What is FERPA?

FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) is a federal law pertaining to the release of and access to student educational records. FERPA protects students’ rights regarding the privacy and accuracy of education records.

FERPA applies to all schools that receive funds under applicable programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Institutions are responsible for ensuring that all of its school officials comply with FERPA. Failure to comply could ultimately lead to a withholding of funds administered by the Secretary of Education.

What are a Student’s Rights Under FERPA?

  • The right to inspect and review their education records.
  • The right to seek to amend education records that are believed to be inaccurate of misleading.
  • The right to demand that personally identifiable information be disclosed only with student consent, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  • The right to file a complaint against the institution
  • When the student is “in attendance” as defined by the institution
  • If the institution does not define “in attendance” as the point when a student registers for class

What is an Education Record?

An education record is any record which contains information that is personally identifiable to a student, and is maintained by the university or by a party or organization acting on behalf of the school. Education records may include: written and printed documents; electronic media; magnetic tape (microfilm and microfiche); film; diskette or CDs; video or audio tapes. This includes transcripts or other records obtained from a school in which a student was previously enrolled.

What Information is not Considered Part of an Education Record?

Sole possession records or private notes of individual staff or faculty that are not accessible or released to other personnel; law enforcement or campus security records; employee records (unless contingent upon attendance); medical records; alumni records.

What is Directory Information?

Under FERPA, some information included in a student’s education record is defined as directory information. Institutions may disclose that information without violating the law if it has specifically designated that information as “directory information.” Directory information may include: name; address; telephone number; major field of study; dates of attendance; current enrollment status (full-time/part-time); class standing; receipt or non-receipt of a degree; academic awards received.

The following information has been declared by Wallace Community College as directory information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone listing
  • Date of birth
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
  • Major field of study
  • Weight and height of a member of an athletic team
  • Dates of attendance
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Most recent educational institution attended
  • Photographs
  • Enrollment status
  • E-mail address

This information will be released to inquiring individuals or agencies unless students sign a Do Not Release Directory Information form during the first two weeks of the term. These forms are available from the Admissions and Records Office on the Wallace Campus in Dothan and the Student Services Office on the Sparks Campus in Eufaula. THIS FORM MUST BE RESUBMITTED ANNUALLY.

Annual Notification of Student Rights Under FERPA

We want to take this opportunity to give you a brief summary of your rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law that governs release of and access to student education records. These rights include:

  1. The right to inspect and review education records within 45 days of the day Wallace Community College receives a request for access.
  2. The right to request amendment of education records that students believe are inaccurate or misleading.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Wallace Community College to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

You can view these rights in detail at the following here. Questions concerning FERPA should be referred to the Office of Enrollment Services.

Parent Rights Relating to Student Educational Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) provides certain rights for parents regarding their children’s education records. FERPA gives these rights to custodial and noncustodial parents alike, unless there is a court order, legally binding document, or State law that specifically provides to the contrary. When a student reaches 18 years of age or attends an institution of postsecondary education at any age, he or she becomes an “eligible student,” and all rights under FERPA transfer from the parent to the student.