Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

U.S. Department of EducationThe Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) helps protect the privacy of student education records. The Act provides for the right to inspect and review education records, the right to seek to amend those records and to limit disclosure of information from the records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records. The Act applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education. Institutions that fail to comply with FERPA may have funds administered by the Secretary of Education withheld.

Basic Rights of Students

Basic rights of students are to be notified of their FERPA rights at least once annually, to inspect and review their records, to amend an incorrect record, and to consent to disclosure (with exceptions). Students have the right to see everything in their educational records, except, information about other students, financial records of parents, and confidential letters of recommendation if they waived their right of access.

Acts Amending FERPA

Major Acts that Amend FERPA include the following:

The USA Patriot Act

Section 507 of the USA PATRIOT ACT amends FERPA by permitting educational agencies and institutions to disclose - without the consent or knowledge of the student or parent- personally identifiable information from the student's education records to the Attorney General of the United States or to his designee in response to an ex parte order in connection with the investigation or prosecution of terrorism crimes. In addition, the school is not required to record such disclosures.

The Solomon Amendment

The Solomon Amendment explicitly states that military recruiters must be given equal access to that provided other recruiters. SMU is therefore obligated to release data included in the list of "student recruiting information," upon request. For more information, please see Solomon Amendment & FERPA.