What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. It also provides guidelines for appropriately using and releasing student education records. It is intended that students’ rights be broadly defined and applied. Therefore, consider the student as the “owner” of the information in his or her education record, and the institution as the “custodian” of that record.
What is included in the education record?
Any record maintained by the institution that contains information that is personally identifiable to a student.
- Records in the “sole possession of the maker” (e.g. private advising notes)
- Law enforcement records created and maintained by a law enforcement agency for a law enforcement purpose
- Employment records (unless the employment is based on student status). The employment records of student employees (e.g. work study, wages, graduate teaching associates) are part of their education records
- Medical/physiology treatment records (e.g. from a health or counseling center)
- Alumni records (e.g. those created after the student graduated or left the institution)
What is directory information?
Information that can be released without consent. Students have the opportunity to opt-out of the release directory information, by submitting a request to do so, in writing to the Registrar’s Office. Directory information consists of those data items that are generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if publicly available. Each institution establishes what it considers to be directory information. Parker University directory information is:
- Place of Birth
- Local, permanent and email address
- Telephone Number
- Participation in official college activities and sports
- Weight and Height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of attendance
- Degrees, honors, awards received
- The most recent attended educational institution
When do FEPRA rights begin?
A FEPRA-related college education record begins for a student when he or she enrolls in a higher education institution. At a post-secondary institution, rights belong to the student in attendance, regardless of the student’s age.
What can be release to a third party (e.g., parents, spouses, employers)?
Except in a few specific circumstances specified by law, third parties may be given access to student education records only with the signed and dated written permission of the student. In addition, unless a student has opted out, directory information can be released to anyone.
When is prior consent not required?
The institution may disclose records without consent if certain requirements are met, but it is not required to do so. Some examples of the exceptions to the release requirement include:
- “School officials” with a “legitimate educational interest.” Employees and legal agents have access to education records in order to perform their official, educationally-related duties.
- Disclosure to another institution where the student seeks to enroll or is enrolled
Where can I access a FERPA release/waiver form?
Students that wish to have their educational records (which include financial records) released to third parties (Parents, spouses, etc.) can contact the Registrar’s Office to fill out a FERPA release/waiver form.
What is the Buckley Amendment?
The Buckley Amendment was designed to establish the rights of students, to inspect and review their education records, prevent the release of educational records to third parties without permission of the student, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading data through formal and informal hearings. To request to review file, please complete the request form and return to the Registrar’s Office.
If you do not want the above information disclosed as public or "directory" information or do not want your records released to honor societies, you must complete a Buckley Amendment Non-Disclosure Form indicating your preference. Parker University System Policy to the Buckley Amendment may be found in the university catalog published each fall by the University.
For additional information, you may call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327) (voice). Individuals who use TDD may call 1-800-437-0833. Or you may contact the following address:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-8520
This information is basic information regarding FERPA regulations and the Buckley Amendment, there are however, many more in-depth details and variables. For further information, please contact the Registrar’s Office.