The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) governs access and release of student records. FERPA applies to elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions. Institutions that receive federal funding are required to comply with FERPA or risk losing their funding.

FERPA defines three types of information: educational information, PII, and ‘non-directory’. Non-directory information and PII cannot be released to anyone without a student’s written consent. Faculty and staff can only access non-directory information when there is a legitimate academic reason. Non-directory information includes records relating to a student’s Social Security number, school identification number, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, and transcripts. Directory information does not require signed, written consent prior to its release.

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