Student Privacy: Parents' Guide to FERPA
The Basics of FERPA
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which is also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a Federal law that helps protect the privacy of student educational records. FERPA provides students the right to inspect and review educational records, the right to seek to amend those records, and the right to limit disclosure of information from their records. The intent of the legislation is to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of educational records. FERPA applies to all institutions that are recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education.
To what information may parents have access?
Anyone can request directory information. Students, however, have the right to withhold any directory information that they wish to withhold from any third party. A third party is anyone inside or outside of the university who does not have an “educational need to know” the information in the student record as a necessary part of his/her job. Under FERPA, parents are third parties, with no rights to the record.
What is Directory Information?
Directory Information is information contained in a student's educational record that, generally, would not be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
LSU has established the following as Directory Information, and it may be released to those requesting it, unless the student specifically requests otherwise by submitting the “Request to Prevent Disclosure of Information” form, located in the Office of the University Registrar (Room 112, Thomas Boyd Hall):
- Student's name, local address, and telephone number
- Student's home address
- Student's email address
- Date and place of student's birth
- Student's major field of study/classification
- Student's participation in officially recognized activities and sports; weight and height of members of athletic teams
- Dates of student's attendance
- Degrees, awards, and honors received by the student
- The most recent previous educational institution attended by the student
LSU will not disclose any other information without written consent from the student. If a student has chosen to restrict the release of directory information, NO information can be released without further written permission of the student. Should someone inquire about an individual who has restricted the release of his/her directory information, the appropriate faculty/staff response is, “I am sorry, I do not have any information on any such person.”
For more information concerning the privacy rights of students, please refer to the Official University Policy Statement, PS-30.
May I access my child's student records?
At the post-secondary level, parents have no inherent right to access or inspect their son's or daughter's educational records, regardless of age, unless granted in writing by the student. The right of access is limited solely to the student.
May I view my child's grades, exams, or academic progress?
Final grades, exam grades, and other information about academic progress are examples of the confidential information that make up part of a student's educational record. This information is protected under FERPA, and parents do not have access to it, unless the student has provided express, written authorization.
What about crisis or emergency situations?
If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an educational institution may release that information, if the institution determines that the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.
In summary, the record belongs to the student. Parents only have rights to directory information and access to records granted by the student. This means that parents cannot request grades, academic transcripts, or class schedules, unless the student signs a release indicating that he/she wants to release the information and to whom.
FERPA Questions or Concerns
As a parent, you do have a right to request and receive directory information. You may direct general questions to the Office of the University Registrar.