What are FERPA rights?
Students have three (3) primary rights under FERPA. They have the right to 1) inspect and review their education records; 2) control certain disclosures of information from their education record, and 3) seek to amend their education records, under certain circumstances.
What are education records?
Under FERPA, education records are defined as records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a third party acting on behalf of the agency or institution. Education records can exist in any medium. Examples include: handwritten notes, computer files/generated information, printed information, video or audio tapes, film, microfilm or microfiche.
When do FERPA rights begin?
Once a student has enrolled in college courses, his/her records are covered under FERPA, regardless of the student’s age, and regardless of who is paying for the student’s education. This includes high school students enrolled in college classes.
Parent’s access to a student’s records
At the postsecondary level, parents have no inherent right to access their son’s or daughter’s education records. The right is limited to the student. The student may submit a ‘Consent for Release of Education Records’ form available online or in the Registrar’s Office if he/she chooses to grant access to parents, spouse, or others.
Withholding the release of information
Students have the right to restrict the release of directory information by submitting a ‘Request to Restrict Directory Information’ form available online or in the Registrar’s Office. The form must be submitted in person to the Registrar’s Office with a photo I.D. The restriction to release directory information will apply to all who inquire, including the student, with the exception of emergency situations, subpoenas, court orders, and an educational ‘need to know’ for appropriate faculty or staff. Students who wish to restrict the release of directory information should note that THIS ACTION COULD HAVE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES. The names of students who have restricted their directory information will not appear in the commencement bulletin and other college publications. In addition, employers, credit card companies, lenders, scholarship committees, etc. will not be given any of your directory information.
In addition to directory information, if non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. Factors considered in making this assessment are: the severity of the threat to the health or safety of those involved, the need for the information, the time required to deal with the emergency, and the parties to whom the information is to be given to deal with the emergency.
Who to contact with questions/concerns
If you have questions regarding FERPA, contact the Registrar’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-518-2119.