The Family Policy Compliance Office is excited to announce the launch  of the new Student Privacy Website! This new website replaces both the Privacy Technical Assistance Center’s and the Family Policy Compliance Office’s sites.  The Student Privacy Website can be found at:  https://studentprivacy.ed.gov. Be sure to update your bookmarks accordingly!

Are educational agencies and institutions required to notify parents and eligible students of their rights under FERPA?

Yes.  Educational agencies and institutions must annually notify parents and eligible students of their rights under FERPA.  Specifically, schools must notify parents and eligible students of the right:  to inspect and review education records and the procedures to do so; to seek amendment of records the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate and the procedures to so do; to consent to disclosures of education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent; and to file a complaint with FPCO concerning potential violations.   Postsecondary instituti

If a student under 18 is enrolled in both high school and a local college, do parents have the right to inspect and review his or her education records?

If a student is attending a postsecondary institution - at any age - the rights under FERPA have transferred to the student.  However, in a situation where a student is enrolled in both a high school and a postsecondary institution, the two schools may exchange information on that student.

May an educational agency or institution disclose information over the phone?

While FERPA does not specifically prohibit a school from disclosing personally identifiable information from a student’s education records over the telephone, it does require that the school use reasonable methods to identify and authenticate the identity of parents, students, school officials, and any other parties to whom the school discloses personally identifiable information from education records.   34 CFR § 99.31(c).

May a postsecondary institution disclose information about a disciplinary proceeding to the victim of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense?

Yes, a postsecondary institution may disclose only the final results of the disciplinary proceeding to a victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense.  In disclosures to the victim, the institution may disclose the final results of the disciplinary proceeding regardless of whether the institution concluded a violation was committed.

Can parents view a child’s post-secondary education record?

FERPA generally prohibits the nonconsensual disclosure of information derived from education records, except in certain specified circumstances. One of these exceptions permits the nonconsensual disclosure of information derived from education records to that student's parent if the student is a dependent student. Further, neither the age of the student nor the parent's status as custodial parent is relevant to determining whether disclosure of information from the education records of eligible students to a parent without written consent is permissible under FERPA.

I want to use online tool or application as part of my course. However, I am worried that it is a violation of FERPA. What should I do?

A teacher should check with their school administration to see what has been defined as directory information.  As long as using the application would not require disclosing more than directory information and none of the students have opted out of directory information, it would not be a violation of FERPA.

May an educational agency or institution disclose education records if they are involved in litigation against a parent of student or an eligible student?

Yes, the educational agency or institution may disclose to the court the education records of the student that are relevant for the educational agency or institution to proceed with or defend against the legal action.  34 CFR § 99.31(a)(9)(iii).

May postsecondary institutions disclose results of disciplinary proceedings?

Postsecondary institutions may disclose the final results of disciplinary proceedings if the institution has found that the student has violated the institution’s rules or policies in regards to a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense.  Furthermore, the institution may not disclose the name of any other student, including a victim or witness, without the prior written consent of that student.

What must a consent to disclose education records contain?

FERPA requires that a consent for disclosure of education records be signed and dated, specify the records that may be disclosed, state the purpose of the disclosure, and identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.  34 CFR § 99.30.  As such, oral consent for disclosure of information from education records would not meet FERPA’s consent requirements.

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