The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.
Under this law:
- 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 “eligible students.”
- 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 (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- 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.
FERPA RESPONSIBILITIES AND STUDENT RIGHTS
A school is required to—
- annually notify students of their rights under FERPA;
- include in that notification the procedure for exercising their rights to inspect and review education records; and
- maintain a record in a student’s file listing to whom personally identifiable information was disclosed and the legitimate interests the parties had in obtaining the information (does not apply to school officials with a legitimate educational interest or to directory information).
A student has the right to—
- inspect and review any education records pertaining to the student;
- request an amendment to his/her records; and
- request a hearing (if the request for an amendment is denied) to challenge the contents of the education records, on the grounds that the records are inaccurate, misleading, or violate the rights of the student.
NOTE: An Authorization for Release of Information form MUST be completed by the student/guardian EACH TIME the school wants or has a need to release information from the student file to a third party, other than a request by NACCAS, the Connecticut Office of Higher Education or the U.S. Department of education, unless otherwise required by law.
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National Center of Education Statistics
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