What: FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

When: Originally passed in 1974, updated most recently in 2011. Here is the legislative history of FERPA.

Key Privacy Rights under FERPA:

  • FERPA requires that federally funded institutions, under programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education, comply with certain procedures with regard to disclosing and maintaining educational records. FERPA was not enacted to preclude the disclosure of educational records simply because the records identify a student by name; rather, it was designed to protect the student’s educational information and status as a student 
  • FERPA prohibits the disclosure of a student’s “protected information” to a third party. This disclosure is prohibited whether it is made by hand delivery, verbally, fax, mail, or electronic transmission. 

For the Full FERPA Rule: Federal Register printing of FERPA Regulation, Final Rule 2011 (34 CFR Part 99) with narrative response to comments, including privacy-focused comments.