FERPA stands for The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (a.k.a. FERPA or the Buckley Amendment). This is a federal law that was enacted in 1974.

  • This law allows students access to their educational records. Students can inspect and review their records, and request to amend their records if they believe there is inaccurate information.
  • FERPA prohibits the release of student records to outside parties. There are exceptions.
  • One such exception is directory data. The law PERMITS Madison College to release directory information about a student without permission, unless the student places a FERPA hold. Directory information includes: name, major field of study, dates of attendance (term start/end date), enrollment status (full or part-time), degrees and awards received, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, email address.
  • FERPA applies to all current and former students of the College.
  • FERPA is regulated by the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights. There is no private cause of action under FERPA. This means a person cannot sue if he or she believes there is a FERPA violation. The person must file a complaint with the US Department of Education for compliance.

 These are NOT educational records under FERPA   

  • Sole possession records (personal notes for memory not emails sent to others)
  • Madison College security records (i.e., not obtained from enrollment database but created by security)
  • Employment records 
  • Medical records  
  • Post-attendance records

 Samples of educational records protected by FERPA

  • Grades
  • Test scores
  • I.D. numbers or Social Security Numbers (including last 4 digits only)
  • Financial records
  • Disciplinary records
  • Class schedule

 When can a student’s educational records be released?

  • The information is directory data and there is no FERPA hold
  • The student authorizes the release in writing
  • To administrators who have a legitimate educational interest (real need to know)
  • To law enforcement and health officials in cases of a (1) health or safety emergency; and (2) specific approval by Carolyn Jarrett, Legal Counsel, or James Bottoni, Chief of Security
  • To third party authorized representatives such as auditors and attorneys
  • A lawfully issued subpoena with reasonable and  prior notification to the student (exception is federal grand jury)