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Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act of 1974 The FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s education records. The law applies to all schools which receive funds under an applicable program from the U.S. Department of Education. The FERPA gives certain rights to parents regarding their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student or former student who has reached the age of 18 or is attending any school beyond the high school level. Students and former students to whom the rights have transferred are called eligible students. Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records believed to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school refuses to change the records, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still refuses to make the corrections, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement in the records commenting on the contested information in the records. Generally, the school must have written permission from the parent or eligible student before releasing any information from a student’s record. However, the law allows schools to disclose records without any consent to the following parties:
Schools may also disclose, without consent, “directory” type information such as student’s name, address, telephone number, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, the school must tell parents and students of the information that is designated as directory information and provide a reasonable amount of time to allow the parent or eligible student to request the school not to disclose that information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students of their rights under this law. The actual means of notification is left to each school. If you wish to see your records, you should contact the administration and a time will be scheduled to allow access to your records.
If you have questions concerning the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, you may call or write to:
Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-8520