Educational Records Information
FERPA or Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects the educational records as stated in the 20 U.S.C § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99. The Act is applicable for all the schools that are registered with the US Department of Education Program.
The education records are confidential records and therefore cannot be accessed by one and all. FERPA authorizes students and their parents to access the education records of their children. The FERPA is also known as the Buckley Amendment ordains that schools that receive federal grants are not authorized to release educational records without obtaining consent from the concerned student. The law outlines the basic criteria for maintaining the confidentiality of the records which can further be worked upon by the state machinery.
FERPA, formulated by the Congress, grants the right to parents to access the educational records of their children. Once the student attains the legal age of 18, he or she is entitled to view his or her own education records. They are henceforth known as “eligible students”.
Availability of Educational Records
The educational records are made available for review by students and their parents. However, the school does not provide them with any copies of the records. The schools may also charge a certain fee for a reviewing one’s education record.
As a student, if you find that a school record contains erroneous data, you can at once contact the school authorities to modify the inaccurate information. In case, the school authorities do not agree to make the necessary changes, the student is entitled to a formal hearing. If the records are still not amended by the school, then the eligible student and his or her folks can furnish a statement along with the erroneous record and their views on it.
Release of Education Records
Though educational records are not available to anyone else except the eligible student and his or her parents, the records may be released with/without prior permission from the student under certain conditions:
• Inquiry from a school to which the student may have applied
• Education officials who have an educational interest
• Organizations that offer financial assistance to students
• Officials who are authorized to perform evaluation or an audit process
• The request for educational records should be in compliance to a law or a legal subpoena
• Local and state authorities who work within a juvenile justice system and provided the requests are made in compliance to the laws of the state.
The information that can be released without the prior permission of the student include details like residential address, contact details, awards received, date of birth and the attendance records. It is also referred to as “directory information”. But again, it is important to inform the parents and the concerned student about dissemination of education records information. For further information you can 1 800 872 5327. You can also get in touch with them at the address: Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington DC 20202 8520. Education records contain vital information and therefore their accessibility is limited.