The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that gives parents, students over 18, and postsecondary students the right to access education records, the right to seek to amend those records, and the right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information in the records, except as provided by law. The authors of this post recently presented on this topic as part of the webinar series for clients and members of the Council of Great City Schools

Key Provisions

“No federal funds shall be made available under any applicable program to any educational agency or institution which has a policy or practice of releasing, or providing access to, any personally identifiable information in education records other than directory information, or as is permitted under paragraph 1 of this subsection, unless there is written consent from the student’s parents specifying records to be released, the reasons for such release, and to whom, and with a copy of the records to be released to the student’s parents and the student if desired by the parents.”  20 U.S.C.§1232g(b)(2)(A).

“[W]henever a student has attained eighteen years of age, or is attending an institution of postsecondary education, the permission or consent required of and the rights accorded to the parents of the student shall thereafter only be required of and accorded to the student.” 20 U.S.C. §1232g(d).

Practical Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO NOT display student scores or grades publicly in association with names, student identification numbers or other personal identifiers. If scores or grades are posted, use only a code known to you and the individual student.
  • DO NOT put papers containing student names and grades in publicly accessible places. Students are not to have access to the scores and grades of others.
  • DO NOT share educational record information with other faculty or staff members of the school, unless their official responsibilities identify their “legitimate educational interest” in that information for that student.
  • DO NOT share educational record information with others outside the institution, including letters of recommendation, without written consent from the student or parent.
  • DO NOT request information from the educational record custodian without a legitimate educational interest and the appropriate authority to do so.
  • DO refer requests for information from the educational record of a student to the proper educational record custodian.
  • DO keep any sole possession records relating to individual students separate from their educational records.
  • DO keep only those educational records necessary for meeting your responsibilities.
Photo of Aleks Ostojic Rushing Aleks Ostojic Rushing

As a licensed teacher, Aleks’ passion for education runs deep and is at the core of her work with clients. She knows that every client and every student requires a unique approach to optimize success. Aleks counsels K-12 and higher education clients on…

As a licensed teacher, Aleks’ passion for education runs deep and is at the core of her work with clients. She knows that every client and every student requires a unique approach to optimize success. Aleks counsels K-12 and higher education clients on investigations, litigation and compliance matters arising from a wide range of civil rights and educational funding issues. These include Title IX, Title IV, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Educational Records Privacy Act (FERPA).

Photo of John W. Borkowski John W. Borkowski

Coming from a family of teachers, John knows that educators are dedicated to serving students and society. His lifelong passion for education underlies the insightful counsel he provides to colleges, universities and school districts.