The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to student educational records. The law, which seeks to protect the rights of students and to ensure the privacy and accuracy of education records, applies to all schools that receive funds under applicable programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

Visit the department's Family Policy Compliance Office website to learn more.

Regulations and Recent Guidance

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99)

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Final Rules (December 2011)

FPCO's Guidance on FERPA and the Disclosure of Student Information Related to Emergencies and Disasters (June 2010)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended (February 2010)

FPCO's Dear Colleague Letter on the 2010 Census (September 2009)

Legislative History of Major FERPA Provisions (February 2004)

In light of the December 2011 FERPA changes, AACRAO contracted with a prominent D.C. law firm to produce additional language for institutions to use as part of their annual FERPA Notice. The association recommends the FERPA Addendum Notice as a compliance addition to institutional privacy disclosures.

Model Contract - Institution/Vendor Agreement for Outsourced Educational Activity Services

  • What are a student's rights under FERPA?


    The right to inspect and review their education records.

    The right to seek to amend education records that are believed to be inaccurate of misleading.

    The right to demand that personally identifiable information be disclosed only with student consent, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

    The right to file a complaint against the institution


  • What is an education record?


    An education record is any record which contains information that is personally identifiable to a student, and is maintained by the university or by a party or organization acting on behalf of the school. Education records may include: written and printed documents; electronic media; magnetic tape (microfilm and microfiche); film; diskette or CDs; video or audio tapes. This includes transcripts or other records obtained from a school in which a student was previously enrolled.


  • What information is not considered part of an education record?


    Sole possession records or private notes of individual staff or faculty that are not accessible or released to other personnel; law enforcement or campus security records; employee records (unless contingent upon attendance); medical records; alumni records.


  • What is directory information?


    Under FERPA, some information included in a student's education record is defined as directory information. Institutions may disclose that information without violating the law if it has specifically designated that information as "directory information." Directory information may include: name; address; telephone number; major field of study; dates of attendance; current enrollment status (full-time/part-time); class standing; receipt or non-receipt of a degree; academic awards received