Privacy of Student Information (FERPA)
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) 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 gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."
- Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student's education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies.
- Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
- Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
- School officials with legitimate educational interest;
- Other schools to which a student is transferring;
- Officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
- Accrediting organizations;
- To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
- State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
Release of Academic Information for Deceased Students
The following requirements protect the confidentiality of academic information upon the death of a former student or alumnus of the university.
The Office of the University Registrar will evaluate each request for the release of a transcript or other academic records of a deceased student on the individual merits of that request and reserves the right to deny the request in whole or to release only part of the academic records that are requested. The Office of the University Registrar does not release academic records of deceased students to the news media or for research purposes.
The closest living next-of-kin may submit a written request along with the following notarized documents: 1) Birth certificate of requestor and 2) Death certificate of former student or alumnus.
If there is no living next-of-kin, academic records may be requested by the executor of the estate or holder of power of attorney for the deceased. A written request along with a notarized copy of the executor statement or power of attorney is required. Documents must be mailed to the Office of the Registrar.
Cleon F. Thompson Jr. Student Service Center
601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
202 Thompson Center
Winston-Salem, NC 27110
Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
To have information released in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Buckley Amendment), a FERPA Release Form must be properly completed.
For more information about FERPA, you may contact them at the following address:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5920