FERPA Guidelines for Parents and Guardians
What is FERPA?
FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act passed by Congress in 1974. FERPA is designed to protect the privacy of students by limiting third party access to student education records.
Parental and Third Party Access to Student’s Educational Record
When a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a postsecondary institution, regardless of age, FERPA rights transfer from the parent to the student. This means that the parents or guardians are no longer the owner of the records; once at LMU, parents and guardians must seek permission of the student to view records. There are few exceptions to this - see below.
FERPA gives students the following rights regarding educational records:
- The right to access education records kept by the school
- The right to amend education records
- The right to request that education records be disclosed only with student consent
- The right to file complaints for unauthorized disclosure of education records
Students have a right to know about the purpose, content, and location of information kept as a part of their educational records. They also have a right to expect that information in their educational records will be kept confidential unless they give permission to the school to disclose such information. Therefore, it is important to understand how educational records are defined under FERPA.
What is an education record?
FERPA defines education records as records that are directly related to a student; are maintained, in whatever format or medium, by an educational institution or by a party acting for the institution; and contain information that is personally identifiable to a student.
Education records do NOT pertain to:
- Records in the sole possession of the maker (e.g. private advising notes).
- Law enforcement records created and maintained by the public safety office for law enforcement or public safety purposes.
- Employment records except where contingent upon, e.g., work-study and wages.
- Medical/psychological treatment records from a health or counseling center.
- Alumni records which are created after the student graduates or leaves the University.
Education records are divided into two classes: directory information and non-directory information.
What is Directory Information?
“Directory information [is] information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.” (FERPA Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Part 99.3). FERPA permits disclosure of directory information without consent unless the student has filed a Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information.
LMU considers the following information to be Directory Information:
- Telephone numbers
- E-mail address(es)
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Enrollment status
- Participation in officially recognized activities
- Dates of attendance
- Anticipated degree and degree date
- Degrees, honors, and awards received
- Most recent educational institutions attended
- Weight and height of members of athletic teams
- A student’s personal identifier used by the student for purposes of accessing or communication in electronic systems
LMU Non-directory Information
This is any educational record not considered to be LMU Directory Information. Non-directory Information may NOT be released to parents of or guardians of the student without the prior written consent of the student. Examples of non-directory information are:
- Class rosters
- Grade reports
- CAPP Degree Audit
- Student schedule
- Most disciplinary records
- Class attendance
According to FERPA, under what conditions is prior consent not required to disclose information? Information may be released to the following people under the following circumstances:
- school officials with legitimate educational interest
- school officials at an institution where the student seeks to enroll
- parents of students who claim student as dependent for tax purposes
- health or safety emergencies that require protection of the student or others
- a court order or subpoena, after reasonable effort has been made to notify the student
- the Secretary of the Department of Education
- the Office of the Comptroller General
- the Attorney General’s Office of the United States
- state and local education authorities as part of an audit or program review
- research firms working for the educational institution
Blocking the Release of Directory Information A student has the right to block the release of even Directory Information by filing a form with the Office of the Registrar. If a student files this form, it prevents Loyola Marymount University from disclosing all knowledge of the student. The University may not confirm or deny attendance, degree completion, or any other Directory Information.
Releasing Non-directory Information A student also has the right to release even non-directory information by filing a form with the Office of the Registrar.