Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
. What is FERPA?
. What rights does FERPA give students?
. What are and are not educational records?
. How many types of educational records are there?
. What is directory information at Trinity?
. How can a student withhold directory information?
. What rights do parents have under FERPA?
. What information can we release without student consent?
. What documents does a student not have a right to see?
. What if I have a question on what can or cannot be released under FERPA?
- The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly known as FERPA or the Buckley Amendment, is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records
- FERPA is a Federal Law
- It applies to all educational agencies or institutions that receive funds under any program administered by the Secretary of Education
What rights does FERPA give students?
FERPA gives eligible students certain rights with respect to their educational records. Eligible students are 18 years of age or older or attend a postsecondary institution. These rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days after the day Trinity Christian College receives a request for access.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
- The right to provide written consent before the school 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 Trinity Christian College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
For more information, please see the Notification of Rights under FERPA.
- Records may include files, documents, and materials in any medium (handwriting, print, tapes, disks, film, microfilm, microfiche)
- Included are records kept by the school in the form of student files, student system databases kept in storage devices such as servers, or recordings or broadcasts which may include student projects.
What are not considered education records?
The following items are not considered educational records under FERPA:
- Private notes of individual staff or faculty (not kept in student advising folders and not shared with others);
- Campus police records;
- Medical and treatment records;
- Statistical data compilations that contain no mention of personally identifiable information about any specific student.
- Employment records when employment is not contingent on being a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's employment
- Alumni records created by an institution after a student has left the school unrelated to the student’s time as a student.
Faculty notes, data compilation, and administrative records kept exclusively by the maker of the records that are not accessible or revealed to anyone else are not considered educational records and, therefore, fall outside of the FERPA disclosure guidelines.
- Directory Information
This is information contained in an educational record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Under a strict reading of FERPA, a school may disclose this type of information without the written consent of the student. However, a student may exercise the option to restrict the release of directory information by submitting a formal request to the school to limit disclosure.
- Non-directory Information
This is any educational record not considered directory information. Non-directory information is not released to anyone, including parents of the student, without the prior written consent of the student. Further, faculty and staff can access non-directory information only if they have a legitimate academic need to do so.
Directory information includes:
- Student's full name
- College assigned e-mail address
- Telephone listings
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Degrees and awards received
- Dates of attendance
- Most recent previous school attended
- Classification: Full-time or Part-time
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
Non-directory information includes:
- Social security numbers;
- Student identification number;
- Race, ethnicity, and/or nationality;
- Transcripts; grade reports
Transcripts are non-directory information and, therefore, are protected educational records under FERPA. Students have a right to privacy regarding transcripts held by the school wherein third parties seek transcript copies.
How can a student withhold directory information?
The student must request that information be withheld by completing a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form to prevent release of directory information. The withhold directory flag will be put on the academic record when the student requests it in writing using the form. The withhold directory flag remains in effect until the student requests in writing that it be removed.
- FERPA gives certain rights to parents regarding their children's educational records. Rights transfer to the student when the student reaches age 18 or begins attending any school beyond the secondary level.
- When may a parent access a student's educational records?
- Parents of a student termed "dependent" for income tax purposes may have access to the student's education records.
- Access is granted to both the parent who claims the student as well as the parent who is not claiming the student.
- A copy of the parent's most recent Federal Income Tax return, wherein the parent/s declared the student as a dependent, must be submitted to document "dependency."
- How can a parent access student information if the student is not being claimed by either parent for Federal income tax purposes?
- A parent may access student information but may not act on the student's behalf except in emergency situations.
The law allows disclosure without consent to:
- School employees who have a legitimate educational interest
- Other schools, upon request, in which a student is seeking or intending to enroll
- Accrediting organizations
- Organizations doing certain studies for or on behalf of the University
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student to determine eligibility, amount or conditions of financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of aid.
- Parents when a student over 18 is still a dependent
- Federal, state and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with educational programs
- Individuals who have obtained a judicial order or subpoena
- School officials who have a need to know concerning disciplinary action taken against a student
- Appropriate parties who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies when necessary to protect the health and safety of the student and/or others
- State and local authorities, within the juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law
- Alleged victim of a crime of violence the results of a disciplinary proceeding with respect to that crime
- Parent or legal guardian of a student under the age of 21, information regarding any violation of university policy or state, federal or local law, governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance
- Those requesting directory information on a student provided the student has not requested his or her information be withheld
- Financial information submitted by parents
- Confidential letters and recommendations placed in student's file before 1/1/75
- Confidential letters, etc., associated with admissions, employment, job placement or honors to which a student has waived rights of inspection and review
- Educational records containing information about other students such as
- Test scores, etc.