• Christina Delgado, M.Ed.

FERPA: FamilyEducational Right's Privacy Act

Updated: Aug 13


What you will learn today:


  • Define and understand the ins and outs of FERPA, along with its requirements.

  • Gaining a better understanding of educational laws, parents' rights, and students' rights.


What Does FERPA Stand For?:


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)


What is FERPA?:


  • Federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records.

  • Parents have legal rights to their child’s educational records until the student is 18 years old. Once 18 years, the student attains rights to his/her educational records.

  • Goal: Protect the integrity of student's academic records while also protecting student's privacy.


What FERPA Allows:


According to the U.S. Department of Education (2015):


  • FERPA allows parents of students (and students 18 years or older) to inspect and review the student’s educational records.

  • Parents and students over age 18 must be notified of their FERPA rights annually. Method of notification is determined by the school district. The most common methods are with the use school letter, PTA meeting, student handbook, or newsletter.

  • Parents to require a school to update, correct, and/or fix student records if they believe the records are incorrect or deceptive.

  • If the school does not revise the records, then the parents have a legal right to a formal hearing.

  • If the records are not modified post hearing, then the parents have legal rights to place a statement with the record stating their perspective of the situation that they are contesting.

  • Parents have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.

What FERPA Does Not Allow:


According to the U.S. Department of Education (2015):

  • Providing parents with physical copies of educational records.

  • Schools to charge parents or students for reviewing any educational records.

  • The selling of student educational record data.

  • Schools must have written consent from the parent or student (if 18 years or older) to release any information from the students educational records.

  • Parent consent must be given to give student personally identifiable information.


FERPA Allows Schools to Share Students’ Educational Records Without Consent to the Following:


According to the U.S. Department of Education (2015):


  • School officials with legitimate educational interest

  • Other schools to which a student is transferring

  • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school

  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena

  • Accrediting orgniazations

  • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies

  • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student

  • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes

  • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state laws

Academic Educational Records Include:

  • Speech/language pathologist: logs, student assessments, and other documentation.

  • Teachers: student assessments, grades, projects, student letters, and other works

  • Emails between staff professional and parent.

  • Councilor/ other school staff: student generated work, assessments results, and logs of student progress (behavior & academic)

  • Social security number

  • Access of academic records can be given to outsiders only with written consent from parent.

  • (All information mentioned on this list is confidential.)

Non-Academic Educational Records Include:


  • Directory information is not protected under FERPA. The school may choose to share this information without parent consent.

  • Other

  • Financial aid records

  • Student awards/ honors

  • Student accounts records

  • Housing and dining records

  • Ex: receiving free and reduced lunch

Who Education Records can be shared with Under FERPA:


  • A school may not generally disclose personally identifiable information from a minor student's education records to a third party unless the student's parent has provided written consent.

  • However, schools are permitted to disclose personally identifiable information from education records without consent to “school officials” if the school official has a "legitimate education interest” in attaining access to such information.

  • School officials include: teachers, administrators, board member, support staff, attorney, nurse, counselor, school security, consultant, volunteer, another school the child plans to enroll in, and human resources staff

  • A parent can request a document stating all who have received their child’s education records.


Eligible Student:


Either:

  • A student who is 18 years or older

  • Enrolled in a postsecondary institution

  • Parents of eligible students do not have legal rights to review and inspect their educational records unless the student has beidentified as a financially and developmentally “dependent student” under Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code.


Schools May Disclose the Following Without Student/Parent Consent:


According to the U.S. Department of Education (2015):

  • Student’s name

  • Address

  • Phone number

  • Date

  • Student height/ weight

  • Place of birth

  • Honors/ awards

  • Student grade level

  • Dates of attendance

  • Parents and students over 18 years old can request schools to not share this information. Parents must provide staff with ample notification to not share this information.


Parents Legal Rights:


According to the U.S. Department of Education (2015):

  • Parents have legal rights to inspect and review their child’s educational records until the student is 18 years old.

  • The school has 45 days to provide the parent with the request.

  • Parents can only attain physical copies of educational records if the parent cannot obtain access to the documentation.

  • Ex: if that parent does not live in a reasonable distance from the school.

  • Parents may require a school to update, correct, and/or fix student records if they believe the records are incorrect or deceptive.

  • Parents and students over age 18 must be notified of their FERPA rights annually.

  • Notification will most likely occur in one of the following forms:

  • School letter

  • PTA meeting

  • Student handbook

  • Newsletter.

  • If the parent is still dissatisfied, they can complete the following process:


Parental Legal Rights in Action


Inspect and Review students education documentation

Attempt to amend documentation

Hearing

Place a statement with the record stating their perspective of the situation that they are contesting.

File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education


Government Assessments:

  • Parents may inspect and review student grades of government assessments.

  • Parents are not granted access to government test questions or responses.


Understand FERPA in 2-Minutes:




References:

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