Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

In 1974, Congress passed the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) also known as the Buckley Amendment. Section 1002.22 of Florida Statutes requires public educational institutions to comply with FERPA mandates. College Operating Procedure 03-1701 describes the manner in which FERPA regulations are implemented at Florida SouthWestern State College.

Notification of Access and Review of Student Records

According to FERPA, students have four general rights with respect to their educational records.

  1. Students have the right to inspect and review their educational records within 45 days of submitting a written request for access.
  2. If a student believes that his or her educational record is inaccurate or misleading, the student can request an amendment to their educational records.
  3. Students can request the non-disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their education record (except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent).
  4. A student has the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Florida SouthWestern State College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The office that administers FERPA can be reached at the following address:

Family Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901

College Operating Procedure 03-1701 provides detailed descriptions of the manner in which Florida SouthWestern State College facilitates students’ access to their records and methods for requesting amendments to these records.

Directory Information

The College may disclose student directory information upon request and without written consent from the student. Directory information includes:

  1. Student’s name
  2. Student’s address
  3. Major field of study
  4. Dates of attendance
  5. Date of degrees and awards received
  6. Local and permanent addresses
  7. Telephone number
  8. Participation in official recognized activities, organizations, and sports
  9. Date of birth
  10. Previous colleges attended
  11. FSW e-mail address

Although the above directory information may be available for release to the general public, Florida SouthWestern State College does not routinely release such information to third parties. A student can preclude the release of any information by providing the Registrar with a written request to withhold directory information. Once the written request is received for a student, the student’s record will be noted as: “Restricted Information. No information is to be released without the written consent of the student.”


What are educational records?

Information recorded in any form that is directly related to a student and maintained by the college and by those acting on behalf of the college is an educational record and protected under FERPA. This information includes personal/demographic data, enrollment records, grades, schedules, and petitions. The medium in which the information exists does not have bearing on the information’s status as an educational record; record storage media can include a document in the admissions office (once a student enrolls), a computer printout, a class list, or a computer display.

Examples of information that are NOT included in the definition of educational record include:

  1. Records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker, are used only as personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
  2. Records of the law enforcement unit of an educational agency or institution.
  3. Records relating to an individual who is employed by an educational agency or institution that
    1. Are made and maintained in the normal course of business;
    2. Related exclusively to the individual in that individual’s capacity as an employee;
    3. Are not available for use for any other purpose
  4. Records on a student who is 18 years of age or older, or is attending an institution of postsecondary education, that are:
    1. Made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in his or her professional capacity or assisting in a paraprofessional capacity;
    2. Made, maintained, or used only in connection with treatment of the student;
    3. Disclosed only to individual providing treatment. For the prupose of this definition, treatment does not include remedial educational activities or activities that are part of the program of instruction at the agency or institution
  5. Records created or received by an educational agency or institution after an individual is no longer a student in attendance and that are not directly related to the indiviual’s attendance as a student;
  6. Grades on peer-graded papers before they are collected and recorded by a teacher.

What is the right to inspect and review?

Florida SouthWestern State College must grant a student’s request to review his or her educational record within 45 days after the request is received by the Registrar’s Office.

What is prior written consent?

A student’s written consent to release protected information is a signed and dated document that defines the records to be disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure, and the identity of the person to whom records will be disclosed.

Can I discuss a student’s academic performance?

A student’s academic performance is part of his or her record. Without prior written consent, discussing academic performance with anyone other than the student is a violation of FERPA.

When is written consent from the student not required to disclose protected information?

Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (The following is not an exhaustive list of exceptions):

  1. To school officials with a legitimate educational interest
  2. To officials of other schools to which a student is transferring
  3. To federal, state, and local authorities in connection with an audit or evaluation of state or federally supported educational programs
  4. Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
  5. Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school
  6. To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
  7. Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies

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