is also allowed to destroy records at any time without permission from the parent and/or student who is eligible.