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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

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Citation Edit

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (the Buckley Amendment), Pub. L. No. 93-380, Tit. V, §513, 88 Stat. 57 (1974), codified as amended, 20 U.S.C. §1232g et seq.; see also 34 C.F.R. Part 99 (implementing FERPA).

Overview Edit

FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. It governs access to and disclosure of students' education records to parents, students, and third parties. Specifically, the Act provides that no federal funds shall be made available to any school or institution that has a policy of releasing students' education records or personally identifiable information contained in such records (other than [directory information) to third parties such as information resellers (other than to certain parties and for certain purposes enumerated in the statute) without written consent from the students' parents.

The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

Rights of students Edit

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are defined as "eligible students."

Specifically, FERPA requires educational agencies and institutions that receive federal Education funds — such as schools, school districts, colleges, and universities — to provide parents and eligible students with access to education records and generally prohibits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records without the prior written consent of the parent or eligible student, unless an exception to the FERPA general consent requirement applies.

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
  • Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
  • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions[1]:
  • School officials with legitimate educational interest;
  • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;[2]
  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
  • Accrediting organizations;
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law.

Disclosure of information Edit

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance.[3] However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them.

Notification of rights Edit

Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.

References Edit

  1. 34 C.F.R. §99.31.
  2. Representatives of state and local educational authorities — such as a state educational agency — may nonconsensually redisclose personally identifiable information from students' education records on behalf of the educational agency or institution in accordance with the redisclosure requirements of FERPA. 34 C.F.R. §99.33(b) (2009).
  3. See 20 U.S.C. §1232g(a)(5)(A).

See also Edit

External resources Edit

  • FERPA regulations amendment (2011) (full-text).
  • FERPA regulations amendment (2008) (full-text).

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