The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Under this Federal law, school officials cannot release information in an education record without written permission from the student, with certain exceptions. School officials may release directory information, without consent, unless the student has requested confidentiality.
If you would like a third party, such as your parent(s), to have access to your education records, a FERPA release form may be the right choice for you.
Download the FERPA release form (PDF) (which will require logging into your My Evergreen account)
By completing and submitting the FERPA release form, you give The Evergreen State College permission to discuss information from your student record with the person(s) you identify on the form. You may revoke (cancel) a FERPA release at any time by completing and submitting a new FERPA release form to Registration and Records.
Releasing copies of your transcript documents to third parties requires separate consent.
Important Points and Definitions
The essence of the Act is that College students must be permitted to inspect their own education records.
The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. The essence of the Act is that College students must be permitted to inspect their own education records.
Students have the right to:
- Inspect and review their education records within a reasonable time period.
- Request an amendment to education records they believe are inaccurate or misleading.
- Consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in their records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.
- File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures to comply with the requirements of FERPA.
School officials may not disclose personally identifiable information about students nor permit inspection of education records without the student's written permission unless such action is covered by certain exceptions permitted by the Act. Student records and directory information are accessible to members of the faculty and staff who have a legitimate need to know this information. The student must grant written permission to a parent or any other person who wishes to access educational records.
Institutions may disclose "directory" information without consent. However, students may request confidentiality of their directory information.
Questions concerning students' rights under FERPA should be directed to the Registration & Records Office or the Office of Enrollment Services.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
A federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their educational records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings.
This act is enforced by the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S.. Department of Education, Washington DC. The Family Policy Compliance Office is the office within the Department of Education that administers FERPA and is responsible for providing technical assistance on FERPA to educational institutions.
Notes: FERPA is applicable to both K-12 and higher education. The Family Policy Compliance Office is responsible for both levels of education.
The main difference in FERPA between these two levels of education is that the rights ascribed to the “student” at the higher education level are granted to the parents at the K-12 level. FERPA rights are granted to parents until their child reaches the age of 18 or begins attending an institution of high education regardless of age.
In the law, the term “eligible students” refers to a student who has gained FERPA rights. At Evergreen, once a student is offered or denied admission he/she is considered an eligible student.
FERPA applies only to Education Records.
An Education Record is any record, with certain exceptions, maintained by an institution that is directly related to a student or students. This record can contain a student's name, or students' names, or information from which an individual student, or students, can be personally (individually) identified.
FERPA covers records:
- Handwritten, printed, electronic, film, stored on disk, microfilm, microfiche, tapes, or otherwise recorded;
- Which personally identifies an enrolled student; and,
- Are maintained by the school or an authorized party, which is shared or accessible to other school officials.
FERPA does not cover:
- "Sole possession" notes
- Law enforcement records created solely for law enforcement purposes
- Records maintained exclusively for individuals in their capacity as employees
- Employment records relating to individuals employed by the university (unless employment is contingent upon enrollment)
- Medical records
- Alumni records
Personally identifiable means data or information which include:
- The name of the student, the student's parents, or other family members
- The students campus or home address
- A personal identifier (such as a social security number or student number)
- A list of personal characteristics or other information which would make the student's identity easily traceable
Evergreen defines directory information as:
- the students name
- telephone number
- dates of attendance
- date and place of birth
- major field of study
- participation in officially recognized activities and sports, degrees
- the most recent educational institution attended by the student
Details regarding student records at The Evergreen State College are available at Registration & Records.
Privacy Statement (Directory Information)
Institutions may disclose, without consent, "directory" information.
Institutions may disclose, without consent, "directory" information. However, students may request that the institution not disclose directory information about them ("confidentiality"). Student records and directory information are accessible to members of the faculty and staff who have a legitimate need to know this information.
Evergreen defines directory information as the student's:
- Telephone number
- Dates of attendance
- Date and place of birth
- Major field of study
- Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
- Degrees and awards received
- Most recent educational institution attended by the student
Some effects of requesting confidential status:
- Students with confidential status must make all address changes with a signed authorization or in person with a form of ID;
- Friends or relatives trying to reach students with confidential status will not be able to do so through the College;
- Inquiries from loan companies, prospective employers, family members, etc., about a student with confidential status will be informed that we have no record of the student's attendance here.
Confidential classification remains on a student's record until a signed request authorizing its removal is submitted to the College.
Information for Parents
Rights transfer to the student when a student reaches the age of 18
FERPA rights are granted to parents until their child reaches the age of 18 or begins attending an institution of higher education, regardless of age. FERPA rights transfer to the student when a student reaches the age of 18 or begins attending a school beyond the high-school level, regardless of age.
Parents may obtain directory information only at the discretion of the institution.
Parents may obtain non-directory information (evaluations, class schedules, etc.) when the College has a signed release from their student.
Information for Faculty and Staff
School officials may not disclose personally identifiable information without permission.
Student records and directory information are accessible to members of the faculty and staff who have a legitimate need to know this information. School officials may not disclose personally identifiable information about students nor permit inspection of education records without written permission from the student, unless such action is covered by certain exceptions permitted by FERPA.
Many people have a “confidential” indicator on their directory information. You cannot release directory information to third parties (parents, spouses, partners, friends, employers, or others) unless the student gives written consent to do so. If a student has requested confidentiality, you have a responsibility to protect this information. In fact, if a student has asked for confidentiality, you should not acknowledge that this person is even a student to outside inquirers.
If a student has not asked for confidentiality, you are allowed to release the items defined as directory information. All other information requires written consent of the student. Evaluations, program and course registration, schedules of programs and courses should not be released to anyone other than the student since it is not defined as directory information.
FERPA Do's and Don'ts
DO NOT release directory information on a student without checking Banner or the Office of the Registrar to see whether the information has been flagged for non-release.
Do check with the Office of the Registrar before disclosing any student educational record information to third parties outside the institution.
Do refer all subpoenas or IRS summons or other legal process requests for education records to the Public Records Office.
Do obtain signed, written permission from the student before sharing educational record information with parents or others outside the institution.
DO NOT request information from an education record custodian, or access the student’s records by computer, unless you have a legitimate educational interest to access the information.
DO follow the confidentiality provisions of FERPA by not sharing education records information with your colleagues unless a legitimate educational interest exists.
DO NOT put purely personal notes (for example, from a committee meeting or faculty recommending students for a particular program) in the student’s file, because those notes will become accessible to the student. Such records can be kept confidential only if they are kept in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person. Official committee minutes are likely to be considered accessible.
DO NOT post students’ papers, scores or evaluations in a public place on which names, Social Security numbers, or other personal identifiers are displayed. If posted, use a code known only to you and the student.
DO remember that medical, mental health and law enforcement records should not be in the student’s file with the student’s education records. Medical and mental health records supporting an accommodation for a disability should be forwarded to Access Services for Students With Disabilities in an envelope marked confidential, and law enforcement records should be kept in the Office of Public Safety.
DO NOT release information about a student disciplinary matter without conferring with the Vice President for Student Affairs office.
Legal, safety, disciplinary and research.
Although not required, institutions may release information from student records without prior consent:
- As directory information.
- To school officials with legitimate educational interest (as defined by institution within FERPA guidelines).
- To schools in which the student seeks or intends to enroll.
- To federal, state and local authorities involving an audit or evaluation of compliance with education programs.
- In connection with financial aid.
- To organizations conducting studies of or on behalf of educational institutions (provided the institutions research board has cleared the research).
- To accrediting agencies.
- To comply with a judicial order or subpoena.
- In health or safety emergencies.
- Results of disciplinary hearings.
- Results of disciplinary hearing to an alleged victim of a crime of violence.
- Final results of a disciplinary hearing concerning a student who is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence and who is found to have committed a violation of the institution’s rules or policies.
- To parents of students under 21 if the institution determines that the student has committed a violation of its drug or alcohol rules or policies (regardless of the student’s dependent status).
Legitimate educational interest
The College discloses education records without a student's prior written consent to school officials with legitimate educational interests.
A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using University employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.
A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities for the College.