What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a Federal law designed to protect the privacy of student education records. FERPA governs the release of education records and access to education records. The FERPA policy is intended to ensure students have the right to inspect and review their education records, the right to amend their education records as appropriate, and the right to control access to their education records.
Who is Protected Under FERPA?
Current or formerly enrolled students are protected under FERPA. Students who have applied but have not attended Jackson State University (JSU) are not protected. Students are considered to be enrolled and in attendance as of the first day of a term.
What Are Education Records?
Education records are defined as records, files, documents, and other materials in handwriting, print, tape, film, electronic, or other media that contain information that are directly related to a student and are maintained by JSU or a party acting for JSU. Education records do not include post-attendance records, law enforcement records, employment records, medical records and records possessed only by the maker of the records.
What Rights Do Students Have?
Students have the right to: (1) inspect and review their education records, (2) request amendment to their education records, (3) consent to disclosures of non-directory information, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent, and (4) file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by JSU to comply with FERPA requirements.
To Whom May Records Be Released without Written Consent?
JSU will disclose information from a student’s education records only with the written consent of the student, except in the following cases:
- To the Student
- To anyone in response to requests for directory information (see below)
- To University employees who have a legitimate educational interest in the records
- To officials from other colleges or universities in which a student seeks or intends to enroll
- To certain officials of the U.S. Department of Education, the Comptroller General, and state and local educational authorities, and Department of Veterans Affairs in connection with certain state or federally supported education or assistance programs
- To agents acting on behalf of the University (e.g., clearinghouses, degree/enrollment verifiers)
- To third-party service providers under contract to provide educational services to the University
- To organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the University
- To accrediting organizations to carry out their functions
- To parents/legal guardians when their children (under age 21) are found to have violated the alcohol or drug policy of the institution (Warner Amendment)
- To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena.
- To an alleged victim of any crime of violence or the results of a disciplinary action regarding the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime
- To anyone requesting the final results of a disciplinary hearing against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense (Foley Amendment)
- To the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for purposes of the Coordinated Interagency Partnership Regulating International Students (CIPRIS)
- To military recruiters who request “Student Recruiting Information” for recruiting purposes only (Solomon Amendment). Student Recruiting Information is name, address, telephone listing, age (or year of birth), level of education, and major (conditions exist).
- To the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for purposes of complying with the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997
- To appropriate parties to protect the health and safety of students and other persons or to assist in resolving an emergency
What Is Directory Information?
Student record information is confidential and private. In accordance with both federal law (FERPA) and JSU policy, the University does not release student record information without prior written consent of the student. The one exception to this rule under FERPA is that JSU may release certain “directory information” without prior student consent. Directory information is defined as information which, if disclosed, is not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy, however all students may direct the University not to release directory information.
Designated directory information at JSU includes the following:
- Student Name
- City/town and state/province of residence
- Class level
- Enrollment status (full-time, part-time, or not enrolled) and current status
- Program of study
- Degrees and/or certificates earned including date of conferral
- Dates of attendance
- Awards and honors
How Can Students Restrict Disclosure of Directory Information?
Currently enrolled students may request that the University not release any directory information, and the institution must comply with the request. To restrict the release of information, students must complete a FERPA Authorization to Release/Revoke Form, found in the Student Services section on the Student Support tab of the student portal. Directory information is then withheld indefinitely until the Records office receives in writing a revocation of the request for nondisclosure.
Students who wish to restrict directory information should realize that restricting this important information will make it unavailable to all, including employers, loan agencies, scholarship committees, University publications and government and licensing agencies. Usually, it is to a student’s advantage to have directory information available to these important constituents.
Where Can I Get More Information About FERPA?
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, D.C., 20202-4605