My Simmons


Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Do Colleges and Universities have any written policy about information from student records that can be shared with parents? 

Yes, institutions of higher education are subject to a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also called “FERPA” or the “Buckley Amendment”). FERPA sets privacy standards for student educational records and requires colleges and universities to publish compliance statements, including all related institutional policies.

Where can I find out more information about FERPA? 

Please see Simmons’ practices on the Privacy of Student Records. FERPA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education. The Department maintains a FERPA website (with links to FERPA regulations). 

What records does FERPA cover? 

The privacy protection FERPA gives to students is very broad. With limited exceptions discussed below, part 99.3 of the FERPA regulations gives privacy to all students’ educational records. Educational records are defined as “those records that are directly related to a student and are maintained by an educational agency or Institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.” Examples of student records entitled to FERPA privacy protection are grade reports, transcripts, and most disciplinary files, among others.

What protections does FERPA give to students concerning their records? 

  • Right to Inspect and Review Educational Records.
  • Right to Request to Amend Educational Records.
  • Right to have some control over the Disclosure of Information from educational records (“Personally Identifiable Information” or information that would directly identify the student or make the person’s identity easily traceable).

What does FERPA require of colleges and universities? 

A university must notify students annually of their rights (typically via the student handbook), and agree to give students the opportunity to limit the disclosure of personally identifiable information annually (such as information contained in a student directory). Also, public colleges and universities are required to: Protect Students’ Rights to Inspect and Review Records. Protect Students’ Rights to Request to Amend Records. Protect Students’ Right to Limit Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information contained in Education Records. Ensure that authorized third parties do not redistribute personally identifiable information, except under a few circumstances. Maintain records of requests for and disclosures of student education records.