Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

What is FERPA?

The United States Congress passed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in 1974 to afford certain rights to students concerning their education records. The primary rights afforded to students who attend a postsecondary school such as Brigham Young University-Idaho are the right to inspect and review their education records, the right to seek to have their records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from the records.

Brigham Young University-Idaho may not disclose information contained in education records without the student's written consent except under certain limited conditions.

Notification of Rights under FERPA

FERPA law requires that BYU-Idaho annually notify students and employees of the education record rights afforded to students. The following information serves as that annual notification. These rights include:

1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.

2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. (Does not apply to grade changes.) They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.

3. The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by State University to comply with the requirements of FERPA.

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

600 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20202-4605

5.  The following information is considered to be public or directory information and, at the University's discretion, may be released without prior student consent. It should be noted that although this information is considered to be accessible to third parties, the University has established procedures for always scrutinizing requests from and releasing information to any third party. Please contact the Student Records and Registration Office to determine if it is appropriate to release this or any other student information:

  • Student name
  • Home and local address
  • Telephone numbers
  • E-mail addresses
  • Date and place of birth
  • Dates of attendance (current and past)
  • Major field of study
  • Degrees and awards received
  • Previous educational institutions attended
  • Religious affiliation
  • Current class schedule
  • Photographs
  • Number of months/ semesters enrolled
  • Class standing (full-time, part-time, less than half-time)
  • Anticipated future enrollments
  • Course registration prior to the beginning of a semester/term
  • Expected date of graduation
  • Deferred registration eligibility

6. Students have the right to block the release of their public directory information by completing a “Request to Withhold Directory Information” at the Student Records and Registration Office. For complete confidentiality, this form must be completed within the first few days of each semester or term.

7. Parents or guardians of students that are claimed as dependents on the most recently submitted Federal Income Tax form may have grade reports forwarded to them pursuant to the Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Parents of dependent children under the above-described definition must submit a Certificate of Dependency Form in order to receive grade reports. No grade report will be sent to a parent or guardian without proper submission of this form. The Student Records and Registration Office will be responsible for informing all parents (of dependent children) of the option to have grade reports sent to them. The Student Records and Registration Office will record received Certificate of Dependency Forms, and send grade reports as requested.

Married students, or those 21 years of age or older, are considered independent by the Student Records and Registration Office. Unmarried students or those under the age of 21 who are not claimed as dependents by their parents or guardians on the most recent Federal Income Tax form, must submit an Affidavit of Independent Status to be considered independent.

Students also may submit a Waiver of Independent Status which authorizes parental access to student grades regardless of the dependency status of a student.

Practical Application of FERPA Policy for Employees

Employees should avoid releasing "personal identifyable information" or confidential information without the expressed written consent of the student. Personal identifyable information includes but is not limited to:

  • Student I-Number
  • Student Social Security Number
  • Student Grades
  • Student GPA

Professors wishing to write a letter of recommendation that may include specific academic information for a particular student should request that the student complete the Letter of Recommendation Release Form

Questions?

Email specific FERPA questions to ferpa@byui.edu