Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

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FERPA
Great Seal of the United States
Long title Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Citations
Statutes at Large 20 U.S.C. § 1232g
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as James L. Buckley
  • Passed the House on January 3, 1973 
  • Passed the Senate on February 21, 1974 
  • Signed into law by President Gerald Ford on August 21, 1974

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA or the Buckley Amendment) is a United States federal law.[1]

Overview[edit]

FERPA gives parents access to their child's education records, an opportunity to seek to have the records amended, and some control over the disclosure of information from the records. With several exceptions, schools must have a student's consent prior to the disclosure of education records after that student is 18 years old. The law applies only to educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. New regulations under this act, effective January 3, 2012, allow for greater disclosures of personal and directory student identifying information and regulate student IDs and e-mail addresses.[2]

Examples of situations affected by FERPA include school employees divulging information to anyone other than the student about the student's grades or behavior, and school work posted on a bulletin board with a grade. Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record.

This privacy policy also governs how state agencies transmit testing data to federal agencies. For example see Education Data Network.

This U.S. federal law also gave students 18 years of age or older, or students of any age if enrolled in any postsecondary educational institution, the right of privacy regarding grades, enrollment, and even billing information, unless the school has specific permission from the student to share that specific type of information.

FERPA also permits a school to disclose personally identifiable information from education records of an "eligible student" (a student age 18 or older or enrolled in a postsecondary institution at any age) to his or her parents if the student is a "dependent student" as that term is defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code. Generally, if either parent has claimed the student as a dependent on the parent's most recent income tax statement, the school may non-consensually disclose the student's education records to both parents.[3]

The law allowed students who apply to an educational institution such as graduate school permission to view recommendations submitted by others as part of the application. However, on standard application forms, students are given the option to waive this right.

FERPA specifically excluded employees of an educational institution if they are not students.

The act is also referred to as the Buckley Amendment, for one of its proponents, Senator James L. Buckley of New York.

FERPA and access to public records[edit]

The misapplication of FERPA to conceal public records that are not "educational" in nature has been widely criticized, including by the act's primary Senate sponsor.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, with implementing regulations in title 34, part 99 of the Code of Federal Regulations
  2. ^ Mendelsohn, Stephen A. (2 January 2012). "U.S. Department of Education Amends its FERPA Regulations to Allow for Certain Additional Student Disclosures". The National Law Review. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  3. ^ FERPA General Guidance for Parents, U.S. Department of Education, http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/parents.html
  4. ^ Jill Riepenhoff & Todd Jones, "Secrecy 101," The Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 17, 2010, http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2010/10/14/secrecy-redirect.html

External links[edit]