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Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA is an acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment.

This federal enactment establishes the legal parameters governing access to and release of student educational records. Any educational institution or educational administrative service that receives funds from the United States Secretary of Education must comply with the terms set forth in FERPA.

The Act encompasses six basic requirements of colleges and universities.

  1. Students must be annually notified of their FERPA rights.
  2. Students must be allowed to review their education records.
  3. Students must be allowed to request to amend their education records, with limited exceptions.
  4. Students must be allowed to limit disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their education records.
  5. The college or university must undertake reasonable efforts to ensure that third parties do not re-disclose personally identifiable information and that the information is utilized by third parties only for its intended purpose.
  6. Records must be maintained of requests for and disclosure of student education records. 

The consequences of non-compliance with FERPA requirements are serious. The Department of Education may cite the offending institution with official notice to cease the practice of noncompliance, and all funds administered by the Secretary of Education could be withheld from the institution.

The consequences of non-compliance with FERPA requirements are serious. The Department of Education may cite the offending institution with official notice to cease the practice of noncompliance, and all funds administered by the Secretary of Education could be withheld from the institution.

Last Published: Apr 3, 2019