Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U. S. Department of Education. The statute is found at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and the Department's regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99.
Under FERPA, schools must generally afford students who are 18 years or over, or attending a post-secondary institution:
- access to their education records
- an opportunity to seek to have the records amended
- some control over the disclosure of information from the records
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.
These rights are:
The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the University Registrar, written requests that identify the specific record(s) they wish to inspect. The University Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write to the University Registrar, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.
NOTE: The right to challenge grades does not apply under the act unless the grade assigned was inaccurately recorded.
The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that the law authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is defined as a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee; such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.
Another exception is the release of "directory information," which may be released without a student's consent unless specifically prohibited by the student. The following is considered directory information:
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) designates certain information related to students as “Directory Information”. This gives the University the right to disclose such information to anyone inquiring without having to ask students for permission, unless the students specifically request in writing that all such information not be made public without their written consent. The categories of “Directory Information” at Framingham State University are as follows:
- Student’s legal name
- Mailing Address
- Major field of study
- Dates of attendance and Enrollment status for a particular semester (FT, HT, LT)
- Class standing (if an Undergraduate – Freshman, Sophomore, etc.)
- Degrees and awards received including Dean’s/President’s lists and graduation honors
- Participation in officially recognized sports
- Weight and Height of members of athletic teams
- Most recent previous educational institution attended by the student
A request form to prevent disclosure of directory information is available from the Office of the University Registrar (McCarthy Campus Center 515) and must be filed prior to the close of the Course Add/Drop period in any given semester or term.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of federal law as they pertain to access and disclosure of student's education records. The name and address of the office that administers this law is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-4605
Questions or concerns about the privacy of student's education records or these procedures may be brought to the attention of the Office of the University Registrar, McCarthy Campus Center 515.