FERPA: An Overview
This week’s Academic Affairs Weekly topic provides an overview of FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act:
Who is subject to FERPA?
Students who are currently enrolled or formerly enrolled regardless of their age or parental dependency status are protected. FERPA does not apply to deceased students or persons who have applied but have not attended.
What does FERPA apply to?
FERPA limits the disclosure of information from student “education records,” which include any record—regardless of format—from which a student can be personally identified and is maintained by Lebanon Valley College or an authorized party. Many LVC records are not subject to FERPA. They include:
a. sole possession records or private notes held by educational personnel which are not accessible or released to other personnel
b. law enforcement or campus security records which are solely for law enforcement purpose
c. records relating to individuals who are employed by the institution (unless employment is contingent upon school attendance)
d. records relating to treatment provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional and disclosed only to individuals providing treatment
e. records of an institution that contain only information about an individual obtained after that person is no longer a student at that institution (i.e., alumni records)
When can information be disclosed?
Certain information, defined as “directory information,” may be released by default without student consent (students have the right to require consent if they wish). Directory information includes name, address, email, dates of attendance, major, and degrees earned, among other items.In most cases, all other information requires the student’s consent before it can be released. Many students opt to sign a release allowing other individuals (usually parents) to have access to their records. The law provides a number of exceptions that permits disclosure without the student’s consent, including the protection of the health and safety of the student or other individuals. Information about students can also be disclosed to LVC officials who have a “legitimate educational interest” in accessing particular records. In addition, students have the right to access their own educational records.
Where can I find more information on FERPA?
For more information, please consult LVC’s FERPA web page (also available in the Student Handbook). Faculty should also refer to the Faculty Policy Manual and the Faculty Standards and Policies Committee’s web site (under “proposals”) for the policy on handling student grades. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.