What You Should Know About FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)


What are Education Records?

"Education records" are records that:

  • Contain information that is directly related to a student.
  • Are maintained by an education agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.

What Does Not Qualify as an Education Record?

Records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker for use only as a memory aid and not shared with others.

  • Records created by Public Safety for a law enforcement purpose and maintained by Public Safety.
  • Certain employment records that relate exclusively to an individual's employment capacity. However, Student Employment records are considered education records under FERPA.
  • Medical and psychological records made, maintained, or used only in connection with the treatment of the student.
  • Post-attendance records (alumni records).

What Are a Student's Rights Under FERPA?

  • Right to inspect and review education records.
  • Right to request amendment of education records.
  • Right to have some control over the disclosure of information from education records.
  • Right to file with the U.S. Department of Education a complaint concerning alleged failures by the education agency or institution to comply with the requirements of the act.

What About Parental Access to a Student's Education Records?

"Parent" means a parent of a student and includes a natural parent, a guardian or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or guardian.

When a student turns 18 years old or enters a post-secondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to parents under FERPA transfer to the student.  However, FERPA also provides ways in which schools may share information with parents.  For example:

  • Schools may disclose education records to parents if the student is a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Schools may disclose education records to parents if a health or safety emergency involves their son or daughter.
  • Schools may inform parents if the student who is under the age of 21 has violated any  law or its policy concerning the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance.

students

To avoid violating FERPA rules, do not at any time:

  • Post grades using any part of a student's ID number.  If you  want to post grades outside of your office, assign individual numbers to students at random.  Only the student and the faculty member who assigned the number should know the number.  The order of posting should never be alphabetic by student name.
  • Leave stacked graded papers for student to pick up- not even in sealed envelopes (unless you have the students' permission to do so).  Instead, mail grades, papers/exams via campus or US mail in envelopes that students pre-address, pre-stamp and provide for you.
  • Circulate a printed class list for attendance purposes if it shows names and social security numbers or IDs.
  • Allow students to view, read, or record another student's social security number while in your work area.
  • Discuss student progress with anyone other than the student without the student's consent (this includes the student's parents and spouse).

Special "Do's" for Faculty/Staff

Make sure you protect all education records in your possession.  This includes paper documents in your office such as computer printouts, class lists, display screen data and advising notes.  These are practical tools that you need to do your job; however, they should be protected like you would protect a purse or wallet.  You should not leave these items out in open areas, but store them out of sight, preferably in a locked cabinet or drawer when not in use.

You have access to information only for legitimate use in completion of your responsibilities as a university employee.  "Need-to-know" is the basic principle.


What Is Considered "Directory Information"?

Augusta University may release appropriately designated “directory information” without the student’s written consent, unless the student has advised the University to the contrary in accordance with the University procedures.

Augusta University has designated the following as directory information:

  • Student's Name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Email
  • Photograph
  • Program of Study
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Enrollment Status (e.g., undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part-time)
  • Grade Level
  • Honors and Awards
  • Degree Awarded

To restrict the release of information, students can complete the Request for Confidential Status Form.  Requesting confidential status will prevent employees of Augusta University from providing any directory or confidential information.  When a confidentiality restriction is in place, we can only discuss your record with you if you appear in person with picture identification or if you release the restriction. 

To remove the confidential status, students must complete the bottom of the Request for Confidential Status Form.

Students may complete the Authorization to Release Information Form to authorize release of their academic record information to specific individuals.

Augusta University reserves the right to withhold directory information at its discretion.

 

Annual FERPA Notification