Ask the FERPA Professor

June 24, 2022
  • FERPA
  • FERPA Professor
cartoon figure reminiscent of Einstein stands in front of a chalkboard with the board "FERPA" written on it

Dear FERPA Professor,

I’m an Associate Director and I’ve been asked to do a little research for our institution to try to find an AACRAO definition of what a registered student vs. enrolled student is.  I’ve found various definitions searching online but haven’t been able to locate anything solid or from a “credible” source.

I was reaching out with hopes that one of you could possibly help with this or point me in the direction of the information. I apologize in advance if this is totally out of your realm, but if you’re able to point me to someone else, that would be greatly appreciated as well.

Thank you so much for your time, have a great evening!

Ms. Pearl


Dear Ms. Pearl,

The term "student" is defined in FERPA as "any individual who is or has been in attendance at an educational agency or institution and regarding whom the agency or institution maintains education records."  See § 99.3"Student" in the FERPA regulations.  FERPA does not define "enrolled student," but if the student is in attendance at the College and records are being created, then that person is a student.  You can find the above cited regulation on page 155 of the 2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.  You can also find a letter about when a student might be considered "in attendance" on page 247 of the Guide.

I hope this is helpful in answering your question.

The FERPA Professor