Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

FERPA is the federal law that governs the rights of students and institutional responsibilities with respect to student records. If you have any questions regarding any of the information contained herein, please contact the Gallaudet University Office of the Registrar via email registrar.office@gallaudet.edu

What is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

What rights does FERPA afford students with respect to their education records?
  • The right to inspect and review their educational records
  • The right to seek the amendment of their educational records
  • The right to consent to the disclosure of their educational records
  • The right to obtain a copy of their school’s Student Records Policy
  • The right to file a complaint with the FERPA Office in Washington, D.C.
What is an Education Record?

“Education Records” include any information or data recorded in any medium, including but not limited to, handwriting, print, tapes, film, e-mail, microfilm, and microfiche, which is directly related to a student and maintained by the University or by a person acting for the University.

Examples of an Education Record include:

  • Admissions information for students who are accepted and enrolled
  • Biographical information including date and place of birth, gender, nationality, information about race and ethnicity, and identification photographs
  • Grades, test scores, evaluations, courses taken, academic specialization and activities, and official communications regarding a student's status
  • Course work including papers and exams, class schedules, as well as written, email or recorded communications that are part of the academic process
  • Disciplinary records
  • Students' financial and financial aid records
  • Internship program records
What is NOT an Educational Record?
  • Law enforcement records, as defined in FERPA
  • Employment records
  • Medical records
  • Post-attendance records
  • Sole possession records (not accessible or revealed to any other person)
When is the student’s written consent not required to disclose information?
  • To University officials (including third parties under contract) with legitimate educational interests
  • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
  • To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency in order to protect the student or others
  • To parents in cases of drug or alcohol violation when the student is under the age of 21 • To the provider or creator of a record to verify the validity of that record (e.g. in cases of suspected fraud)
  • To organizations conducting research studies on behalf of the University, provided there is written agreement between the University and the research organization
  • To officials at an institution in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is currently enrolled FERPA allows for disclosure in the above circumstances, but disclosure is not required.
Filing a Complaint

Students have a right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the Gallaudet University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605