Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 

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."

  • College level students have the right to inspect and review their education records maintained by the school.  Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for eligible students to review the records.  Schools may charge a fee for copies.
  • Eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the 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 consent from the eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record, including to the eligible student’s parent. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under a number of exceptions, including  the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
    • School officials and sub-contractors with legitimate educational interest;
    • Other schools to which a student is transferring or enrolled;
    • 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;
    • For the University to defend itself against lawsuit or complaint made by student;
    • Appropriate parties in cases of health or safety emergencies as necessary to protect someone’s health or safety;
    • Final results of student disciplinary hearings where crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense has been committed; 
    • Final results of student disciplinary hearings to person who alleged being victim of crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense;
    • Mandatory sex offender disclosures required by federal law;
    • Parents of students under 21 who violate drug or alcohol rules;
    • Parents of students who are claimed as dependents on US tax returns; and
    • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information, which is defined at Liberty University to include a student’s full name, address including e-mail address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major or program of study , grade level,  enrollment status, dates of attendance, photograph, height and weight of student athletes, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, degrees and awards received, degrees, honors, and awards received; and the most recent previous education institution or agency attended.However, schools must tell eligible students about directory information and allow eligible students to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA.

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