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Statement Regarding the Privacy Rights and Confidentiality of Student Records

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Right and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, protects the privacy of student records.  The Act provides for the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records, and to limit disclosure of information for the records.  The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding. The regulations for FERPA can be found at: http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.

Who is protected under FERPA?

Students who are currently enrolled in higher education institutions or formerly enrolled, regardless of their age or status in regard to parental dependency.  Students who have applied but have not attended an institution do not have rights under FERPA.

What are the rights of a student under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act?
What are education records?

With certain exceptions, a student has rights of access to those records which are directly related to him/her and which are maintained by an education institution or party authorized to keep records for the institution.  “Educational Records” generally include any records in the possession of the institution which contain information directly related to a student..

What is NOT included in an education record?
What documents can be removed from an education record before the student views the record?
What is directory information?

Institutions may disclose information on a student without violating FERPA through what is known as “directory information.”  At RISI this includes a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, full or half-time status and recent previous school attended.  Each institution is required to annually notify students in attendance of what constitutes directory information.  This notice must also provide procedures for students to restrict the institution from releasing his/her directory information.

Who would generally be permitted access without the student’s written consent?
When do you need consent to disclose personally identifiable information from an education record (including transcripts)?

With specific exceptions, a signed and dated consent by the student must be provided by the student before any disclosure is made.

The written consent must:
a) specify the records that may be disclosed
b) state the purpose of disclosure
c) identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure may be made.

What is “personally identifiable information”?
When is the student’s consent NOT required to disclose information?

The exceptions are:

Requests to disclose will always be handled with caution and approached on a case-by-case basis.