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Statute:  20 U.S.C. § 1232g. Regulations:  34 C.F.R. Part 99.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides that a local educational agency (LEA) that receives U.S. Department of Education funds may not have a policy or practice of denying parents the right to—

  • Inspect and review education records (34 C.F.R. § 99.10).
  • Seek to amend education records (34 C.F.R. §§ 99.20 through 99.22).
  • Consent to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records except as specified by law (34 C.F.R. §§ 99.30 and 99.31).

These rights transfer to the student when he or she turns 18 years of age or enters a post-secondary educational institution at any age (“eligible student”).

Local education agencies (LEAs) must annually notify parents and eligible students of their rights under FERPA. 34 C.F.R. § 99.7. The annual notification must also include—

  • The procedure to inspect and review education records;
  • The procedure to request amendment of education records;
  • A specification of criteria for determining who constitutes a school official and what constitutes a legitimate educational interest if the agency or institution discloses or intends to disclose personally identifiable information to school officials without consent; and
  • The right of parents to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) in the Department. See Model Notification of Rights under FERPA for Elementary and Secondary Schools.

If the LEA or educational institution under the LEA discloses directory information from education records without consent, it is required by 34 C.F.R. § 99.37 to notify parents and eligible students of—

LEAs must also comply with FERPA’s redisclosure and recordation provisions, set forth in 34 C.F.R. §§ 99.32 and 99.33, except for disclosures that are specifically exempted.

Outlined below are changes in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that do not amend FERPA, but relate to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from students’ education records.

Suspension and expulsion disciplinary records:

  • Section 4155 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), 20 U.S.C. § 7165, as amended by the NCLB, requires that each state have “a procedure in place to facilitate the transfer of disciplinary records, with respect to a suspension or expulsion, by local educational agencies to any private or public elementary school or secondary school for any student who is enrolled or seeks, intends, or is instructed to enroll, on a full- or part-time basis, in the school” no later than January 8, 2004. LEAs should include a notice in their annual notification of rights under FERPA that they forward education records to other schools that have requested the records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll (34 C.F.R. §§ 99.7 and 99.34(a)(ii)). See Model Notification of Rights under FERPA for Elementary and Secondary Schools.
  • Section 9528 of the ESEA, 20 U.S.C. § 7908, as amended by the NCLB, and 10 U.S.C. 503, as amended by § 544 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (Pub.L. No. 107-107), require LEAs to—
    • give military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as provided to postsecondary institutions or to prospective employers; and
    • provide students’ names, addresses, and telephone listings to military recruiters, when requested, unless a parent has opted out of providing such information. (Military Recruiter Guidance is on FPCO Web site.)