FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
WHAT IS FERPA?
FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (sometimes called the Buckley Amendment). Passed by Congress in 1974, the act grants four specific rights to the student:
- The right to see the information that the institution is keeping on the student
- The right to seek amendment to those records and in certain cases append a statement to the record
- The right to consent to disclosure of his/her records
- The right to file a complaint with the FERPA office in Washington, DC
THE BASIC RULES
Review the following information:
- Student educational records are considered confidential and may not be released without the written consent of the student.
- As a faculty or staff member, you have a responsibility to protect educational records in your possession.
- Some information is considered public (sometimes called “directory information”); this info can be released without the student’s written permission; however, the student may opt to consider this info confidential as well; directory information is a student’s name, class standing, school/division, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards, recognized student activities, sports, athletics information, and current enrollment status; a student’s address and telephone number are also public information unless they have filed a form with the registrar to keep these private.
- You have access to information only for legitimate use in completion of your responsibilities as a college employee; “need to know” is the basic principle.
- If you are ever in doubt, do not release any information until you contact the Office of the Registrar at 218-335-4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org; the Office of the Registrar is responsible for student record information.
WHAT IS A STUDENT EDUCATIONAL RECORD?
Just about any information provided by a student to the college for use in the educational process is considered a student educational record. Here are some examples:
- Personal information
- Enrollment records
The storage media in which you find this information does not matter. Student educational records may be contained in the following media:
- Documents in the registrar’s office
- Computer printouts in your office
- Class lists on your desktop
- Computer display screens
- Notes you have taken during an advisement session
SPECIAL DON’TS FOR FACULTY
To avoid violating FERPA rules, do not do any of the following:
- Use a part of or the entire student identification number or Social Security number of a student in a public posting of grades
- Link the name of a student with that student’s identification number or Social Security number in any public manner
- Leave graded tests in a stack for students to pick up by sorting through the papers of all students
- Circulate a printed class list with student name and student identification number, or Social Security number or grades, as an attendance roster
- Discuss the progress of a student with anyone other than the student (including parents) without the consent of the student
- Provide anyone with lists of students enrolled in your classes for any commercial purpose
- Provide anyone with student schedules or assist anyone other than college employees in finding a student on campus
Students are encouraged to contact the Registrar if they have questions about this policy. The Registrar may be reached by calling (218) 335-4222, emailing email@example.com, or writing to: 6945 Little Wolf Rd. NW, Cass Lake MN 56633
For additional information, you may call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327) (voice). Individuals who use TDD may use the Federal Relay Service.
Or you may contact us at the following address:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-852