Jun 15, 2024  
Jarvis Christian University 
Jarvis Christian University

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of a student’s educational records. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student or former student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students and former students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.”

  • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review all of the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of materials in educational records unless, for a reason such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to inspect the records personally. The school may charge a fee for copies.
  • Parents or 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 parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal 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 in the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
  • Generally, the school 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 records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR 99.31):
    • School employees with legitimate educational interest;
    • Other schools to which a student is transferring;
    • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
    • Parents, when a student over 18 is still a dependent;
    • Certain government officials in order to carry out lawful functions;
    • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
    • Organizations conducting certain studies for or 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.

Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, the school must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow amount of time to allow the parent or eligible student to request the school not to disclose that information about them. Schools must also notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under this law. The actual means of notification (special letter, student handbook or newspaper article) is left up to the discretion of each school. (20 U.S. Code 1232g; 34CFR Part 99)