The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law regarding the privacy of student records and the obligations of the institution, primarily in the areas of release of the records and the access provided to these records. Any educational institution that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education is bound by FERPA requirements. Institutions that fail to comply with FERPA may have funds administered by the Secretary of Education withheld.
Student education records are considered confidential and may not be released to third parties without written consent from the student unless disclosure is permitted through one of the FERPA signed consent exceptions.
What are Education Records?
Education records are defined as records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for such agency or institution. Education records take many forms, including paper and electronic.
Examples of an education record include, but are not limited to:
- Biographical information including date and place of birth, gender, nationality, information about race and ethnicity, and identification photographs
- Grades, test scores, evaluations, courses taken, academic specialization and activities, and official communications regarding your status
- Coursework including papers and exams, class schedules, as well as written email or recorded communications that are part of the academic process
- Disciplinary records
- Financial aid and financial aid records, including employment records that are dependent on the status as a student (ex: Federal Work-Study, student interns, teaching assistants).
- Internship program records
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) records and Student Health records are also governed by FERPA and state privacy law
Education records do not include:
- Sole possession records that are used only as memory aids and not shared with others
- Law enforcement unit records
- Employment records, unless the employment is dependent on the employee’s status as a student (such as evaluations of graduate assistants)
- Records that only contain information about an individual that are generated after he or she is no longer a student at that agency or institution (e.g., alumni records).
FERPA University Regulations
FIU-108 Access to Student Education Records
FERPA Access Request for Research Projects
Request for Access to Educational Records for Research