The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students”. Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school.
Providing Access to Parents/Guardians/Spouses/Friends
Drew students over 18 may provide “proxy access” to parents/guardians/spouses/friends as desired by going online at treehouse.drew.edu using the Parent/Guardian Proxy Access tab. Students can itemize the areas to which their proxies may have access; for example, students may wish their proxy to be able to view the tuition bill, financial aid requirements, academic grades or schedule. By setting up proxy access, the student permits their proxy to view such information online, as well as their proxy to have discussions about such information with university staff members. Please watch this video or follow this slideshow on how to provide proxy access.
Requesting review of Educational records
Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
A student requesting to inspect his/her educational record must to do so in writing to the Registrar’s office specifying the records to be reviewed. The University Registrar will arrange an appropriate meeting time for the student to review the record within 45 days of receipt of the written request. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
Cases involving disagreements about University data and records are heard by a committee convened by the University Registrar. If the committee rules against a student’s appeal, the student may place a statement in the permanent file challenging the accuracy of information in that file or further explaining the data. If a student believes that Drew University has not adequately redressed a grievance, the student may file an appeal with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Office, Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, Washington, DC 20202.
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31)*:
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting organizations;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
*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 school as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel) or a person serving on the school board. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the school who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist; a parent or student volunteering to serve on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer 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 responsibility.
Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, photograph and dates of attendance. A student wishing to block the release of Directory Information must do so in writing at the Office of the Registrar in the fall semester during the first week of classes. This “block” will remain on the student’s record until such time as its release is requested in writing from the University Registrar.