This is a general guideline of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for Parents and Eligible Students. For a more detailed explanation, and frequently asked questions please visit the Department of Education website at www.ed.gov.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), parents or eligible students have the right to request any education record, including grades, performance, requests for amendments, and control over how these documentations are publicly shared.
FERPA only applies to educational institutions that currently receive funding from the Department of Education.
Once the student becomes 18 years of age or is enrolled in a post-secondary institution, regardless of age, they become an “eligible student” and have the right of privacy transfers from the parent to the eligible student. As an eligible student, they maintain the right over disclosure of their educational records, requests for amendments, and public disclosure to third-parties, as allowed by FERPA, and the right to file a complaint with the Department of Education.
Under the FERPA policy, a school must provide a parent or eligible student with their education records within 45 days of request for documents. The school must provide the parent or eligible student with the requested documents or make special arrangements if the parent or eligible student is not within a commuting distance from the school.
Under FERPA, documents such as academic calendars, extra-curricular activities, and course syllabi are not considered education records.
Per FERPA guidelines, a school is not required to provide information that is not maintained or create an education record upon request from the parent or eligible student. Schools are not required to update parents or eligible students on progress in a course or school unless said education record already exists.
Unless requested by a parent or eligible student, or there is an outstanding request made, under FERPA, schools have the right to maintain and destroy records according to their protocol without notifying the parent or eligible student.
Under the FERPA policy, parents and eligible students have the right to request an amendment of any inaccurate or misleading information in their education record. Parents and eligible students may not request an amendment to a grade, an opinion, or a substantive decision made by a school. FERPA is designed to ensure accurate and fair record keeping of the school and to prohibit schools from overriding the accepted practices and procedures for making academic assessments, disciplinary rulings, and academic placement.
While the school is not required to make any such requested amendments, they are required to consider the request. If the school declines the amendment requested by the parent or eligible student, they are required to inform the parent or eligible student of their right to a hearing. If after a hearing is held and the school does not make the requested amendment, the parent or eligible student has the right to submit a statement letter on the issue. Said document will be inserted to the file and will be kept attached for as long as the file is maintained by the school.
Under FERPA, a school is not allowed to generally disclose any personal identifying information of a minor or eligible student without the express written consent of the parent or eligible student. In some cases, schools are permitted to disclose information non-consensually to third-parties. Below is a list of cases where schools may disclose personal identifiable information, without consent of the parent or eligible student.
Another case where information on an eligible or minor student may be publicly disclosed, without consent, is for “directory information.” This type of information includes items, such as, name, area of study, class year and level (junior, senior), height and weight on an athletic team, birthdate, extracurricular activities, degrees and awards received, birthdate, telephone listing, email address, dates of attendance, and enrollment status.
Other instances where the minor or eligible student may have personal identifiable information of education records posted without consent is briefly listed below:
Schools must notify parents and eligible students of their FERPA rights. Information must be provided to parents and eligible students of their rights to inspect, review and amend education records, types of information that may be disclosed without consent, and the right to file a complaint.It must also define what constitutes a “school official” and a “legitimate educational interest.”
Under FERPA, schools are not required to notify parents and eligible students individually of these rights. Rather, they may be posted by any means including:
As previously noted, this is a general guideline for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If is the responsibility of the parents and eligible students to visit the Department of Education’s website at www.ed.gov for a full, detailed document of all the rights included.