DART Toolkit II: Legal Issues — FERPA Overview

General Information

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects students’ educational records. Students have specific, protected rights regarding the release of such records and FERPA requires that institutions adhere strictly to these guidelines.

Entities Protected Under FERPA

FERPA gives students, including those with disabilities, the following rights regarding educational records (34 CFR § 99.31):

  • The right to access educational records kept by the school; 

  • The right to demand educational records be disclosed only with student consent; 

  • The right to amend educational records; 

  • The right to file complaints against the school for disclosing educational records in violation of FERPA.

Major Requirements Under FERPA

Student walkingStudents have a right to know about the purpose, content and location of information kept as a part of their educational records. They also have a right to expect that information in their educational records will be kept confidential unless they give permission to the school to disclose such information.

Under FERPA, “directory information” such as name, address, telephone listing and dates of attendance may be disclosed to third parties unless the eligible student has notified the school in writing that he or she does not want this information to be disclosed. Other information, including disability status, accommodations requests, relationship with disabilities services office, etc., is protected and may not be disclosed to third parties. Training directors and psychology faculty may share relevant information with those who have a “legitimate educational interest” in that information (34 CFR § 99.31).

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (1974). 

U.S. Department of Education. (2005). Frequently asked questions.
**DISCLAIMER: The goal of this webpage is to provide a general overview of major disability federal statutes, such as FERPA, and is intended to provide only general, nonspecific legal information. This website and these articles are not legal advice and are not intended as legal advice.