FERPA: Privacy of Student Educational Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly known as FERPA, is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Under the Act, schools must generally afford students, regardless of age, attending a postsecondary institution the following rights:

  1. Access to Education Records
    • Provide a student with an opportunity to inspect and review his or her education records within 45 days of the receipt of a written request;
    • Provide a student with copies of education records or otherwise make the records available to the student if the student lives outside of commuting distance of the school;
    • Delete the names and other personally identifiable information about other students that may be included in the student’s educational records.
  2. Opportunity to Amend Education Records
    • Consider a request from a student to amend inaccurate or misleading information in a student’s education records;
    • Offer the student a hearing on the matter if the college official decides not to amend the records in accordance with the request;
    • Offer the student a right to place a statement in the student’s record, to be kept and disclosed with the record if, as a result of the hearing, the school still decides not to amend the record.
  3. Disclosure of Education Records
    • Directory Information – Under FERPA, schools may disclose directory information without the written consent of the student, unless the student submits a formal request to limit disclosure of this information. Directory information may include name, address, phone number, email address, date of birth, class schedule, photograph, dates of attendance, degree(s) awarded, enrollment status, and major field or study.
    • Non-Directory Information – Any education record not considered directory information may not be released to anyone, including parents of the student, without the prior written consent of the student. Non-Directory information may include: social security numbers; student identification numbers; race, ethnicity and/or nationality; gender; transcripts; grade reports.
    • Prior Written Consent from the student is required before the school can legitimately disclose non-directory information to a third party. Prior written consent must include: specific records to be disclosed; stated purpose for disclosure; identify the party or class of parties to whom the disclosure is to be made; date; signature of student; signature of the school official responsible for the education record.
      The school is authorized by FERPA to release non-directory information, without student consent, to the following:
      • School officials and staff, to include instructors, who have a legitimate educational interest
      • State or local educational authorities auditing or enforcing federal or state supported education programs or enforcing Federal laws which relate to those programs.
      • Disclosure in connection with determining eligibility, amounts, and terms of financial aid or enforcing the terms and conditions of financial aid;
      • Disclosure pursuant to a lawfully issued court order or subpoena.
  4. Notice to Students
    The College informs students, parents, and guardians annually in both the TCL Catalog and the TCL Student Handbook of the right to access and review their education records.
  5. Complaints of Alleged Violations
    Students have the right to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the College to comply with FERPA regulations. Complaints should be filed with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-5920.

*NOTE* Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) only a student him/herself can initiate a password reset request. Even if the student is a minor, parents may not request on behalf of the student.