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 affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Specifically, it affords students the right to:
The University of Georgia strives to fully comply with this law by protecting the privacy of student records and judiciously evaluating requests for release of information from these records. FERPA authorizes the release of Directory, or Public, Information without the student’s prior written consent under certain conditions set forth in the act.
Who must comply with FERPA?
Any educational institution or educational agency that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education.
Who is covered?
How does this affect parents?
University employees may not discuss a student's education record with a parent or guardian over the phone or in person without signed consent from the student. Further, if the student has placed a restriction on the disclosure of Directory Information, University employees will not even be able to identify the student to a parent or guardian in order to comply with the law. Please also see 'What are the exceptions to Prior Consent?'
Can students control disclosure of Directory Information?
Yes, students are notified of their right to control the disclosure of Directory, or Public, Information in the UGA Bulletin, on the Office of the Registrar’s web site, and through means of an annual email. Students who wish to have access to their Directory Information restricted must notify the Office of the Registrar in writing. Upon receipt of this notification, a restriction will be placed on the student’s record. A restriction means that a student’s name will not appear in the online campus directory and will not be included in any news releases (such as those on Dean's list, graduation, etc). Information will not be released to prospective employers, insurance companies, credit agencies, etc. If anyone requests information for a student or former student who has a restriction, UGA will respond to the requestor with the following statement: “We do not have any information available on this individual.”
The restriction remains in place until the student submits a written and signed statement to the Office of the Registrar requesting to have the restriction removed. Restrictions will thus remain on a student's record after he or she has graduated from UGA until such a request is received by the Office of the Registrar.
What is an Education Record?
What is not an Education Record?
What is "Prior Consent for Release" ?
Students must provide a signed and dated written consent before a school official may disclose education records, or Non-Directory Information. The consent must:
Examples of items needing prior consent include:
What are the exceptions to Prior Consent?
Health or Safety Emergencies
FERPA allows institutions to release, without consent, information in connection with an articulable and significiant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals. Please review information provided by the UGA Behavioral Assessment and Response Council (BARC) for guidance on how to address concerns related to student behavior that presents a threat to oneself or others.
If a student needs to be located for emergency reasons, please contact the office of Student Care and Outreach.
For other health and safety emergencies, please review information provided by UGA police.
How does FERPA apply to faculty and staff?
The law requires faculty and staff to treat students’ education records in a legally specified manner.
Please do not assume that it is OK with the student to include his or her grade or GPA even if you have received a verbal request from the student. It is vital that you have this permission in writing with the signature of the student.
If someone indicates it is necessary to contact a student due to a family emergency, refer them to the office of Student Care and Outreach for assistance.The number is 706-542-7774.
More about FERPA.