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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

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What is FERPA?

Student sitting infront of computer in the Great Reading Room writing in a notebook

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a federal law protecting the privacy of student educational records. Under FERPA, students who are either (a) 18 or older or (b) who attend a school beyond the high school level have certain rights over information in their educational record. Parents do not automatically have FERPA rights to access information on students who meet either of those requirements; however, they may provide documentation that the student is a dependent in order to access their student’s records.

Educational records encompass all information that is

  • Directly related to a student;
  • Maintained by an institution or a party acting for the institution;
  • In any medium.

FERPA applies to students who are accepted and attend an institution, and it permits the institution to disclose directory information.

What is Directory Information?

Directory Information - May Release Without Prior Authorization

  • Name
  • Local and permanent addresses
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • College
  • Major
  • Dates of attendance
  • Class year
  • Enrollment status
  • Anticipated degree date
  • Participation in recognized student activities and sports
  • Degrees and awards received and dates of receipt (including outstanding or recognized academic achievement)
  • Most recent previous educational institute attended

Non-Directory Information - May NOT Release Without Prior Written Consent or Verifying Student's Photo ID

  • Student ID
  • Birth date
  • Gender
  • Citizenship
  • Marital Status
  • Student’s previous legal name
  • Class schedule
  • Hours earned
  • Hours enrolled
  • Grades
  • GPA
  • Academic standing
  • Disciplinary records
  • Photos or videos of the student
  • Any other information not listed as "directory"

What Rights Do Students Have Under FERPA?

Students have the right to inspect and review their educational records within 45 days after submitting a request. For a student to access their records, the student should submit a request in writing to the department that maintains the records. That department will be in touch within 45 days to make arrangements for access. If the student has questions about which department maintains the record, they can reach out to to assist with determining who they should contact.

Generally, information in a student’s educational record will not be released unless the student provides written consent or unless an exception applies. Directory information, however, is freely available unless the student fills out and submits a Directory Hold Form. After a student submits a Directory Hold Form, the University will not release any form of information without a written release from that student, even after the student leaves the University. Students may lift a Directory Hold by submitting a Directory Hold Release Form.

If the student believes that information reflected in their educational record is incorrect, the student can contact the department that maintains those records and file a request in writing. Appeals relating to grades must be raised with the Dean’s office of the student’s college.

The department may grant or deny the request for amendment, depending on the proof and circumstances offered by the student. If the request is denied, the student will be granted the opportunity to appeal that denial.

Students can change their name or address on their academic records by following the procedures listed.

Accidents may happen, and it is the responsibility of the University to correct the breach and notify the affected student(s). If a student’s educational record was shared without their consent, the student will receive a letter from the department that inadvertently shared their information (1) notifying them of the incident, (2) certifying that the incorrectly shared information has been deleted, and (3) notifying them of their options. The University will inform the student of the steps it is taking and let the student know what to expect.

Students have the right to file a complaint with the Department of Education regarding an alleged violation. More information on how to file a complaint is available on the Department of Education’s website at Note that any complaint must be filed within 180 days of the time when the breach occurred or when the student learned of the FERPA breach.

FERPA Policies

Review the University’s FERPA policies in full under Release of Information.

To learn more about FERPA, please visit the Department of Education FERPA website.