Privacy Act (FERPA)


The 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law (20 U.S.C. 1232g) that protects the privacy of a student’s educational record. Specifically, the law offers the following protections and rights to students:

  • annual notification of their FERPA rights and of what the College defines as Directory Information;
  • the right to see the information in their academic record;
  • the right to consent to disclosure of information in their academic record and the right to withhold information that is Directory Information;
  • the right to seek to amend records and, in certain cases, append a statement to the record;
  • the right to file a complaint with the Department of Education Compliance Office in Washington DC.

An education record is any record (with a few exceptions) maintained by the College that is directly related to a student. This record can contain a student's name or information from which an individual student could be personally identified. Information in a student's academic record is considered private and, in most cases, cannot be released to another individual unless the student provides prior written consent. Here are several situations where information from an education record might be disclosed without prior written consent:

  1. The information has been defined by the institution as Directory Information. Please refer to the "Request for Non-Disclosure of Directory Information" for details of what Elizabethtown College defines as Directory Information.
  2. The information is needed by a school official who has a legitimate education interest in the information. For example, this could be an academic advisor who needs to review a student's past course history in order to advise the student on completion of graduation requirements.
  3. In an emergency, the institution believes that disclosure of certain information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons.

Parents can learn more by reading the FERPA reference for families.

Additional information about FERPA is available for faculty and advisors.  In addition, a FERPA training module for faculty and staff can be accessed by clicking the screen below. Note: For best viewing, keep your cursor out of the screen area except when prompted to respond or advance to the next slide.