The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also commonly know as the Buckley Amendment, become law in November 1974 to protect the privacy of personally identifiable information in a student’s education record. However, the courts have been clear that not every document that names or refers to a student is a FERPA record and have typically limited the reach of the statute in a common-sense way to records that have something to do with educational activity
FERPA serves a two-fold purpose: (1) to grant parents (and students 18 or older) access to information in the student’s education record, and (2) to protect that information from disclosure to third parties without parental consent.
Access your own records:
If you’re 18 or older, or in college or grad school, and want to get a copy of the records the school has on you, our FERPA Request Letter Generator will help you generate a request for those documents. (If you’re under 18 and in high school or earlier, your parent or guardian needs to make the request; they can use this page to generate the legal parts and then change the wording to fit their situation.)
More about FERPA:
- Countering COVID-related FERPA objections - Many times administrators cite FERPA as a reason to restrict access to information which the public is entitled to receive. During the pandemic, we see FERPA being used inappropriately to deny important information to student media. SPLC has developed the letter below for you to download and send (or give) to administrators when they misapply FERPA… Continue reading Countering COVID-related FERPA objections
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (1974) -
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), commonly known as the Buckley Amendment, was enacted in 1974 in part to curb the indiscriminate release of student records by school officials.
- FERPA Abuses - In the absence of clear guidance from Congress or the Department of Education, abuses of FERPA have exploded, and the Department of Education has been largely dismissive of concerns regarding the broad interpretation. The Department has dismissively noted that “FERPA is not an open records statute or part of an open records system . .… Continue reading FERPA Abuses
- FERPA and Public Records - Every state has a public-records law requiring state and local government agencies – including public schools and colleges (though not private ones) – to disclose upon request the documents they maintain. These laws go by different names – “sunshine laws,” freedom-of-information acts, or open-records acts – but all of them work in basically the same… Continue reading FERPA and Public Records
- Commonly requested FERPA records - Employment records If a student has a job with the school, then routine employment records kept in the institution’s normal course of business are excluded by statute from FERPA. If state open-records law allows access to employment records (salary information, personnel evaluations, and so on), FERPA cannot be used to deny access to the records… Continue reading Commonly requested FERPA records
- FERPA: What it means and how it works - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also commonly know as the Buckley Amendment, become law in November 1974 to protect the privacy of personally identifiable information in a student’s education record. However, the courts have been clear that not every document that names or refers to a student is a FERPA record and… Continue reading FERPA: What it means and how it works
- FERPA Case Studies - Student Press Law Center attorneys answer the question "was this denial of records a valid use of FERPA?"
- A Student Press Law Center White Paper: FERPA and access to public records - The clash between student privacy interests and the public’s right tonewsworthy information about the workings of schools and colleges can bea frustrating one for journalists at all levels. Many of the arguments raisedagainst disclosure of government records turn out to be based on mythsand misunderstandings about what are – and are not – confidential studentrecords.…… Continue reading A Student Press Law Center White Paper: FERPA and access to public records