Your Student’s Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA)
FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. It is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of student education records. It also provides guidelines for appropriately using and releasing student education records. It applies to all institutions that receive federal aid from the U.S. Department of Education.
Education records include any record maintained by the institution that contains information that is personally identifiable to a student (in physical, electronic, or recorded format). View the Annual Notification of Rights under FERPA.
At the postsecondary level, the student (regardless of age), not the parent, that "owns" their education records.
A FERPA-related postsecondary education record begins for a student when they have enrolled in a higher education institution. FERPA rights end upon death.
With reference to FERPA, the term "parent" refers to either parent (including custodial and noncustodial, if divorced). A “parent” can also be a legal guardian or acting parent.
- Students must be notified annually of their FEPRA rights.
- Students have the right to inspect and review their education records.
- Students have the right to consent for disclosure of education records to a third party. (For exceptions to the right to consent for disclosure, View the Annual Notification of Rights under FERPA).
- Students have the right to request an amendment to an education record.
- Students have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.
Directory information are those data items that are generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if publicly available. This information cannot be released if student has opted out of the directory (“exclude from directory”) on their record. Each institution establishes what it considers to be directory information. (View the Annual Notification of Rights under FERPA for Berklee’s directory information fields)
Yes, but only under one of the following circumstances:
- To parents or family members, if the student provides a signed consent to the institution allowing disclosure of education record information to those individuals;
- To parents, when a violation of federal, state, local or institutional laws/regulations related to substance abuse occurs and the student is under the age of 21, (provided that other laws governing the institution, such as state law, do not preclude such disclosures);
- To parents, during a health/safety emergency, appropriate nondirectory information may be released (the institution must document what the emergency was and to whom the information was released); or
- To parents, if a student is a dependent (IRS definition) on either parent’s most recent U.S. tax return, disclosure to parents may be released at the institution’s discretion.