Ask the FERPA Professors

May 27, 2024
  • FERPA Professor

Dear FERPA Professor,

I am concerned about a recent, possible, subpoena. A student has signed to have documents released – but what they are wanting released is not directory information. Should we comply with the request when we would allow the student to review their information, but we would not make copies of it.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Ms. Mara

Dear Ms. Mara,

The student has provided a third party with a signed consent allowing the institution to disclose the specified education records to that party. Such a consent, if it meets the requirements of § 99.30 of FERPA, provides the institution the permission to disclose the requested records but, importantly, does not require such a disclosure. Thus, any decision on honoring such a request, and/or what information it chooses to provide in response to the signed consent, is left up to the institution. The only party to whom institutions must disclose education records is to the student. Also, FERPA generally does not require institutions to provide copies of education records to the student so long as the opportunity to inspect and review those records is provided. See § 99.10(d) of the FERPA regulations.

I hope this is helpful in answering your questions. You can find the above cited FERPA regulations on pages 159 and 157 of the 2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.

The FERPA Professor

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