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: Be sure to update your bookmarks accordingly!

Do students under the age of 18 and not in college who are on their own and not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian have rights under FERPA?

FERPA does not specifically afford minors who are separated from their parents the rights that are afforded to parents and eligible students under the law.  However, schools may use their judgment in determining whether an unaccompanied minor is responsible enough to exercise certain privileges, such as inspecting and reviewing education records and providing consent for disclosure.  34 CFR § 99.5(b).

May a postsecondary institution disclose financial aid records without written consent?

FERPA permits institutions to disclose, without consent, personally identifiable information from students’ education records when the disclosure is in connection with a student's application for, or receipt of, financial aid.   Disclosures under this exception to consent may be made if the information is necessary for such purposes as to:  (a) determine eligibility for the aid; (b) determine the amount of the aid; (c) determine the conditions for the aid; or (d) enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.

Can parents be informed about students' violation of alcohol and controlled substance rules?

FERPA permits a college or university to let parents of students under the age of 21 know when the student has violated any law or policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

What student records are schools required to disclose to military recruiters?

A provision in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) - section 9528 –  and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 require, with some exceptions, the disclosure of directory-type information (students’ names, addresses, and telephone listings) to military recruiters, as well to recruiters from colleges and universities.  For more information see the joint guidance issued by ED and the Department of Defense: Joint Letter from Secretary Paige and Secretary Rumsfeld

Does a spouse of an eligible student have rights with respect to that student’s education records?

No, spouses of eligible students have no rights under FERPA.  Before a college or university discloses information from a student’s education records to his or her spouse, the student would have to provide written consent.

Who is a “school official” under FERPA?

A “school official”  includes a teacher, school principal, president, chancellor, board member, trustee, registrar, counselor, admissions officer, attorney, accountant, human resources professional, information systems specialist, and support or clerical personnel.  A contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party to whom a school or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions may also be considered a “school official” provided that they are performing an institutional service or function for which the agency would otherwise use employees and is under the direct contro

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that affords parents the right to have access to their children’s education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records.  When a student turns 18 years old, or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, the rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student (“eligible student”). The FERPA statute is found at 20 U.S.C.

FPCO Complaint Form Information

                                                          Department of Education

                                                    Family Policy Compliance Office

              Filing a Complaint Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


Who may file a complaint?


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