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Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

 What is FERPA?

FERPA is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings. It is enforced by the Family Policy Compliance Office at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

FERPA rights begin when a student is admitted, enrolled, and begins attending or participating in classes. FERPA rights end with the death of the student.

Basic Student Rights

  • Right to inspect and review their education records
  • Right to request to amend their education records
  • Right to limit disclosure of “personally identifiable information” (information that would directly identify the student or make the student’s identity easily traceable) known as directory information
  • Right to file a complaint with the Department of Education concerning an alleged failure by the institution to comply with FERPA.

Basic Definitions:

Education Records: those records that are directly related to the student and are maintained by the educational institution. Exception to Education records: Sole possession records, law enforcement records, employment records, medical records and alumni records.

Student: a student is defined as an individual who have been admitted to an institution, and have attended class at that institution 

Sole possession Records: Sole possession records means that an individual creates and uses these records for his own purpose and never reveals or shares those records with anyone else.

Education School Official: is a person employed by the education agency or institution in an administrative, supervisory academic or research, or other support staff position, including law enforcement and health staff. It is also a person serving on an institution governing body, or a student serving on an official committee or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

What is Directory Information?

Directory information: is information that can, at the college’s discretion be disclosed without student permission. FERPA dictates that each institution defines and makes public its directory information. Students may block the disclosure of directory information by notifying the Registrar's Office in writing.

At OCCC directory information is restricted to:

  • Student's name
  • Address (City, State and/or Country Only)
  • Phone number
  • College email address
  • Major field of study and degree program
  • Semesters or terms of enrollment
  • Enrollment status (Full/Part time)
  • Degrees, honors and awards received
  • Previous education institution attended prior to OCCC

FERPA in 5 Minutes


FERPA Videos

Student Scenario

Faculty/Staff Scenario