FERPA Guidelines for Students
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) protects the privacy of students by limiting third party access to student education records. 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.
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.
Accordingly, FERPA gives students the following rights regarding their education 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
The right to access education records maintained by the University
The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the date the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate school official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the record(s) may be inspected. If the record(s) are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
The right to amend education records
The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes is inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. The student should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record he or she requests to be amended, and specify why the student believes that record is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the hearing.
The right to request education records be disclosed only with student consent
The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.
A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities.
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
Students may grant permission to release academic, financial aid and student financial account information to third parties, including parents, by submitting a signed and dated Authorization for Release of Student Records form in the Office of the Registrar.
FERPA also permits disclosure of directory information without consent unless the student has filed a Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information. Directory information at LMU includes:
- 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
The following items are not considered educational records under FERPA:
- Employment records if employment is not contingent on student status
- Records maintained by Public Safety
- Records maintained by the Health Center
- Alumni records
- Faculty notes, data compilation, and administrative records kept exclusively by the maker of the records that are not accessible or revealed to anyone else
The right to file complaints for unauthorized disclosure of education records
A student has right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by LMU to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Such complaints may be addressed to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605