Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
WHAT IS FERPA (Family
Educational Rights & Privacy Act)?
The Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (also sometimes referred
to as the Buckley Amendment), is a federal law regarding the privacy
of student records and the obligations of the institution, primarily
in the areas of release of the records and the access provided to
these records. Any educational institution that receives funds under
any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound
by FERPA requirements. Institutions that fail to comply with FERPA
may have funds administered by the Secretary of Education withheld.
WHAT ARE EDUCATION RECORDS?
education records are defined as records that directly relate
to a student and are maintained by an education agency or institution,
or by a party acting for the agency or institution. Education records
can exist in any medium, including typed, computer-generated, videotape,
audiotape, film, microfilm, microfiche and email, among others.
DO NOT INCLUDE such things as:
- sole possession records, i.e., records/notes in sole possession
of the maker, used only as a personal memory aid and not revealed
or accessible to any other person except a temporary substitute
for the maker of the record (this might include notes an instructor
makes while providing career/professional guidance to a student);
- medical treatment records that include but are not limited to
records maintained by physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists;
- employment records when employment is not contingent upon being
a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual's
- records created and maintained by a law enforcement unit used
only for that purpose, are revealed only to law enforcement agencies
of the same jurisdiction, and the enforcement unit does not have
access to education records;
- post-attendance records, i.e., information about a person that
was obtained when the person was no longer a student (alumni records)
that does not relate to the person as a student.
ACCESS TO STUDENT
FERPA, personally identifiable information in an education record
may not be released without prior written consent from the student.
Some examples of information that MAY NOT BE RELEASED
without prior written consent of the student are:
- disciplinary status
- grade point average (GPA)
- marital status
- SSN/student ID number
- grades/exam scores
- test scores (e.g., SAT, GRE, etc.)
- progress reports, e.g. DegreeWorks
will not release personally identifiable information from a student's
education record without the student's prior written consent. Even
parents are not permitted access to their son's or daughter's education
records unless the student has provided written authorization permitting
the parents access. Exceptions are noted in the college's policy
concerning the privacy of student education records and includes:
access by "school officials" the institution
has determined to have a "legitimate educational interest;"
access by school officials at other schools where the student seeks
to enroll; access for the purpose of awarding financial aid and
College these terms are defined below:
official" is any person employed by the college in an administrative,
supervisory, academic, research or support staff position, a person
or company with whom the college has contracted (such as an attorney,
auditor, collection agent, or the National Student Clearinghouse,
an agency which acts as a clearinghouse for student loan deferment
reporting), a person elected to the Board of Trustees, a student
serving on an official college committee, or a person employed by
or under contract to the college to perform a specific task. A "school
official" has a "legitimate educational interest"
whenever he or she is performing a task related to a student's education,
performing a task that is specified in his or her position, description,
or by a contract agreement, performing a task related to a student's
education, performing a task related to the discipline of a student,
providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's
family (such as health care, counseling, job placement or financial
aid) or disclosure of information in response to a judicial order
or legally issued subpoena. (NOTE: At Clark College all subpoenas
are first reviewed by the Attorney General to determine an appropriate
STUDENT'S RIGHT TO
REVIEW AND CORRECT HIS/HER RECORDS
former students have the right to inspect and review their education
records within 45 days from making such a request. The right of
inspection and review includes: the right to access, with an explanation
and interpretation of the record; the right to a copy of the education
record when failure to provide a copy of the record would effectively
prevent the student from inspecting and reviewing the record. The
institution may refuse to provide a copy of a student's education
record provided such refusal does not limit access.
on students' rights to inspect and review their education records.
For example, the institution is not required to permit students to
inspect and review the following:
request that their education records be amended if they believe
such information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of privacy
rights. Students must request in writing that the office that maintains
those records amend them. Students should identify the part of the
records they want corrected and specify why they believe it is inaccurate,
misleading, or in violation of privacy rights.
information submitted by parents;
records containing information about more than one student (however,
the institution must permit access to that part of the records
which pertains only to the inquiring student);
letters and recommendations placed in the student's file before
letters and statements of recommendation, placed in the records
after 01/01/75, to which the student has waived his or her right
to review and that are related to the student's admission, application
for employment or job placement, or receipt of honors. Upon a
request from a student, he/she will be notified of the names of
persons making the recommendations and that such recommendations
cannot be used other than for the purposes for which they were
The registration office will review the request and inform the students
in a reasonable amount of time after receiving the request. If the records
custodian refuses to amend the record, students have the right to an appeal.
The appeal meeting must be held within a reasonable amount of time after
the request of the student has been received. The student will be notified,
reasonable in advance, of the date, place, and time of the appeal meeting.
be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant
to the issue raised. One or more other persons, including an attorney,
may accompany the student. The hearing officer/board will make its
decision in writing based upon the evidence presented. The decision
will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons
for the decision.
If the result of the appeal process supports the complaint, the education
record will be amended according and the student will be so informed.
If the decision is not to amend the education record students have the
right to place in the education record a statement commenting on the challenged
information and/or stating the reasons for disagreement with the decision.
This statement will be maintained as part of the education record as long
as the contested portion of the record is maintained, and whenever a copy
of the education record is sent to any party, the student's statement
will be included.
WHAT IS DIRECTORY OR PUBLIC INFORMATION?
FERPA has specifically
identified certain information called directory information that
may be disclosed without student consent.
Clark College has
designated the following information as directory information and
may release this information, unless the student has submitted
a request for non-disclosure:
- student address
- student email
- date of birth
- major field of study
- quarters of attendance
- degrees & awards received
- participation in activities
- weight & height of members of athletic teams
OF DIRECTORY INFORMATION
FERPA, a student can request that the institution not release any
directory information about him/her. Institutions must comply with
this request, once received, if the student is still enrolled.
wish to restrict directory information should realize that their
names will not appear in the commencement bulletin and other college
publications. Also, employers, loan agencies, scholarship committees
and the like will be denied any of the student's directory information
and will be informed that we have no information available about
the student's attendance at Clark College. Students who wish to
have specific directory information released may do so by providing
a written authorization to the Registrar's Office.
students are notified of their FERPA rights each quarter with
the information sent in the registration mailing.
FERPA is published
in our quarterly class schedule and catalog.
may be directed to the Registrar's Office or the Vice President
of Student Development located in Gaiser Hall.
If a parent
or eligible student feels that the institution has not fully honored
his/her privacy rights under FERPA, a written complaint may be filed
with the Family Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education,
400 Maryland Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605. The Family Compliance
Office investigates each timely complaint to determine whether the
educational agency or institution has failed to comply with the
provisions of FERPA. A timely complaint is defined as an allegation
that is submitted within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation
or of the date that the complainant knew or reasonably should have
known of the alleged violation.