FERPA, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, as well as the implementing regulations thereto, is a “federal law designed to protect the privacy of educational records, to establish the rights of students to inspect and review their educational records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings.” With limited prescribed exceptions, educational institutions may not release personally identifiable information or non-directory information about a student without written permission from (i) the student’s parent, or (ii) the student if over the age of 18 or attending a postsecondary institution (an “eligible student”). Florida Statutes §§1002.225 and 1006.52 offer similar protections and provisions under state law.
Specifically, FERPA affords parents and eligible students certain rights with respect to student education records, including:
The right to inspect and review the student’s education records;
The right to seek amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights;
The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records (except to the extent otherwise authorized by law without consent); and
The right to file a complaint with the US Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the institution to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
Under FERPA, school personnel may share student records with other school officials who have legitimate educational interests in the information. As set forth in
, “school officials” are “persons employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a student affairs board or committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.” In addition, “a school official has a ‘legitimate educational interest’ if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the University.” The University may also disclose information from a student’s education records to officials of other institutions at which the student seeks or intends to enroll, and as otherwise permitted by law.
An educational institution may release student directory information without the consent of the parent or eligible student. The categories of directory information are also set forth in . If any parent or eligible student does not wish to have his/her directory information released, the parent or eligible student must notify the Registrar in writing on or before the end of the first week of classes of any semester.
To request the inspection, review or amendment of student records, please provide a written request to the Registrar that identifies the records requested and/or the proposed amendment, with as much specificity as reasonably possible. For records reviews, the Registrar will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Fees may be charged for copies.
For proposed record amendments, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise of the right to a hearing regarding the request for an amendment. Additional procedures regarding the hearing procedures will be provided at that time and shall be conducted in accordance with 34 CFR §§99.21, 99.22