FERPA Key Terms
Any record, with certain exceptions, maintained by an institution that is directly related to a student or students. This record can contain a student's name(s) or information from which an individual student can be personally (individually) identified.
These records include: files, documents, and materials in whatever medium (handwriting, print, tapes, disks, film, microfilm, microfiche) which contain information directly related to students and from which students can be personally (individually) identified.
What is NOT an educational record:
- "Sole Possession" notes
- Law enforcement unit records
- Records maintained exclusively for individuals in their capacity as employees
- Doctor-patient privilege records
- Alumni Records
- Employment records except records of individuals who are employed as a result of their status as students (work study) are educational records.
"Sole Possession Notes"
Notes made by one person as an individual observation or recollection, are kept in the possession of the maker, and are only shared with a temporary substitute. This term has always been narrowly defined.
Notes taken in conjunction with any other person are not sole possession notes (counselor's notes, interview notes). Sharing these notes with another person, or placing them in an area where they can be viewed by others makes them educational records and subject to FERPA.
Best advice: If you don't want it reviewed, don't write it down.
Personally Identifiable means data or information which includes:
The name of the student, the student's parent, or other family members; the student's campus or home address; a personal identifier (such as a social security number or student number); a list of personal characteristics or other information which would make the student's identity easily traceable.
Example of a violation of this
For example, faculty should never leave graded papers in a pile for students to pick up or lists of grades with personally identifiable information. Rather they should randomly assign a code for each student and post grades with these instead.
Information contained in an educational record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.
DIRECTORY INFORMATION NEVER INCLUDES
- Social Security Number
- Country of citizenship
Members of an institution who act in the student's educational interest within the limitation of their "need to know."
A school official can be a person:
Employed by the college in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement and health staff personnel), Elected to the Board of Trustees, or company employed by or under contract to the college to perform a special task such as the attorney, auditor, or collection agency, or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
"Legitimate Educational Interest" is defined by each institution.
Kenyon officers, as may be necessary in the normal course of the educational and administrative functioning of the College. All members of the faculty and administration and the personnel of their offices shall have such access, except for the officers and personnel of the following offices: the bookstore, the Career Development Center, the library, the maintenance staff, the campus dining service, and campus safety. Student members of faculty committees may have such access under controlled conditions for limited purposes.
The Musts of FERPA
Institutions must disclose educational records without written consent of students to students who request the information from their own records
The May's of FERPA
Institutions may disclose educational records to a third party without written consent of students to the following:
- Authorized representatives of the following for audit, evaluation, or enforcement of federal and state supported programs: Comptroller General of the United States, The Secretary of the United States Department of Education, U.S. Attorney General (law enforcement only), State educational authorities
- Personnel within the institution determined by the institution to have a legitimate educational interest
- Persons or organizations providing to the student financial aid, or determining financial aid decisions
- Organizations conducting studies to develop validate, and administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs, or to improve instruction
- Accrediting organizations carrying out their accrediting functions
- Persons in compliance with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena, provided that the institution first make a reasonable attempt to notify the student. Exception: If the subpoena is issued from a federal grand jury, or for a law enforcement purpose, and orders the institution not to notify the student.
- A court if the student has initiated legal action against the institution or the institution has initiated legal action against the student
- Persons in an emergency, if the knowledge of information, in fact, is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons
- An alleged victim of any crime of violence of the results of any institutional disciplinary proceeding against the alleged perpetrator of that crime with respect to that crime
- Veterans Administration officials in response to requests related to VA programs
- Representatives of Homeland Security for purposes of the coordinating interagency partnership regulating international (CIPRIS)
- Does not supersede any state law that prohibits disclosure of this information.
- The public regarding the final results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding as long as the student has been determined to be the alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense. (This must include the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the institution against the student. The institution may not disclose the name of anyone else involved including the victim or witnesses).
Two May's Kenyon does NOT do.
- Parents of a student who have established that student's status as a dependent - IRS Code of 1986, Section 152
- Officials of other institutions in which the student seeks to enroll, on condition that the issuing institution makes a reasonable attempt to inform the student of the disclosure
Institutions may disclose information about students to their parents by any of three procedures:
- By obtaining the student's written consent
- By exercising its disclosure option on any students under age 21 regarding a violation of an institutional rule or federal, state, or local law regarding the use of alcohol or controlled substance as long as state law permits.
THE AUTHORITATIVE SOURCE
Family Policy Compliance Office
LeRoy Rooker, Director
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920