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FERPA. Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act Information Releases Throughout the Institution Requirements and Good Practices. Four Basic Rights Under FERPA. Right to inspect and review education records

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Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act

Information Releases Throughout the Institution

Requirements and Good Practices

four basic rights under ferpa
Four Basic Rights Under FERPA
  • Right to inspect and review education records
  • Right to seek amendment of education records if believed to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights
  • Right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information, under most circumstances
  • Right to file a complaint with ED concerning alleged failure to comply with FERPA
who has these rights
Who has these rights?
  • Eligible students

Students who are 18 years old or older or are attending an institution of postsecondary education

Definition of attendance is at the discretion of the school

who else has these rights
Who else has these rights?
  • Parents of ineligible students

A parent can be a natural parent, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian

NOTE: In the case of divorced or separated parents, either parent is considered a parent by definition

limitation on the right to inspect and review
Limitation on the Right to Inspect and Review
  • School is not required to, but may choose to, allow a student to inspect and review the financial records of the parents
  • Parents do not have the right under FERPA to either permit or deny release of the record to the student
  • Check with school’s legal counsel regarding any applicable state privacy laws
what are the school s responsibilities
What are the School’s Responsibilities?
  • Annual notification of FERPA rights
  • Notification of designated directory information and procedures for student to prevent disclosure of directory information
  • List of education records
  • Documentation of students file when certain disclosures are made
annual notification
Annual Notification
  • To whom? All currently enrolled students
  • How? By any means that are reasonably likely to inform students of their rights
  • What must it include?

Right to inspect and review records and procedure for exercising that right

Right to seek amendment to records and procedure for exercising that right

annual notification cont d
Annual Notification, cont’d
  • What must it include?

Right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in education records, except to the extent that FERPA allows disclosures without consent

Right to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning alleged violations of FERPA by the institution

designated directory information
Designated Directory Information
  • Must notify students of what information is designated as directory information
  • Must also explain the eligible student’s right to refuse to let the institution disclose directory information
  • Must give a period of time within which the student has to notify the institution in writing that s/he does not want any of the information as directory information
list of education records
List of Education Records

The institution is required to establish a list of all the educational records it maintains, where those records are housed at the institution, and the procedures by which a student can review those records.

documentation of the student file when disclosure is made
Documentation of the Student File When Disclosure is Made
  • The institution must maintain a record of each request for access to and each disclosure of personally identifiable information if the disclosure was made without written consent from the student unless the request was from, or disclosure was to:
documentation of the student file when disclosure is made12
Documentation of the Student File when Disclosure is Made
  • The student
  • A school official determined to have a legitimate interest
  • A party seeking directory information
  • A party seeking records as directed by a law enforcement subpoena
documentation of the student file when disclosure is made13
Documentation of the Student File when Disclosure is Made
  • The record of each request or disclosure must be kept with the education records of the student for as long as the records are maintained.
  • The record must include:

Parties who have requested/received information

The legitimate interest the parties had in requesting or obtaining information

required consent before disclosure of information
Required Consent Before Disclosure of Information
  • Before the school may disclose personally identifiable information, the student must generally provide a signed and dated written consent
  • The consent must:

Specify what may be disclosed

State the purpose of the disclosure

Identify the party to whom disclosure may be made

disclosures without consent
Disclosures without Consent
  • Information may be disclosed without the student’s consent to the following parties:

School officials with legitimate interests

Officials from other schools where the student seeks or intends to enroll

Authorized representatives of the US Comptroller General

Authorized representatives of the US Attorney General

The US Department of Education

disclosures without consent16
Disclosures without Consent

State and local educational authorities

The alleged victim of a crime of violence or non-forcible sexual offense

The parent of a dependent student as defined by the IRS

The student

The parent of a student under the age of 21 regarding a student’s violation of laws governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance

redisclosure of information
Redisclosure of Information
  • An institution may only disclose information on the conditions that:

The party not disclose it further to any other party without consent of the student AND

the party who receives the disclosed information may use it only for the purpose for which disclosure was made

redisclosure of information18
Redisclosure of Information
  • Limitations on redisclosure don’t apply, if:

the disclosure concerns a health or safety emergency

it is directory information that is disclosed

the disclosure is made due to court order or subpoena

disclosure is made to the student

School must inform the party of the redisclosure limitations

exceptions to ferpa
Exceptions to FERPA
  • Power of Attorney (POA)
  • Military recruiting on campus
power of attorney
Power of Attorney
  • Popular with study abroad students
  • Provides rights to designated individuals who normally would not have those rights
  • Laws vary from state to state
  • Check with school’s legal counsel about the laws in your state or a POA from another state
military recruiting
Military Recruiting
  • Solomon-Pombo Amendment states that federal funds cannot be made available to a school that denies or restricts access to military recruiters or denies or restricts the establishment or operation of an ROTC unit
  • Generally, student recruiting information must be provided to a military recruiter, unless the student has prohibited release
recent ferpa changes
Recent FERPA Changes

In response to the 9/11/01 attacks, Congress made changes to FERPA

Section 507 of the USA PATRIOT ACT amended FERPA

recent ferpa changes cont d
Recent FERPA Changes, cont’d
  • Ex Parte Orders
  • Lawfully Issued Subpoenas and Court Orders
  • Health or Safety Emergency
  • Disclosures to INS
good practices
Good Practices
  • Signed confidentiality statements
  • Restricted access to records
  • Formal procedures on establishing identity
  • Easy to use, systemic way to track parties who have access to information
  • Ensuring privacy during formal and informal counseling
good practices25
Good Practices
  • Ensuring computer screens are not easily viewed by unauthorized persons
  • Logging out of unattended computers
  • Filing documents regularly
  • Shredding discardable documents which contain personally identifiable information
good practices26
Good Practices
  • Designate a ‘FERPA expert’ on campus

Act as a resource on campus for FERPA related questions and concerns

Update and maintain FERPA related information contained in school publications

Conduct regular training campus-wide on FERPA policies and procedures

ferpa information
FERPA Information

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20202-4605

(202) 260-3887