The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or the Buckley Amendment, FERPA is a federal law that was enacted in 1974 to protect the privacy of student educational records. All institutions that receive federal funding must comply with FERPA.
At primary through secondary institutions (K-12) the rights to a student’s education records lie with the parents. When a student turns 18 years of age, or regardless of age, enters a post-secondary institution, such as AUM, the rights to educational records transfer to the student.
As a parent, you need to understand how the law changes once your child enrolls at a post-secondary institution. In essence, he or she becomes the “owner” of his or her educational records.
In primary and secondary educational institutions (i.e. K-12), FERPA rights belong to the parent. However, when the student reaches the age of 18 orbegins to attend a post-secondary institution, regardless of age, all FERPA rights transfer to the student. In other words, at AUM, FERPA rights belong to the student, not the parents.
According to the law, a person becomes a student for purposes of FERPA when they are “in attendance” at an institution. This includes attendance in person or remotely by videoconference, satellite, Internet, or other electronic and telecommunications technologies.
At AUM, we define a student as someone currently or previously enrolled in any academic offering of the University. This does not include prospective students or applicants to any academic program of the University.
According to AUM policy, FERPA becomes effective on the first day of classes for those newly admitted students who have scheduled at least one course. A student who accepted an admission offer but did not schedule a least one class or a newly admitted student who canceled his or her registration either before or after the semester begins, is not considered “in attendance” and therefore, not covered by FERPA.
Education records are defined as records, files, documents, and other materials that contain information directly related to a student and are maintained by AUM or by a person acting for the University. Education records take many forms, including paper, and electronic.
Education records include (but are not limited to):
Student course schedules
Student financial records
Payroll records for employees who are employed as a direct result of their status as students (e.g., work study, student workers, graduate assistants)
It is information that can be released without the student’s written consent, unless the student opts out of disclosure.
It is information FERPA has deemed as not harmful or an invasion of privacy.
Each institution, to some extent, can determine what information is classified as directory information.
At AUM, directory information includes: name; address; email address; phone number; dates of attendance, classification, and curriculum; degree (s) conferred, awards and honors received; participation in officially recognized activities or sports; weight/height of a member of an athletic team; photographs, videos or other electronic images; most recent educational agency or institution attended.
In higher education, the student holds FERPA rights, not the parent or guardian.
Parents can obtain directory information unless the student has opted out of disclosure.
Parents can obtain non-directory information (e.g. grades, GPA, financial aid or student account information) if the student is a legal dependent as shown on their most recent tax return (a copy must be filed with the Registrar).
Parents may obtain non-directory information if the student signs a consent form releasing information to them. This form can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office. A signed consent form does not constitute a “power of attorney” empowering parents to act on behalf of the student.