The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are eligible students.
As noted above, the rights under FERPA transfer from the parents to the student, once the student turns 18 years old or enters a post secondary institution at any age. However, although the rights under FERPA have now transferred to the student, a school may disclose information from an "eligible student's" education records to the parents of the student, without the student's consent, if the student is a dependent for tax purposes. Neither the age of the student nor the parent's status as a custodial parent is relevant. If a student is claimed as a dependent by either parent for tax purposes, then either parent may have access under this provision.
Parents and Eligible Students Rights include:
- The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day ECPI receives a request for access. A parent or eligible student should submit to the campus President, a written request that identifies the record(s) the parent or eligible student wishes to inspect. The ECPI official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the ECPI official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the parent or eligible student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed. Except when parents or eligible students are unable to access records, ECPI charges a fee for copies.
- The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the parent or eligible student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the parent or eligible student's privacy rights under FERPA. A parent or eligible student who wishes to ask ECPI to amend a record should write the ECPI official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record the parent or eligible student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed.
If ECPI decides not to amend the record as requested, ECPI will notify the parent or eligible student in writing of the decision and the parent or eligible student's right to a hearing, conducted within the procedures established for Academic Review Boards in ECPI's catalog, regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing
After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
- Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting organizations;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
A school official is a person employed by ECPI 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 ECPI has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using ECPI 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; and in order to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena or court order.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for ECPI.
Upon request of another school, ECPI also discloses education records without consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
ECPI may disclose, without consent, "directory" information, such as, but not limited to, the eligible student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. Parents and eligible students may request that the school not disclose directory information about them by contacting the Campus President of the ECPI location that the student is currently attending or has previously attended.
Written consent must state the purpose of disclosure, specify records to be disclosed, identify those to whom the disclosure may be made, and must be signed and dated. ECPI Presidents will provide direction for these requests.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by ECPI to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520
Phone: 1.800.USA.LEARN (1.800.872.5327)
Individuals who use TDD may use the Federal Relay Service