Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

  • Date: March 01, 2011
  • Source: Admin
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The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 1974 is a United States Federal law protecting the privacy of student education records. The regulations provide that all educational agencies and institutions which are funded by the U.S. department of education must allow access to students to their educational records, opportunity to have their records amended and exercise some control on the disclosure of the educational records. The law allows students applying to an educational institution permission to view recommendations made by others as a part of the application. As per FERPA, employees of educational institutes, if they are not students, will not be covered by the Act.

Rights and Exceptions under FERPA

According to FERPA, parents of the children are also responsible for their educational record. When a child reaches the age of 18 or attends a school after high school, these rights are automatically transferred to the student. Students to whom such rights are transferred become “eligible students”.



Ø     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 which makes it impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.

Ø    Parents or eligible students have the right to request a school to correct or amend records which they believe are 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.

Ø     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:

ü  School officials with legitimate educational interest;

ü  Other schools to which a student is transferring;

ü  Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;

ü  Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;

ü  Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;

ü  Accrediting organizations;

ü  To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;

ü  Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies;

ü  State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Ø    Schools are permitted to divulge “Directory” information like student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors, awards and dates of attendance. However, schools are required to inform parents and eligible students about the contents of the directory and allow them sufficient time to request the school not to disclose such directory information about them.

Ø    All schools coming under the ambit of FERPA have to mandatorily notify parents and eligible students, their rights under the act every year. The actual means of notification example- Letters, handbook etc is usually left to the discretion of the school.


Sanctions for Violations

No funds shall be made available under any applicable program to any educational agency or institution which has a policy of denying, or which effectively prevents, the parents of students who are or have been in attendance at a school of such agency or at such institution, as the case may be, the right to inspect and review the education records of their children. If any material or document in the education record of a student includes information on more than one student, the parents of one of such students shall have the right to inspect and review only such part of such material or document as relates to such student or to be informed of the specific information contained in such part of such material. Each educational agency or institution shall establish appropriate procedures for the granting of a request by parents for access to the education records of their children within a reasonable period of time, but in no case more than forty-five days after the request has been made."




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