Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
This page summarizes and comments on basic information about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended (commonly known as FERPA) and should not be considered a definitive review of the act. Federal regulations, as well as the act, may be referenced for further details.
Students must be notified annually of the categories of personally identifiable information which the institution has designated as directory information and will release without the written consent of the student. Students may direct the institution, in writing, to withhold directory information. All other information about students is confidential and is treated as such.
Release of Records
Institutions must give public notice that personally identifiable information from education records will not be released without the prior written consent of the student except as specified under the provisions of the act. Exceptions may include personnel (school official) within the institution, other institutions in which students seek to enroll, persons or organizations providing financial aid to students, accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function, organizations conducting studies to improve instruction in compliance with a judicial order, and in an emergency to protect the health or safety of students or other persons. Institutions must disclose education records to federal and state representatives of agencies listed in the act.
A school official is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using university employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor or collection agent, OCICU, 2U); a person serving on the board of trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing tasks.
Other than those individuals and agencies identified above, no person or organization has a right to review a student’s academic record or to receive a transcript without the written consent of the student. However, institutions may release, without written consent, information identified as public or “directory information,” provided the student has been given reasonable opportunity to prohibit disclosure of such information.
Institutions are responsible for informing parties to whom personally identifiable information is released that the recipients of such information are not permitted to disclose the information to others without the written consent of the student.
Record of Disclosure
Records of disclosures and requests for disclosures of the student’s academic record, other than to the student, to others in response to written requests from the student, or to school officials, are considered a part of the student’s academic record and must be retained as long as the academic record is retained by the institution.
Right to Review
FERPA requires institutions to develop written policies and procedures for implementing the review and challenge provisions of the act. Only currently enrolled students must be notified annually of their rights under the act, but both currently enrolled and former students have the right to inspect and review their education records, and to challenge contents they believe are inaccurate or misleading.
Parents or legal guardians of students may establish their right to review student records provided the parents or guardians can document the student’s dependency as defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Section 152.
Challenge to Education Records
Institutions are required to have a written policy clearly outlining and explaining the challenge process. Students have the right to request to have records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. A full and fair opportunity must be provided to present evidence relevant to the issue raised. Students who are not satisfied with the outcome of the challenge process have the right to place in their education record a statement commenting on the contents of the education record or on their reason for disagreeing with the decision of the hearing panel.
Transcripts of the permanent education record must be issued to students upon written request unless there are unpaid financial obligations to the college or university, or other unresolved issues. The institution is not obligated, however, to provide students with copies of transcripts or source documents from other institutions unless state laws dictate otherwise.
Right to File a Complaint
A student may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
Directory Information is considered by the University to include a Student’s name, University email address, graduation date, degree granted and University honors received, enrollment status (for current students), dates of attendance, and program/major. Student addresses and telephone numbers are not currently included as Directory Information. When the University provides information about Students under the Solomon Amendment, that information includes the Directory Information defined here as well as mailing address, email address, telephone number, age, and class level (e.g., freshman, sophomore, etc).
Students may direct Arcadia University, in a written document containing a date and original signature, to withhold directory information. Arcadia University will comply with an eligible request within a reasonable period of time, but not more than 45 days after it has received the request. The written directive to withhold directory information will remain in effect until the student directs Arcadia University, in a written document containing a date and original signature, that directory information may once again be released.
Accuracy of Records
Students who wish to challenge the accuracy of their academic records may notify Arcadia University, in a written document containing a date and original signature, of the nature of the inaccuracy. Arcadia University may amend the educational record within a reasonable period of time and notify the student of the amendment.
If Arcadia University will not amend the educational record, the student will be informed of the decision along with their right to a hearing. If, as a result of the hearing, Arcadia University decides that the information in the education record is not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of the student, it shall inform the student of the right to place a statement in the record commenting on the contested information in the record or stating why he or she disagrees with the decision of the University. If Arcadia University places a statement in the education records of the student it will maintain the statement with the contested part of the record for as long as the record is maintained and disclose the statement whenever it discloses the portion of the record to which the statement relates.
Please refer to the University’s FERPA Compliance Policy.