Top 5 Things to Know About FERPA
If a parent contacted you about his student’s grades, would you know how to handle the situation?
“Student education records are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act — known to most as FERPA,” said Georgia Tech Registrar Reta Pikowsky. “Taking a moment to familiarize yourself with this legislation can go a long way in helping you, and the Institute, avoid problems down the road.”
Here are the top five things that every faculty and staff member should know about this federal law:
- FERPA gives students rights. Under the law, students have the right to inspect and review their education records; to request an amendment to their records if they think something is inaccurate or misleading; to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their records; and to file a complaint with the Department of Education regarding FERPA noncompliance.
- Each institution is unique. Colleges and universities have not implemented FERPA in the same way. For example, under FERPA, institutions are allowed to have their own definition of “directory information.” What is considered “directory” or “public” information at one institution can be different at another.
- Certain student information should never be shared. At Tech, there are some kinds of information you should never provide without student permission including student ID numbers, citizenship, gender, ethnicity, religious preferences, grades, GPAs, and daily class schedules. Since these things are not defined as “directory information” at Tech they can’t be shared without permission.
- Records are protected from the get-go. This means student records are protected by FERPA as soon as an admitted student registers for classes, and under Tech policy, as soon as a student applies for admission.
- When in doubt, don’t give it out. If you have FERPA questions or concerns, contact Pikowsky’s office at 404-894-4181.