The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA is a federal law that applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Passed by Congress in 1974, FERPA is occasionally referred to as the Buckley Amendment.
What Rights Does FERPA Grant?
FERPA grants parents certain rights concerning their children's education records. When students reach the age of 18 or attend a school beyond high school level, these rights transfer to them. Basically, FERPA grants to parents and eligible students (i.e., those to whom the rights have been transferred):
- the right to inspect and review the student's education records that are maintained by the school;
- the right to request corrections to the student's education records they believe are inaccurate or misleading;
- the right to a formal hearing if the school does not accede to the request for corrections to the student's education records;
- the right to append the student's record with a statement, if, after a formal hearing the school still does not make corrections to the record;
- the right to consent in writing to the release of the student's education records, except under certain conditions according to 34 CFR § 99.31 (see the U.S. Department of Education FERPA Web site);
- the right to request that the school not disclose "directory information," such as student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, dates of attendance, degrees received, major program, height and weight (if an athlete), e-mail address, enrollment status, campus, school, college, division, and class standing;
- the right to file a complaint with the FERPA Office.