Office of the University Registrar

November 3, 2020

FERPA Basics

Important FERPA Terms

  • Student: anyone attending your institution, of any age
  • Student Record: any information or data recorded in any medium
  • Educational Record: records that contain any information directly related to a student, maintained by an educational agency or institution
  • Directory Information: student information that would not be harmful if disclosed
  • School Official: member of an institution acting in a student’s educational interest, with limits on “need to know”

Who has FERPA Rights?

  • All students attending an institution of higher education that receives federal Title IV funds, regardless of age
  • All students for whom records are maintained, regardless of method

Parents lose rights to access educational records when the student turns 18 years old or is in attendance at the university, regardless of the student’s age. Students acquire all FERPA rights when they become students and retain all rights until deceased.

What is Attendance?

It does not matter whether a student attends classes in-person or online. FERPA protection applies regardless of how the student attends the class, including:

  • Classroom (in-person)
  • Video conferencing, satellite, or internet
  • Telecommuting
  • Skype or Facetime

Four Guaranteed Student Rights Under FERPA

  1. Inspect and Review: students have the right to inspect and review their education records within 45 days of the date the university receives a request for access.
  2. Request an Amendment: students have the right to request the amendment of student education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.
  3. Provide Written Consent: students have the right to provide written consent before the university discloses personally identifiable information from the student’s education records, except to the extent FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  4. File a Complaint: students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the university to comply with the requirements of FERPA.