Ask the FERPA Professors

June 24, 2024
  • FERPA Professor

Dear FERPA Professor,

I found a policy in our catalog that doesn’t appear to be in line with FERPA and wanted to confirm one way or another with you. Here’s the policy:

  1. Based on your understanding of FERPA, is this an accurate definition of “student”?
  2. Based on your understanding of FERPA, should prospective students be included in this FERPA statement re: the confidentiality of student records?
Many, many thanks for your intel. Reading it for the first time set off alarms in my head, but maybe there’s something I’m not considering?
Ms. Axon

Dear Ms. Axon,

It would appear, based on the supplied definition, that applicants are considered "students" at the College. This means that FERPA would apply to those records, just as with any other student. The decision to define applicants as "students" is one that is made by the institution.  You can find a letter related to this issue on page 247 of the 2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.

The FERPA Professor

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