FERPA Online Training
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
FERPA-the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) was enacted in 1974. An understanding of it and its legal implications is essential to maintaining privacy while providing service.
It is critical that all members of the campus community who gather, store, access, or use student data understand the legal, ethical, and policy issues related to privacy and the handling of student information.
The summary information contained here is not a substitute for reviewing Blinn College's Student Records Policy in its entirety.The policy can be viewed on the college internet site at: http://www.blinn.edu/admissions/privacy.htm
In elementary and secondary schools FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's educational 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 (i.e. a college or university).
However, parents can retain FERPA educational record disclosure rights for "dependent students", as defined by Section 152, IRS Code of 1954, by providing the required documentation.
Since you cannot know what documents are on file, refer ALL requests for information to the Admissions and Records Office.
Everyone attending Blinn College is a FERPA eligible student and has the right to . . .
The terms education records, educational records, and student records refer to "non directory information" records, files, documents, and other materials directly related to a student's education that are maintained by Blinn College or by a person acting for Blinn College. This definition includes student records relating to an individual in attendance at the college who is also employed at the college.
A variety of education records are created over the course of a student's journey through the education process at Blinn College. From the moment a student applies for admission to Blinn College, the "paper trail" begins and includes:
The storage medium in which you find this information does not matter. A student educational record may be:
There are records at Blinn College that are not considered education records. These include:
Directory information is data in student's records that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
Directory information includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Students may exercise their right under FERPA to specify that no information, including directory information, be released from thier records by submitting written notification to that effect to the Admissions and Records Office.
There are 4 important questions that need to be answered:
REMEMBER: The instructor/advisor does not have to release anything (unless subpoenaed by a court).
Students (and parents of dependent students) who wish to review their records must submit a written request to the Admissions and Records Office, which is responsible for keeping all official academic education records.
The student must provide a written release giving specific consent to the disclosure of education records. The release must be dated and signed and must describe the records, the purpose for the release, list to whom the records can be given and a time for how long the release is effective.
There are a number of different releases at the college, including a generic release and releases specifically designed for student athletes and for job references.
FERPA mandates that Blinn College must grant requests within a reasonable time but in no case more than 45 days after the request was received.
FERPA provides many specific exceptions when the college can disclose education records without specific student consent. Many of these exceptions are provided in the regulations to allow for the reasonable and practical workings of an educational institution. The exceptions are listed in the College's Student Record Policy.
It is not the intent of FERPA to interfere with the normal operation of an educational institution, so educational information can be shared between school officials for legitimate educational purposes.
For FERPA, a school official is:
A school official has a legitimate educational interest in the protected education records if the official is:
"I give Prof. Smith permission to write a letter of recommendation for ___________________. Prof. Smith has permission to include grades, etc.
FERPA provides for a complaint procedure to the United States Department of Education with an ultimate sanction of withholding of federal funding. While there is generally no private cause of action directly under FERPA, students may seek to hold Blinn College or individuals liable under common law tort theories such as invasion of privacy. Complaints may be directed to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5901
Faculty, staff, administration or students who violate the college's FERPA policy will be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, depending on the individual circumstances.
Questions regarding FERPA and access to student records may be addressed to Dr. Dennis Crowson, Registrar at (979) 830-4141; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To avoid violations of FERPA rules, DO NOT: