Privacy Rights

What is FERPA?

FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to educational records. The law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

To which information does FERPA apply?

FERPA applies to personally identifiable information in educational records. This includes items such as the student's name, names of family members, addresses, personal identifiers such as Social Security numbers, and personal characteristics or other information that make the student's identity easily traceable.

What are educational records?

Educational records are all records that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting on its behalf. A record means any information recorded in any way, including handwriting, print, tape, film, microfilm, microfiche and digital images.

Educational records do not include the following:

  • sole possession records -- (records kept in the sole possession of the maker which are used only as a personal memory aid and are not accessible or reviewed by any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record);
  • medical or psychological treatment records that include those maintained by physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists;
  • employment records, provided that employment is not contingent upon being a student;
  • law enforcement records; and
  • records collected about an individual after that person is no longer a student.

To whom does FERPA apply?

FERPA rights apply to students. A student is a person who is or has been in attendance at the institution, regardless of the person's age.

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