Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) was passed by Congress in 1974. It grants four specific rights to a post-secondary student:
• to see the information that the institution is keeping on the student.
• to seek amendment to those records and in certain cases append a statement to the record.
• to consent to disclosure of his/her records.
• to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington.

The third bullet dealing with the disclosure of student records is the focus of discussion here.  With regard to this bullet, the main points of FERPA are:
• Student educational records are considered confidential and may not be released without written consent of the student.
• Directory information is considered public and can be released without the student’s written permission, unless the student opts to keep this information confidential.

A FERPA Primer from the National Association of Colleges and Employer says, “ …it (FERPA) was designed to protect the student’s educational record and status as a student.”  Therefore, if a student does not want anyone to know he or she is a student, ISU cannot identify him or her as a student.

The ISU Registrar’s Office instructs faculty and staff to check for a “NO INFORMATION RELEASE” or other restriction on release of specific types of information, before releasing any information about a student.  If the student has requested that directory information be withheld, no information can be released. If the student does not have a restriction on the release of directory information, directory/public information may be released.

The NACE Primer goes on to say, “ that FERPA also limits the subsequent disclosure of the student information by the third party. As such, once an educational institution discloses protected information to a third party, it must ensure that the third party does not itself improperly disclose the information in violation of FERPA.

FERPA Information from the ISU Registrar’s Office

FERPA: What faculty and staff members need to know, ISU Registrar Information Sheet (pdf)

Student Authorization for FERPA Information Release Template (doc)

FERPA Primer: The Basics and Beyond, NACE Online Article