November 1, 2005
Dear University Student:
The purpose of this letter is to notify you that this Office is not initiating an investigation of the July 8, 2005, complaint that you filed under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) because it does not contain specific allegations of fact giving reasonable cause to believe that a violation of FERPA has occurred as required under §99.64(a) of the regulations. Under 34 CFR §99.65(b), this Office notifies a complainant if it does not initiate an investigation because the complaint fails to meet the requirements of §99.64(a).
FERPA provides that an educational agency or institution must allow a parent or eligible student (i.e., a student who is 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution) to inspect and review the student's education records and seek to have education records amended if they are inaccurate, misleading, or violate the student's privacy rights under FERPA. 34 CFR Part 99, Subparts B and C. A parent or eligible student must also provide a signed and dated written consent in accordance with §99.30 of the regulations before an educational agency or institution discloses the student's education records, except as set forth in §99.31. The term "education records" is defined as records that are directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution. 34 CFR § 99.3 ("Education records") (emphasis added).
Your complaint indicates that earlier this year University placed you as a student teacher at Elementary School in the District. You alleged that the District violated your rights under FERPA by refusing to allow you to inspect and review records about you maintained by [ ], a teacher at Elementary School, and by refusing to allow you to challenge the content of records maintained by [ ] and by [ ], principal at the Elementary School.
As a student at the University, you have a right under FERPA to inspect and review and seek to amend any education records that the University maintains on you, including any education records maintained by a party acting for the University. If Elementary School maintained any records directly related to you while acting on behalf of (e.g., in connection with your field placement as a student-teacher), you should direct your request to inspect and review and seek to amend those records to the University. There is no basis under FERPA for you to submit that request to the District (or to Elementary School) because you were not a student at that educational agency or institution.
I trust that the above information is helpful in explaining the scope and limitations of FERPA as it relates to your concern. Enclosed to further assist you is a copy of our guidance document for postsecondary students, as well as a copy of the FERPA regulations.
LeRoy S. Rooker
Family Policy Compliance Office