FERPA is a Federal law that is administered by the Family Policy Compliance Office (Office) in the U.S. Department of Education (Department). 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99. FERPA applies to all educational agencies and institutions (e.g., schools) that receive funding under any program administered by the Department. Private post-secondary schools, however, generally do receive such funding and are subject to FERPA.
Once a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a post-secondary institution, he or she becomes an "eligible student," and all rights formerly given to parents under FERPA transfer to the student.
The eligible student has the right to:
1) have access to his or her education records,
2) seek to have the records amended,
3) have control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records
(except in certain circumstances specified in the FERPA regulations, some of which are discussed below)
4) file a complaint with the Department.
The term "education records" is defined as those records that contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.
FERPA generally prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information derived from education records. Thus, information that an official obtained through personal knowledge or observation, or has heard orally from others, is not protected under FERPA. This remains applicable even if education records exist which contain that information, unless the official had an official role in making a determination that generated a protected education record.
For more information about FERPA and your rights, please review the current Rocky Vista University catalog.